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After 12 years working on safe 9-5 jobs, I quit to become Me Inc.

I learned how to code in 2005. I wanted to create projects. I never thought I'd get a job as a programmer, but after three years of struggling how to make money, I found my first job as a full-time engineer in 2008.

In the beginning, it felt great. For the first time in my life, I had money. But money alone can't make a person happy. Years went by and It was nothing like I expected.

I don't even remember how many times I quit different software engineering jobs over the course of a decade. But I'd guess it was a dozen, searching for a better life.

I went from job to job, from one city to another, and even from one country to another.

And while I was skilled, I never stuck around.

For a long time, I thought I hated coding because I associated it with having a job. I tried to change and work in other departments - marketing and customer support - but the feeling persisted.

I got into coding in 2005 because I wanted to build projects that I believed in —not the ones other people wanted me to create. After doing it for 12 years, I got fed up. It was time to put my ideas first.

Don't Ask People If You Should Quit Your Job

When I first told my colleagues, friends, and family that I didn't want to have a job, they assumed I was lazy. They thought I didn't want to do anything.

I kept hearing this common idea: You don't want a job because you don't want to work hard.

Really, the opposite was true. I wanted to work hard, but for myself.

Most people don't understand it. They believe that the only way to work is to have a job. Therefore, if you don't have a job, you are lazy.

Most of them never felt the thrill of creation. But I was ready to prove everyone wrong, to show that you can create your own job. I am still finding my way, but nothing worth doing ever came instantly.

It's silly, but most people never achieve their dreams simply because they never even try —and not because of their not capable.

Why Having a 9-5 Job is Not For Me

Not Having Freedom to Travel the World

If you ask any Indie Hacker why they want to work on their side projects, freedom always comes first.

To me, freedom means to travel.

Yet even with a remote job, I found it very hard to travel while having a boss. I couldn't even enjoy myself at lunch as my boss could call me out of the blue — forget about traveling.

Now, as an indie hacker, I don't have any difficulty with working while traveling. I can balance both. Work early in the morning or during the night, between train rides, or while flying.

It's the perfect blend for a fulfilling life with varied experiences. But it can be tough to live this lifestyle if you have a remote job.

Traveling is the biggest reason why I quit my job to create Me Inc. I don't know if I would be so determined if I didn't like traveling.

Constant Checking and Making Noise

When you have a job, you need to prove yourself by making noise, or your boss will think you don't care.

It should be about your work, what you do and what you deliver. But in my experience, having a job requires politics.

It's not enough to work.

You need to fake your emotions in front of others to look like you care more than anyone.

And for that, you need to make constant noise. In-person, in a meeting, in the Slack group, or on the Trello board. Everywhere where your boss is looking.

This is definitely a big reason why companies are so ridiculous sometimes. Instead of working, people make noise by faking interest because they feel they have to.

Your boss is faking it for her boss, the boss of your boss is faking it, so, you? You have to fake it.

You may decide not to, and that's fine. I never faked it. But know for sure that they will get rid of you eventually.

It doesn't matter that your work is impressive. If you don't fake it and continuously check where to add some noise, you won't get very far.

You have to ask for permission

It hurts. It's your life, the only one you have, but you need almost to beg for your time.

If you want to go to the doctor, have a walk because you have a terrible week, leave early or go to the office later, you need to explain yourself.

Try this: get to the office at noon as if nothing happened for a whole week.

People will start looking at you with weird faces.

It doesn't matter if you do everything you have to do, even more, even if that week you double the work.

They are going to tell you something.

The most strange part of this is that your boss can do those things without saying anything —except maybe walking fast and looking busier—, but if you do it, be ready. Problems are coming your way.

It's not 9-5. It's more like 8-7

I wish that a 9-5 job was 9-5. It's not.

First, getting ready to work, lunch, and coming back home takes 10 hours a week minimum. You wouldn't do that if you didn't have a job. And it's all time you are giving it for free.

