To Roosh, Or Not To Roosh

by Frost on June 29, 2011

Sometimes, I write to share what I know. Today, I just need to rant.

I fucking hate my job. It’s boring, pointless, soul-sucking garbage. I’ve written before that it’s awesome, and on paper that’s true – I get paid a lot to do interesting work, and I get to feel like I’m important because I kick ass at it. My job rocks, and I realize how much of a dick I must sound like when ~20% of men my age are unemployed, and 60-70% get paid less to do shittier work than I do.  But in a way that’s the sad part – if you have a crappy job, at least you can dream of a better one.

More accurately, I hate the idea of a job. I hate spending eight hours of a beautiful sunny day in gray, fluorescent-lit cubicles and boardrooms. I hate wearing a shirt and tie. I hate that the baristas at my coffee shop know my order, so I get to start every day with a reminder that I’m a man of predictable routine. I hate pretending to be respectful of people who don’t deserve it. I want to spend my short time alive improving myself, learning about the world, and creating things that actually make a difference in the world, and I hate that in my eight-hour work days, I do none of that.

What’s a guy to do? Well, fucking quit, obviously. In two years of making good coin and living like a (promiscuous, alcoholic, wanderlustful) Spartan, I’ve saved up more than enough for a backpack and a plane ticket. I could take a leap of faith. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve already got. If, after 1-10 years of trying new things, my heart truly yearns for a return to my Aeron throne, it’ll still be there. Waiting.

Is it obvious to you yet that I should quit my job, excuses be damned? It was obvious to me too. Which is why I made the decision, and pulled the ripcord.

But when is life ever that simple?

Rather than let my career self-destruct in peace, my manager threw a shit-covered wrench into my plans. He offered me a three-month leave of absence. No? How about a year? Why would I quit, he asked, when I can have all of the upsides and none of the risks, by taking a leave?

And he’s right. There’s no logical reason why I shouldn’t take one of those options. Neither includes any commitment to come back. But how else can I force myself to actually go out and put 100% of my energy into my goals (the first of which is to figure out exactly what they are). If you put your cat next to a lake, and it doesn’t go in, does that mean your cat can’t swim? Maybe. But you’ll never know for sure unless you pick the cat up and throw it into the middle of the lake, and force it to choose between swimming and drowning. Better yet, if you tie the cat to a cinder block first… but I digress, because I fucking hate cats.

*

So that’s why there’s a large part of me that just wants to say fuck off, take my red stapler, and set the building on fire. I want to cut myself off from the temptation of mediocrity.

But, contrary to my fuck-the-world blog persona, I’m not completely immune to the siren songs of stability, safety, and conventional success. There’s opportunity out there, true, but there’s also a cottage industry of Tim Ferriss acolytes who will tell you that everyone can earn infinite cash with zero time investment, if they just take the leap of faith and try. Somewhere between them and the debbie downers, lies reality.

Regardless of which choice I make – a three month, one year, or permanent vacation from my job – Semester #2 of the Freedom Twenty-Five PhD will begin in September, and it will not be spent behind a desk. Will I sack up and quit my job, like a retard? Or will I take the smart, logical path of taking my manager up on his one-year leave offer… like a coward? Tune in next week to find out, because I sure as fuck don’t know.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

superenigma July 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Be realistic, almost nobody who isn’t leeching off society gets to live without working! If anything the 1 year time limit will make you do your projects with more focus. Ever heard that “heat and pressure make diamonds”?

clue: it’s a metaphor.

Frost June 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. Funny that I can get at least as good advice here as I can from my closest (real-life) friends.

From a purely rational perspective, there’s no reason not to take a one-year leave. The difference is all in my mind. My fear is that having the option to go back will prevent from putting 100% into my other projects. As a friend put it last night though, maybe the fear of having to return to a typical life will be more of an incentive than fear of unemployment.

There’s a lot of wisdom in these comments that I think would be valuable to others making the same decision, so I’m going to collate some of them into a post.

Cheers,

Frost

Magdalene June 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I agree with the sentiment here as well. From the sounds of it you’ve got it pretty good if you can elect to leave your job for a year at 25, and come back to it if you choose.

It’s a no fail option to walk away for a year. If you find that there’s nothing out there that inspires you more or is as lucrative, you can always go back to the job that you claim to be dominating with more varied experience under your belt. Any employer worth working for will value that.

Iain D June 30, 2011 at 10:35 am

I agree with the general sentiment here.

The 1 year time limit might even be a blessing in disguise since it will set a time limit on your wandering. If you don’t have an end in sight it will be easy to fall back into familiar patterns. If you know you’re on a time limit you’ll be more motivated to push yourself.

You may well find after a year you have something better than what they offered. That’s ok; it’s not like your boss can send Bubba and Knuckles to drag you back to the office.

Peter M June 30, 2011 at 6:22 am

You’re only a coward if you take the smart, logical path of taking your manager up on his one-year leave offer and when the one-year is up you go back because you’re afraid. Taking him up on his leave offer is a given because it has absolutely no downside.

