Why I Quit My Job

Most people think I became self-employed to make more money. But trust me, if money was my only motivation, it would have been easier to just keep working. So why did I quit? Truth be told, I had absolutely no idea, until recently.

Okay, honestly I did have a general idea. Basically it was to have more time for myself, do things on my terms and do it well, and look forward to better things than weekends and paydays. I would be happy even if I made some money; more is of course a bonus.

Manual Labour
It often felt like I was doing hard labour, even when I wasn't

But I that was before I watched a TED video by Dan Pink, which offered a fascinating insight into the science of motivation. In the video, Dan talks about an important factual discovery:

That those working in jobs that require
cognitive skills (i.e. creativity), a larger reward (i.e. more money)
leads to poorer performance

No wonder I was so miserable even when I was earning a decent buck as a senior copywriter. And that “I deserve better” feeling at the end of the month wasn’t because I wanted more money; but because I wanted to satisfy the purpose of my existence.

I know, sounds philosophical, but Dan put down 3 desires us ‘creative’ folks yearn for:

Autonomy: The urge to direct our own lives

Mastery: The desire to get better and better at something that matters

Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves

So if you’re stuck in a well-paying job; but still can’t seem to figure out why you find it absolutely painful to wake up in the mornings, I suggest you watch Dan’s video on TED.

Just don’t quit your job too soon. I might call you for a loan in case my self-employment thing doesn’t work out… haha!