Second, forget about leaving at 5 o'clock. Some people do. I did. You won't get far. Your coworkers, your boss, and everyone will look at you as you were committing a crime.

Everyone wants to go home, but doing so may look like you don't care about your job, so you stay longer.

You Have To Work With People You Don't Like

You can ban people from your life. If it's your own side project or business, you can fire the people who give you headaches. You can even fire a client.

If you have a job, forget about it. You need to not only spend time with people you don't like. You even have to pretend that you like them.

Your work is measured for what you say or how busy you look

The harder you run around, the more stressed you look, the faster you type, the better. You need to look like you are in war mode against everything that goes against the company. If you do it well, you may get a raise.

How many people do you know that eat in front of the computer, saying they have many things to do? They are really reading online magazines. Still, it doesn't matter as long as the boss thinks they are 100% with the cause.

Here is something everybody should know about: the faster you run in the office, the fewer things you have to do.

I can't understand this mentality, and we all silently agree to avoid saying anything.

Meetings, standups, weekly updates

I have nothing against talking with people, collaborating, getting updates, or giving updates. That's OK.

Most of these meetings are planned by a manager whose only job is to control you and have something to tell his boss. Plus, discussions like this help them escape being bored because they are bored.

Meetings like standup are, to my humble opinion, pure non-sense. I used to get nervous every day thinking about what I should say in front of others to make them notice that I'm doing a great job and not procrastinating.

It's just about controlling you and justifying your managers' tasks in the company.

Coffee is Terrible

"We have a Nespresso" used to be a top highlight to me because not having one meant I had to drink instant coffee.

I worked in the most beautiful office buildings in Barcelona and London. The best coffee available? Nestlé Instant Coffee. I remember drinking that while seeing the Sagrada Familia or the Tate Modern. That should be against the law.

Now, I don't mind going all in, with all my gadgets, but people think that I don't want to work and spend my time making coffee. So, you need to decide between instant coffee or getting fired. Hard to choose.

You get comfortable

This never happened to me. I never felt comfortable in a job. But many people do get comfortable in their position and find it hard to challenge themselves, quit or pursue their passions, create a side project, etc.

So if you get too comfortable, quit.

Alarm Clock

Bi Bip - Beep Beep. Meep meep.

I don't even have to say anything about this.

Every day look the same

Routines are great. Having a schedule is great. But the obligation to do the same every single day doesn't make sense.

Maybe there are jobs where it is incredible, and you have an adventure every day. But for the average person, it is about sitting down and typing.

Did you have a great life? Yeah, 50 years of sitting down and typing, such a good trip I had.

You work when the day is beautiful outside

Think about it. You need to be locked down while there is a beautiful day outside. That's against your nature, life, and everything.

Work early in the morning or late at night and enjoy the sun. Except you can't, because you have a job and have to look at the beautiful day through the window.

Should You Quit Then?

Yes... at least eventually.

Having a job should be temporary. And you should try and use all your resources available to leave it and start something of your own.

You don't even have to be an entrepreneur. You don't need to have a company or to have employees. It's about shifting from having 1 employee to having multiple. It could be clients, 2 "jobs," or people buying things from you, anything.

You should become a service or a product, not a mere employee, and depend just on one person—that's perfect for them. If you are scared, they can control you.

Don't let them do it. Fly. Start something today. Don't wait.

It won't be easy. But, as I said, nothing worth doing ever came quickly. I never felt happier in my entire life, and I'm just starting.

Now, I'm just beginning my second year as an entrepreneur, founder, Indie Hacker. The first year didn't go too well, but I'm trying again. I share all my progress on my Twitter account. You can follow me there.


If you want to learn more about starting a lifestyle business, I send new articles every Sunday.

  1. 6

    "And for that, you need to make constant noise. In-person, in a meeting, in the Slack group, or on the Trello board. Everywhere where your boss is looking."

