Why taking a Year Off is awesome AF

Hey buds, I wanted to kick off this post with a question.

So please enlighten me, what is the main reason you wake up and go to work everyday?

More specifically, do you go to work for personal fulfillment or only for the money?

The reason I ask is because, from my own experience, chasing money is the wrong fucking game!

For the readers that don’t yet know, I spent a year away from the corporate cubicle from October 6, 2015 to December 5, 2016.

To sum up what taking a year off was like in four words: It was fucking remarkable.

Quite frankly, the time away from the 9 to 5 literally changed my freakin’ aura.

Something magical happened during that year off, I swear to you!

It brought me back to my youth and helped become an adult at the same time.

You see, when young, most people don’t know themselves well enough, which makes it easy to become someone you’re not.

But as you age, the combination of self-awareness and wisdom derived from ones experiences begins to accumulate.

Why Taking a Year Off is Awesome AF

Honestly, though, manifestation or whatever you want to call it is a real thing.

I truly believe that things happen for a reason and thoughts are physical.

Though, there’s really no magic or anything supernatural occurring at all.

In my opinion, when you begin to focus on yourself, there’s a totally natural attitude shift that occurs.

Once you realize this, the world can be yours.

So how does this all work?

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Start By Taking a Year Off

During my year off, I was granted the opportunity to write a guest post detailing how an idea to quit the day job became an action. You can read that post by visiting Why I Made The Life Altering Decision to Quit the 9 to 5 on Apathy Ends.

I really enjoyed writing that post as I got the chance to provide more details on why I resigned.

That said, taking a year off turned out to be a low risk trade-off in the big scheme of things.

It was totally worth spending the money for the following reasons:


Time To Think

Don’t you dare even think about overlooking this one!

Thinking is very powerful and life would be much better if more people actually did it.

The reason that thinking is so important is because it helps you understand your WHY.

What makes you tick in life?

What does your ideal day-to-day life look like?

There’s a lot to think about, especially if you’ve been avoiding it.

Patience really is a virtue in this process. Because you’re going to have to spend a lot of time pondering what’s important to you.

Rest Up

I’m not sure about you, but the day job leaves me feeling exhausted all the damn time.

Before my year off, it felt as though my mind and body were slowly rotting away.

At 29, my body was seemingly beginning to fail me.

Candidly, I don’t take kindly to bedtime as a 9 to 5er.

The moment I wake up, the routine starts all over again.

Before the year off, I would routinely stay up until 2,3, or even 4 AM.

This poor sleeping routine continued for years even though I’d have to wake up for 8 a.m. the next morning to prepare for the commute.

During my year off, fortunately, my sleeping pattern began to align itself with the rise and fall of the sun.

Stop Being a Shell of Yourself 

Corporate values destroy individuality. It’s really that simple.

The real reason corporate values exist is to paint an image of the company for shareholders.

Like, can someone please explain to me how the quality of work improves when a dress code is implemented?

I get that not everyone wants to be as untraditional as me, but why would you ever put a corporations values before your own?

You’re just a another cog to them.

Moreover, if you let them, they’ll squeeze every bit of life out of you until there’s nothing original left.

Then one day, before you know it, you’ve become one of those expressionless, nearly dead individuals that’s just passing time.

You become overweight because you have no time to eat properly.  You’ve caved for that morning doughnut one too many times now.

You eat fast food in the evening because you’re too tired and require the chemical happiness.

That McDonalds cheeseburger becomes the highlight of your day.

Soon your clothes stop fitting, but you let it slide because you don’t even look good anymore with new clothes anyways.

Sorry, but it’s just the truth.

Please realize how important it is to maintain your originality.

Once you do, the magic starts to happen. That’s when all the right people start coming your way.

Gain Back An Optimistic Perspective

Remember that optimism you had as a student?

Well, it’s still there, it’s just tucked away.

It’s been put aside ever since you decided to trade your life away for benefits and a pension.

You only get to live once for frig sakes!

The key is to find the right combination of skills and interests to help others. That’s where the fulfillment comes from—giving to others.

Get optimistic about your potential.

Purpose Over Money

Here’s how I see it.

Life is full of trade-offs, but in the end, pursuing purpose over money is by far the way to go.

And don’t just take my word for it.

Take this recent quote from Bryan of Income Surfer if you don’t believe me.

“you have a great many more options once you kick money out of the decision.”

I thought that was a fantastic quote and it made all the sense in the world to me.

Further, if you do take a year off and put an honest effort into all of the items on this list, I truly believe opportunities will come your way.

It took some time, but some really cool things are starting to open up for me.

Hang Outs

When you’re not working a 9-to-5 and have more flexibility in your life, people will come your way too.

