The Day I Escaped from the Rat Race

The beach is an Escape from the Rat Race

I’ve been needing a change in my world for a while now. I think about, write about and try to live very true to the ideas I speak about here in this blog.

Consciously choosing my path is something I take very seriously. Yet, day after day, I’ve only gotten as far as daydreaming about my escape from the rat race. Plans and ideas have been mulled over, debated and dissected while I rot away in my cubicle.

But today is the day, I turn a rat race escape plan into action.

The stress caused by my 9-5 just isn’t worth it anymore. My dissatisfaction with work is in large part about the amount of time per day I give to a cause/company/context I don’t believe in. This makes me miserable for two reasons:

  1. I’m doing something that doesn’t feel valuable.
  2. It steals away all my time.

Let me tell you a bit more about these struggles.


Finding value in my 9-5

I am not willing to spend my entire working life slaving away 8 hours per day for goals that I don’t believe in. There is an urge inside me to be fulfilled by how I spend my day.

I need to feel as though the cause I dedicate all those hours to is beneficial: beneficial for me and beneficial for the world.

The tasks I do each day must somehow bring value. And I don’t mean monetary value, I mean wellbeing or improvements to the state of our dear planet.

This type of value is quite unspecific, it can be a bunch of different things. But when it’s there, it’s something you feel.

Years ago, my 9-5 involved me driving around rural Canada assessing mailboxes. I spent my workday making sure mailboxes weren’t located in places that made it a hazard for the mail delivery drivers to stop. I know, it’s random as hell. But even in this job, I could find some type of value. I felt as though I spent my days helping to reduce accidents on the roads.

Escape from the Rat Race Now

Photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina

Sometimes, finding value isn’t just about the job though. Finding or not finding value in your work can also be impacted by office politics, bureaucracy, company hierarchy, company values or goals, working conditions, or tones of other things.

Basically, my incapability of finding the value in my current situation has left me feeling unfulfilled. Going to work each morning feels like I’m giving spoons full of my soul away in 9 hours chunks.


My eternal battle with time

I’ve always battled against time. Bad job or not, I struggle to make all my hobbies, projects, people and plans fit into 24 hours. So, I guess it’s easy that I end up feeling unsatisfied when my unpleasant work life takes up such a large portion of my day.

Between the 9 hours I spend at the office each day, the 1 hour commute each way, getting home, preparing my lunch and breakfast for the next day, maybe going to a yoga class, making a quick dinner, I barely have time to breath.

In the end, almost 40% of all my weekdays are spent in the office, on the metro/bus to get there and back or preparing my food to bring to work.

Escape from the Rat Race and Stop Battling Time
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” ― Charles Darwin, The Life & Letters of Charles Darwin

This no longer feels like a deal I’m willing to make.

Don’t get me wrong, if I felt valued, fulfilled and valuable in my professional context, I would have no trouble dedicating all the time needed to make it succeed. But this clearly is no longer the case.


Today, I say NO MORE

Before leaving work today, I went in to speak to my boss. My hands were shaking and my heart was pounding. I doubted my next move and debated what I’d say and how I’d say it. I over thought how she’d respond and what I’d say if I had to negotiate.

Where would I go next? What would I do? What if I don’t find anything else? The thoughts obsessively kept going round.

But in the end, I just went in and did it.

I quit my job!


It didn’t go quite as planned. There were some tears, a bit of rambling and some off-course improvised rant, but in the end, I did it!

Luckily for me, I have an amazing boss who knows me well enough to have seen this coming from miles away. She had seen my dissatisfaction and lack of motivation but simply couldn’t provide me with the environment I am seeking.

So, off to other things…


So what now?

Honestly, I don’t know…

The plan is to not have a plan and see what happens. I trust my intuition enough to know that this is the right path for me right now. Sometimes the beauty of things having got so bad in certain contexts, is that it makes it easier to walk away from.

I’ve saved up to be ready for this exact move and now I’m ready to freefall and see where I land.

My escape from the rat race starts now.

Escaping from the Rat Race



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The day I escaped the rat race










This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. sarah w

    Exciting and scary times for you. Well done for taking that step and good luck for whatever lays ahead

    1. Jo

      Thanks 🙂

  2. Joleisa

    Lovely read. And welcome to the world of those who follow their own calling instead of slaving away at other’s. Good on us all.

    1. Jo

      Hell ya! And good one you for doing it too

  3. Daniele

    You’re inspiring me to jump ship!

    1. Jo

      Listen to your insides. They always know what’s right

  4. Denis

    I approve! I have the same conviction! The difference is that I plan on leaving my full time job when my online business will provide. I am closer to my goal every day! Kudos to you for jumping in full throttle. You just keep pushing and you will make it too!

    1. Jo

      Only time will tell what happens with all this. But I’m optimistic

  5. ratnamurti

    best wishes. Following one’s heart always leads us to Our Own Way, I find.

    1. Jo

      I totally agree!

  6. Bekah

    Great job doing what so many people cannot! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Allayna Marie

    I am excited to read about what you end up doing with all of your new free time! I love reading about people who do not follow the regular 9-5 and are able to do what they love without being at the mercy of others!

    1. Jo

      Well, if you like reading about this kind of stuff, please like my Facebook page or join my newsletter to stay tuned. Because I promise, it won’t be regular 9-5. Been doing that on and off for the last 10 years, and it’s officially confirmed that I’d prefer to be doing something less traditional.

  8. Erin

    So inspiring! Wishing you the best of luck– can’t wait to hear more about your journey!

    1. Jo

      Ya, i can’t wait to see what happens either. Stay tuned to find otu

  9. Cindy

    That’s really thkniing out of the box. Thanks!

  10. zvodretiluret

    I am glad that I observed this website, exactly the right info that I was searching for! .

  11. Hi Jo,

    I love this, I just stumbled across your story on Pinterest and I’m going to have to read more to find out how you’ve got on, but it has really resonated with me.

    I also walked into my boss’s office and quit (well I tried, his children were ill so I ended up having to do it on the phone, talk about awkward – he hadn’t seen it coming and I hate phone calls). I’m still working through my notice period which we’ve mutually agreed to extend, but the whole thing does seem a bit surreal. Like you were, I’m really not sure where I’m headed – and Covid-19 has put a bit of a scupper on my original intention to travel for a bit while I figure it out but I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end!

    Best wishes on what I’m sure is your ongoing journey.

    1. Jo

      Hi Lisa, Oh, that’s amazing. Well, as a warning of what’s ahead (in life post 9-5), it’s a beautiful amazing rollercoaster. There’s been highs and lows, tons of learnings and I haven’t looked back once. For now, I’m happy to not have my work life dictated by “the man”. Good luck in your upcoming ventures. Travel can still be part of your journey, it might just take a bit longer to get out there than expected. All the best

  12. Christian Templeton

    I relate to this so much, but I haven’t saved quite enough money to free fall. How has it gone for you so far? If its gone good, do you have any tips on me starting a blog or quitting my job.

    1. Jo

      Hey Christian, I left my 9-5 about 2 years ago now and haven’t look back once. That’s not to say it hasn’t been hard, and the challenges keep on coming every day, but it feels worth it for me. Tips are hard to give because we all have such different paths. But know that this path isn’t easier, it’s just different. Figure out what’s truly right for you, if this path is it, then jump in. Be as prepared as possible for the slow and steady process of building an online business.

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