    Couldn't agree more with you on all of the points you raised but this one is especially exhausting! In my last "performance review" I was even encouraged to be "more visible" in slack channels. 90% of stuff i see in those channels is random nonsense but the loudest people are the ones getting promoted and the best opportunities, madness! Best of luck in your journey, i will be following you on Twitter!

    1. 2

      Honestly, its just that 90% of jobs suck. There are some exceptions and they are very hard to find, but I got very lucky to work in an amazing company where everything was great, well the majority. Its the problem of management encouraging such behaviour and culture that gets the wrong message.

      1. 1

        That's true. I am sure that are amazing companies and amazing people inside many companies to work with.

        I think getting together for a common mission (a company) is a beautiful thing to do (if done right).

    2. 1

      Yes! One of the downsides of this is focusing on working. If you shut everything down and try to do your things, you are worrying because you are not telling everyone how hard you are working, and if you make the noise, you are worry because you are not working.

      So, if you work, you are uncomfortable because you are not making noise.

      If you make noise, you are uncomfortable because you are not working.

      Thanks for reading! Keep making yourself visible in the comments here! Haha :))))

      1. 1

        Honestly as a software engineer myself I don't see this being a problem. My commit history says more than enough about what I am working on or how hard I am working, without the need to broadcast this. And if a company requires you to still broadcast it (outside of daily stand up meetings) then I can just open LinkedIn and check out one of those offers I get every week.

        1. 1

          Sure! That should be enough, but as you probably know, many managers need to tell you: you need to be working on this even if you are already doing it.

  2. 5

    Those posts where you said you found your passion in writing? You were right.

    1. 2

      I am not crying...

      THANKS!

  3. 2

    Personally I never had a 'real job'. I honestly feel like I escaped a death trap. I can relate to your mindset. It is very sad that people like us are being misunderstood often and for the wrong reasons. But well f-em, they can piss their life away to satisfy their owners if that is what they want. It's just not for me.

    1. 1

      Nice! So what do you do instead? Lucky you!!

  4. 2

    Holy shit did I just read my own thoughts?😅

    1. 1

      Thanks! I love when people say things like that!! Nothing better than the feeling of being understood!

  5. 1

    This resonated a lot, José 🙌 It's wonderful that tech makes it possible to work for yourself and travel at the same! But it can be tough to feel (!) alone on a mission for a longer period of time. I found while working on my own that colleagues are more valuable than I thought back than 😊

    Now I am building a community for knowledge entrepreneurs to address that. Who knows, maybe in a few years we will have "organizations" that consists of individual entrepreneurs working around the world while still feeling as a group ✨

  6. 1

    good man, delighted for you

    1. 2

      Thank you, Ronan! That's very kind!

    1. 1

      Glad to know that It helped you!

  7. 1

    It's funny how we can come to pretty much the same conclusions, by following a drastically different path ;-)

    1. 1

      That's great! How was your path, what did you do?

      1. 1

        I stayed for 10+y with the same employer. Mostly loved it.
        I switched seats a few times (dev, tech lead, team manager, infrastructure architect, software architect), then felt the need to be my own boss, and build products ;-)

        1. 1

          Nice! So now you are creating something? Good! I

          1. 1

            Yup!
            It's been a while actually. I wrote about it on Medium recently: https://medium.com/swlh/20-months-in-2k-hours-spent-and-200k-lost-a-story-about-resilience-and-the-sunk-cost-fallacy-69fd4f61ef59

            Now I've changed my approach to try and speed things up ;-)

  8. 1

    This was such a riveting read.

    I've never had a job job, yet it still resonated.

    Whoever fakes excitement best is usually rewarded most.

    Corporate jobs are full of shit.

    And the part about begging for permission to live your life is also especially true.

    1. 2

      Thanks for the comment!

      What kind of job you do then?

      I hope things change forever soon with the passion economy.