Being authentic will draw the RIGHT people and eliminate the residue from your life.

A lot of people, including myself in the past, say the word “no” too much.

After a while, it becomes a habit.

However, if the year off taught me anything, it’s that relationships are probably the most important part of life.

Not only do they enhance your life, but they may lead to opportunities down the road.

My advice would be to go with the natural flow and say yes to the good people in your life as much as possible.

Pursue What You Love

Once you’ve had the time to think about what your ideal day-to-day looks like, you can go on an all-out pursuit to reach that vision.

My ideal day to day would be working as a blogger and dividend investor.

However, that vision is like any other achievement in life—all great accomplishments take time.

It doesn’t matter if you want to be the CEO of a corporation or a professional blogger.

In my estimation, reaching success in any field takes about the same amount of time.

Both require years of rapport-building and time to acquire the necessary skill set.

That said, the key is to focus on building the BEST individual skill-set that works for you.

Watch Magic Happen

This part is hard to put into words, however, I had to include it because I’m beginning to grasp how this all works.

If you take a year off and really focus on the reasons on this list, you’ll have a renewed perspective on life.

I strongly believe that.

A year away from the traditional 9 to 5 to focus solely on yourself will provide you with the attitude shift of your lifetime.

In turn, that change in attitude will forcefully bring upon a more purposeful life.

Question: Would you ever consider taking a year off to pursue your passions?  What is the biggest deterrent to trying it?


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Updated on April 13, 2017

25 Comment

  1. Man you are really inspiring me. I’m working on getting myself into that position where I’m going to work, not because I have to, but because I want to. Not in that position yet, but one day…just the feeling you describe sounds incredible .

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Financial Panther,
      Glad you found the post inspiring! It really is a remarkable feeling. Though, I will eventually make my way back to the work force, this time around I’ll be working on things I love. Blogging and a job in an industry I care about. Good luck on reaching all your goals and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. I also loved that quote from Bryan, or just his whole post really.

    The reason I go to work is more for the money than anything else. BUT we are working towards me not having to do that. And we’re working as hard as we can at that.

    You are sounding extremely wise and in a great mood, Graham. I can feel it in your words!

    I’m looking forward to not just a year off work, but a lifetime.

    Tristan

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey Tristan,
      That really was an eye-opening quote by Bryan.
      And we all got to start somewhere. It’s totally essential to make money to live. But I think the problem is that most people don’t have a long term goal like you do. The process is just as good as the success.

      And thanks for the kind words…. I appreciate it! I’m also glad you’re noticing my mood in this post. I was really trying my best to put how I’ve been feeling lately into words.

      I agree about a lifetime. The possibilities for life are endless when you have that much time on your hands.

      Thanks again 🙂

  3. Inspiring post, While I primarily work for the Money I have found that I am feeling a lot of the same emotions you walk through in this post. It’s definitely not as powerful as my soul gets crushed 5 days a week but being able to write and have my own project that no one can dictate makes it a lot easier.

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi AE,
      I completely agree with you.
      Having the authority to dictate your own project makes it a ton easier. It’s so annoying to be working on something and thinking (what do they want me to do) instead of what is the best way to do the job. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Awesome post! I would love to take a year off, but I just don’t have the cash saved up to do that quite yet. Plus, if I just keep plugging away the way I have been, in about 10 years I’ll be taking a permanent vacation.

    However, if I come to absolutely hate my job and the company I work for, I think I’ll be taking some time off.

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks so much for commenting. It’s great that you have the opportunity to take some time off if need be. I never planned to take a year off in the beginning, but somewhere along the line it became the goal. Glad you liked the post and thanks for commenting!

  5. Anthony says: Reply

    Great post man! This seems like it’s coming from the heart. But the great thing is that, beyond the passion, you’ve got actual experience doing this for almost a year! Keep it up!

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey Anthony,
      You definitely hit the nail on the head when you said this came from the heart. It totally did. And I agree with you. The passion has turned into experience and it’s starting to show in my posts. I’m writing more and more about blogging, social media, and from my own experience. Thanks again 🙂

  6. This is my goal, to take a year off. It would be amazing to actually experience life outside the 9-5 Grind. Congrats on being able to do it. I am very jealous and in awe!

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi PIGGYBANKNOMICS,
      Thanks for stopping by! I can assure you that life without the 9-to-5 is amazing, but it does come with trade-offs. It’s been an amazing experience. Hope you get the opportunity in the future. Thanks again 🙂

  7. Hi Graham,

    This is my first visit to your blog. Very inspiring post! It looks like almost a year is up for you – I am curious to know, what next?

    As for me, I moved from a large cap to a smaller company. I have been in the smaller company for a little over two years now. I do my work and get out. There is no time or room for politics.