Nick June 30, 2011 at 5:55 am

Take the year. Nothing to lose. Cowardly doesn’t come into it. Take the year, buy a pack and a ticket, and start travelling – then re-evaluate where you’re at when you’ve decompressed from that environment, seen some of the world and had some new experiences, read some more books, and had a chance to think about your directions and priorities. Then in three months time you can still delay the decision, return to work, travel more, fuck the job off, whatever. If you fuck the job off and want to return to the same industry in a year or two then it’s still not going to fuck up your career. It’ll just flatten out the upward trajectory for a bit. Stop your catastrophic / all or nothing thinking. And the Tim Ferriss lifestyle is great – but you’ll probably need to be working for a year or two in some form of job, whilst building a business on the side, before you can quit and really live a ‘four hour work week’. Probably longer than that.

Trust me – it doesn’t take long for being unemployed (i.e. not travelling or choosing not having a ‘job’, but being broke and needing a job) to become really shit.

Six months of non-stop travel and no regular address will give you a better feel for whether you want to Roosh it forever or not.

And yeah I fucking resent being born post-industrial revolution and having to work for a living; sucks being in 2011 sometimes doesn’t it? But we are and that’s that.

Keep writing your novel and thanks for your blog, you’re articulating what I’m sure a lot of your readers are going through / have been through.

dave June 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Important questions:

1) What exactly do you do for a living? BTW, if it isn’t actually interesting, don’t call it interesting. That’s a cop out word.

2) Do you have anything that could hold you back on your own (example: I need expensive medicine covered by insurance, and I’m uninsurable on the individual market)? P.S. Make sure you COBRA for the year.

3) Do you have any particular idea what you want to do? This sort of ties into #1, what skills do you have?

4) How much start up capital do you really have? This effects what kind of business you could start. Could you borrow any if you needed to?

5) Do you have any potential business partners to co-found with?

If you are young, healthy, debt free, and don’t have people relying on you then go for it, but try to have some kind of plan.

Mike June 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm

You’re going to get far different advice from guys who are 25 years old and making no money and guys who are older and actually making cash while living a playboy lifestyle. Just going back to a cubicle at 30 is much harder than guys realize. Plus, by 30 you should be making a grip of cash, you’ll still be good looking, and if you have 100=200K, you can take a sabbatical.

Do a year of travel, then turn out some hot understands as a graduate student. Then go back into work with newfound credentials and life experience.

Based on my reading of your blog, you’re aimless and want to quit just to quit. You’re like the guy who leaves his wife and family during his mid-life crisis. Usually they regret it.

Until you have a business or general idea that’s so consuming that all else falls aside, stay at your job. If/when that happens, quitting won’t even be an option.

Right now, you want to run away from your job. Don’t. Wait until you have something concrete to run towards. Once that happens, sprint!

raliv June 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm

wow. A year sabbatical? incredible offer.

take the year and go have some fun in Brazil or Colombia. You can make a decision in a year.

Good luck either way. Keep us posted!

NomadicNeill June 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm

The only difference between the 1 year sabbatical and quitting is in your mind. The logical thing to do is take the sabbatical and be disciplined enough to work as if it isn’t an option.

Remember, most of the people telling you to take the plunge and live the dream are either not living it, or making a living telling other people how to live the dream. Do you want to be like that?

Rowan June 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Hello Frost, I was in the same position as you not long ago. I lasted 14 months in my cube. I only lasted that long since I was in a new country (Germany) and even going to the post office was new and exciting. Now I’ve spent a year in Australia and had a lot of fun. I’ve avoided getting another cube job even though some have been offered to me, I just can’t take the cube. Going to the sunny beach after work does not make it any better, never fool yourself into thinking it will.

Like Jeff, I’m starting my own business, got a lot of business owners interested, could start generating some decent passive income. I’m also saving like mad.

I don’t quite know what I’m doing, but I want adventure and a challenge more so than money. I’m considering going to China in another year and studying Mandarin while doing some English teaching to preserve my capital. They are crying out for English teachers and a friend of mine is saving $1k a month by living modestly. Despite what you might hear from the naysayers, lots of Western companies are looking for Western men who speak Mandarin and have some decent skills. You can rise up through the ranks very quickly. Sounds a lot more fun than waiting 20 years until I’m made lead developer like my former team leader advised me. Putting on 20KG seemed to be part of the deal too.

Worst comes to worst, you come back home in several years with a nice wallet full of cash, real life experience, language skills, etc, and move back into a cube.

Seems like a decent bet to me.

P.S. If you ever figure out what we’re suppose to be doing, drop me a line.

Jeff June 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Taking the 1-year leave of absence wouldn’t be cowardly, it would be smart.

Leaps of faith are overrated. We always hear stories about the guy who went all-or-nothing and came out on top, because those stories are the most heroic and memorable. In reality, most people who do that fail hard and disappear.

The vast majority of people are too risk averse to even consider that option anyways, and that’s where transitions and safety nets come into play. For example, I started my business while I was at my old desk job, and only quit it started to pick up steam. I’m just not the type of guy who would do anything riskier than that.

Of course, the possibility of self sabotage is a factor, but probably a small one. You already said you could go back to corporate life any time you wanted, year of absence or not, right?

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