Why I Quit My 9–5 Job to Move to South Korea and Start My Own Business

I’ve never been out of San Diego for more than 2 weeks.

I was born and raised here,. I went to college here, got married here, went to grad school here. I’ve never studied abroad, never lived in a different city. I’ve never visited anyone for longer than 2 weeks.

In 23 days, my wife and I will board our plane to fly to South Korea to start out new life. We’re going to be English teachers for a year, and I’ll be developing my career coaching business StuffGradsLike on the side.

We quit our jobs, sold everything we owned, said goodbye to all our friends, and my home of 26.5 years.


An Old Man’s Mind in a Young Man’s Body

On my last day, my coworkers were nice enough to throw me a little luncheon. They even brought me some nice craft beer (I’m a huge beer geek).

But perhaps the thing I remember most from that lunch is when everyone laughed at me.

See, I was the youngest guy in the office. I’m in my mid twenties, they were all in their 30’s and 40’s. Someone asked me what I was going to do on the month off I had between quitting and South Korea. “I think I’m just going to relax,” I answered. “I haven’t really had more than week’s vacation in over 3 years.”

That’s when everyone laughed.

I needed to quit because of that laugh.

The reason why they laughed is because they gone far longer than three measly years without vacation. Many of them had been going for 5–8 years. 3 years? 3 years was yesterday. Time flies, rookie.

I want to be an old man in a young man’s body. That means a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the average person (living in a different country, traveling the world, starting a business, making $100k/year, etc.) only happen once in a lifetime. But not for me. Because I’ll have lived more life than that.

If my wife and I didn’t pull the trigger — quit our jobs, leave our apartment, sell everything we owned — we too would remain on the same path as everyone around us: working for years without a break, getting sucked in the vacuum of taking-care-of-the-baby and buying-a-home responsibilities all our coworkers were in. For them, they might never travel the world or open a business.

Imagine for a second that it’s your 80th birthday. Who is there? What are they saying? What are they congratulating you about?

Now — why can’t you accomplish all those things by the time you’re 30?

Let’s say you do. Instead of waiting until you retire to travel to Asia, you travel now. Instead of waiting to open your own business after you work for another 10 years, you open it now. Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike to write that New York Times Bestselling novel by 80, you write it now.

If you do, you will have gained effectively 50 more years of life that you didn’t have before.

You will become an old person (mentally) in a young person’s body (physically). Benjamin Hardy writes extensively about this scenario in his paradigm-shifting (free) eBook, Slipstream Time Hacking.

I left my job because my birthday was coming up, and I wanted to be older than 27 by the time my 27th birthday rolled around. I wanted to live more life than the average 27 year old.

I wanted to live more life than the average 80 year old.

Let’s Risk Everything on My Blogging, Honey

This morning, my alarm went off at 6:30am. I tried to get out of bed without waking my wife, but she woke up anyway.

I still think you’re crazy,” she mumbled, turning over as she went back to sleep.

I’m not crazy. I’m scared.

I’m scared because once we’re done in South Korea, we don’t have jobs lined up. We’ve decided all our money will come from my coaching sessions, book sales, speaking engagements, webinars, and online curriculums.

The thing is, I have a stuttering tendency and I get nervous when I talk to large crowds. Most of the time, I read my writing and cringe because I know what good writing should look like and that’s not it. I don’t know how to set up my subscriber button to automatically send people my book when they sign up.

And if I don’t wake up early to start on this work, when will I do it?

Still, this life is far more preferable than my 9–5. I grew to hate how full-time jobs were structured. Here’s how I began to see things:

  • You suffer and struggle through the can’t-get-a-job-with-no-experience can’t-get-experience-with-no-job paradox for a while. You miraculously land a full-time job after convincing your interviewer you’re more qualified than you actually are.
  • You work, not for meaning or fulfillment or passion, but for experience.
  • Every project you do, every interaction with your boss, every meeting you attend is spent padding your future reference letter. You “put in your time” and live at the bottom of sh*t mountain while feces tumble down, past your bosses and into your inbox. This goes on for 2–3 years.
  • Then, you start interviewing again, this time for a slightly better job (if you’re lucky). You spend time convincing the interviewer you’re qualified, which you may or may not be.
  • You get the job.

And the process starts again.

Maybe this is just the structure of jobs during the 10 years after college, but I’m sick of it. I’m sick of working every day to impress a hiring manager in the future who has far too much power over me than they ought.

Perhaps one day, I’ll work in the 9–5 sector again (I’ll be doing a little of that in Korea). But I’m too ambitious, too motivated, and too passionate about having a fulfilling, worthy-of-a-biography life to spend it pretending I’m someone I’m not at a 9–5 job.

That’s why I’m risking everything on my blogging and career coaching.

The Next 24 Months of My Life

Will be pretty scary and pretty fun.

I don’t think I could’ve said that if I had stayed at my 9–5.

In 2 weeks, we’ll visit my dad in New Zealand for a week. Then, we’ll move into out apartment in Ulsan, South Korea.

From there, we’ll struggle with ordering kimchi and bulgogi at our neighborhood Korean BBQ restaurant. We’ll travel to Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, maybe even China.

I’ll start getting paid by clients from across the world, helping them change their lives in drastic ways as I hold them accountable to achieving goals they thought they’d never reach. I’ll publish my 3rd eBook, write every day, and wake up wondering what the day will look like.

I quit my 9–5 job for a lot of reasons — I wanted a life where my wife and I could be bored at home one day and decide to fly to Boston for dinner and a Celtics game. I wanted to work from home and watch my babies become toddlers. I wanted to live in South Korea and sip on a Guinness in the Dublin brewery and drink a pint at Oktoberfest in Munich and go mountain luging in New Zealand.

I couldn’t have that life if I stayed at my job. I wouldn’t get to become an old man in a young man’s body. I wouldn’t be able to experience opportunities people call “once-in-a-lifetime” over a dozen times before I was 40.

I have nothing against working at a 9–5 job.

What I have against them is when they prevent me from having the life I want, a life I’m excited to wake up at 6:30am to experience.

Call to Action

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