    Honestly, I enjoy my workday. Believe me, I know every job has it’s challenge, and I do have not a great days once in a while.

    If we work, we spend 50% of our time at work. If we don’t like what we do, we should find something that we like to do and make it work as long as it pays the bills and we are able to save some money.

    I am thankful with what I have going for me now.

    –Michael

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Michael,
      Thanks for commenting and for the great question.

      Truth be told, I am planning on working again after the year mark. Though, I’m looking for a more fitting, flexible type of career that allows me to still focus on this blog. I wanted to use the year off to potentially create an ebook, but that’s just an idea at the moment.

      Part of the reason why I wrote this post is because, out of no where, I was granted an interview in a brand new industry. Ideally I can work there, continue building up dividend income, and improving the blog to one day make this permanent.

      That’s fantastic that you enjoy your job. I can also see how coming from a large cap to small cap company would make a huge difference.

      And I checked your blog too! Really enjoyed your recent report! Thanks again 🙂

  8. Hi Graham,
    I really like this statement “Corporate values destroy individuality. It’s really that simple.” When you work at any job you follow THEIR rules, There is no more job “security” in 2016, so what I like is the freedom we have to create our own careers. Challenging? Yes, but I think it’s a good thing. There’s so many ways to make money too online – you just have to be really committed and self-directed. I agree with you – taking time off can yield some fantastic insights!

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Lesly,
      Thanks for commenting and I agree with you 100%! It’s all about their culture and job security is no longer the same in 2016. We’re so lucky these days to have so many opportunities to make money online. It’s certainly challenging, however, that’s what makes it worth it. The self-direction is key. Thanks again 🙂

  9. […] you goto work just because of the money? Graham from Reverse the Crush talks about why taking a year off is a good decision and why everyone should consider […]

  10. TJ says: Reply

    I actually do not even know what my last day in the office will be. February 21 2017 perhaps?

    I’ve been focusing on my blog which has helped made the time go faster, but did you find it hard those last few months before you left the office job?

    Somehow I’m going to downsize from a well furnished apartment into a Honda Civic and live in AirBNB’s and campgrounds while maintaining a blog with at least 1 post per week. At least I won’t be able to complain about having nothing to do…. 🙂

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey TJ,
      That’s awesome that your last day is already somewhat mapped out. And February will come in no time!

      The way I left the job was actually unplanned. Though, I was finding it increasingly difficult to make it through each day from about November 2014. For whatever reason I just crashed.

      Your plan sounds amazing! And that takes guts. I’m really interested to follow your journey to see how it goes. It’s cool that you’re doing it a different way than me too. I sold off my car and had no commute expenses. I started eating out less. But it is a challenge to not spend money when you have all that time. Especially when friends come your way.

      Looking forward to your journey man! Best of luck 🙂

  11. Lila says: Reply

    My boyfriend took a sabbatical because he was living a real life version of Office Space. It’s kind of weird how years later people in IT still think that movie explains their working life. There’s a lot of burnout in IT and you don’t really see a lot of people over 45 in that field.

    A lot of them tend to move on to less stressful industries. There are lots of good reasons to take time off work. I definitely think that a sabbatical has totally helped him be more focused on what he wants from his life.

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Lila,
      I can definitely relate to your boyfriend. I feel I’m living my own version of office space at times right now. I’m also happy to hear that his time of led to him feeling more focused on life. I think I’m reaching that same point now. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  12. HI Graham,

    Yeah, you need to listen to that inner voice for sure. Corporate mentality destroys individuality. NOw that is interesting. I guess you get the mindset of the corp that takes over. Please the biz, do their bidding and perhaps ignore your inherent creativity and ideas. Heck, I worked for a bureaucracy for years. I loved it, but to implement change….try an act of congress! And it does crush creativity and change. Nice article, thanks for sharing

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Paula,
      Thanks for stopping by to comment!
      I totally agree and I’m glad to hear someone else is on the same page. Corporations can destroy individuality if you let them. I understand that things need to get done, but theres a lot of time wasting and unsatisfied employees out there that would be happy with a little more freedom. Glad you liked the article. Thanks again 🙂

  13. I feel burnt out and that my health is suffering and I’m only 27! Thanks for the inspiration. Did you feel like the clock was ticking with it only being a year?

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Julie,
      I started feeling like that around the age of 27 too. I guess age just catches up with you and your body gets fed up with the way you’ve been treating it.
      Happy to hear you got some inspiration from the post!
      As for the clock ticking, I started feeling like the clock was ticking around the 10 month mark. I guess you could say that I figured out what I need to figure out in my time off. I have more direction now and I get to continue writing on this blog. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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