  9. 1

    I'm glad you're trying again! We all have our ups and downs, keep freedom in your sights.

    1. 1

      Thanks!! Freedom is my gasoline!!

  10. 1

    Hey!

    I had my first day today working full-time on my own projects. Plan is to stay true to this path for the rest of 2021. Would love to have a chat if you're open to it!

    1. 1

      Nice! How did you do it? Savings?

      Sure! Let's connect on Twitter! All the best!

      1. 1

        Yes! I'll ping you there.

  11. 1

    Lets be honest. A 9 to 5 job is basically the modern form of slavery.

    You do work you dont like, at times you dont want to work for customers you dont know.

    And when something goes wrong, your "safe" job isn't as safe as you thought.

    1. 1

      The safest would be having two or three jobs, so you can loose one!

      1. 1

        Having three jobs sounds like a really bad idea. ;)

  12. 1

    What an epic post. Subscribed!

    I might do Erasmus in Wroclaw next winter, we should get a beer then if you're around.

    1. 2

      Thanks!

      Wroclaw is a nice city, hope things get better next winter! I don't know where I will be, but I am 100% thinking about that beer.

  13. 1

    Are you a company now? 🤔

    1. 1

      Haha, actually yes. I am.

      I don't think companies are bad, as I said in another comment: getting together with a common goal or mission is a beautiful thing.

      Nothing against that!

      1. 1

        All good. Best of luck as a company :p

  14. 1

    I can relate to this deeply. I'm 10+ years in software development and have struggled with most of the things highlighted in your post.

    The visibility thing is highly unnatural for me. I tend to keep a low profile, I like it that way. But there's pressure to be active and vocal. I am when it's necessary, but never for the sake of it, which seems all too common.

    I also generally hate that I'm not fully autonomous, that someone else gets to have a say in how I use my time.

    I wish you all the best.

    1. 1

      "I also generally hate that I'm not fully autonomous, that someone else gets to have a say in how I use my time."

      I need to add that to the article. Exactly how I felt many times!

      Thanks for reading!

  15. 1

    Super post José.

    "Having a job should be temporary. And you should try and use all your resources available to leave it and start something of your own."

    Guess all of us are at various stages on this journey, and with the right amount of hustle, we're all gonna make it.

    1. 1

      That's very kind. Thanks a lot, Mike!

      We are going to make it, for sure! We need to keep working a little bit every day!

  16. 1

    This post resonates so much for me, and probably for a lot people reading these pages.
    Good luck for a better year!

    1. 1

      I'm glad to hear that! And thank you! Have a great year you too!

  17. 1

    Damn! I never had a job, because I suspected everything you just said was true. I always managed to keep myself afloat with my apps and other things, but I have to find a job now or in 4 months or so I'm screwed. Maybe like you said, freelance is not as bad? Thanks for the write up btw, it really was a great read, I will follow you on twitter for more.

    1. 2

      Well, having a job has its own benefits; of course, not everything is bad. It's more about what fits better for you. You can always try it and see how you feel.

      Being a freelancer has its own good and bad things. To me, the ideal is what you have. If I were you, I would try to grow my projects, but maybe take a temporary job if you need the money now.

      Thanks for reading!

  18. 1

    Echoed my thoughts, point by point. Congratulations and good luck!

    1. 1

      I think many makers, Indie Hackers, entrepreneurs feel very similar things. I am pleased to know that I also described your thoughts.

      Thanks for your comment, same to you!

  19. 1

    love the article, more power to you and all the makers out there!

    1. 1

      That's very kind, thanks a lot, Vin!

  20. 1

    I'm about to do the same, good luck and enjoy not listening to an alarm clock ever again!

    1. 2

      Nice! I will love to hear more about your story, Phil!

      No more alarm clock, except for those moments of happiness like taking a plane early in the morning (I miss that)!

    1. 1

      Thanks! I appreciate it!

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