“If you leave your job, I’ll leave you”

I made the decision this year that in September I’m going to leave the 9-5 rat race and pursue a life of liminality. That is, earning bits and pieces from various ventures aligned with my multiple interests.

Last night I showed my partner the budget and what it would mean while I wasn’t earning an income. Having been on board with my idea only a few days ago, I wasn’t prepared for the full force of her reaction.

She didn’t like it one bit. She is utterly unable to see the potential either in the idea or in me to build a business, one that creates a better work life balance.

She is a work-a-holic. Loves her job. She’s unable to see past the confines of a 9-5 office job. She sees all possibilities outside of it as wishy washy and uncertain.

And it is true, when you leave the safe harbour of a job it (the income) is uncertain. But just how certain is a job? She could get fired tomorrow.

I point to the fact that there are millions of self employed people in the UK and that it is not unusual. But because I am not a plumber nor electrician, she cannot get her head around me selling my software development skills online. She can’t see the potential in providing courses and guides to help anxious introverts break free of their own 9-5 hell.

I am writing this upset. It’s raw but I’m trying not to judge her. After all it is me with the lofty ideas. You see I’ve had ideas in the past and from somewhere I’ve found the courage to execute on them. I’ve lived in other countries, I’ve totally switched careers twice, the last time being into software development.

But she is sick of me changing direction, trying new things or to put it in her words – “sick of you not being able to stick at something”. She wants life to be unchanging and stable. I understand. But the world isn’t unchanging and stable. I am not unchanging and stable.

I have dreams and ambitions. I see life as a journey. To me it seems insane to stop trying. I have had many failures and many set backs, but I’ve learned so much from them that at least I know what I don’t want to be in life – a wage slave.

I want to be free.

“But that’s not what people do”.

“That’s not reality”.

“You’re not Steve Jobs”.

These are some of the phrases I’ve heard over the last 24 hours.

This ladies and gentlemen is the reaction of the beige army, the mindless masses scared when someone challenges their core beliefs. I expected negative reactions from friends and colleagues. I expected sneering from “successful” family members. But from my wife?

She is threatening to leave me. Not only is she no longer supporting me, she is threatening to break up our little family if I don’t fall into line and grind out the office job.

That’s come as a total shock. After all she was on board only a couple of days ago. But now it’s become real and I’ve turned it up a notch she has totally turned on me.

I am in a position now where I am trapped between two harsh extremities:

  1. Carry on in my 9-5 being depressed and keep my family.
  2. Quit my job, be free and lose my family.

I am utterly trapped. The matrix has me. All along my wife was Agent Smith. Check mate.

My wife has become sole custodian of my key to freedom. A jailor bought and paid for  by “the way things are”.

I honestly don’t see a way out right now…


One thought on ““If you leave your job, I’ll leave you””

  1. Security is extremely important to your wife which is why she gave you an ultimatum. What’s her background? Did her family struggle with finances while she was growing up? Introduce her to some successful self-employed people, reassure her this venture will make you more stable not less stable. Present your plan and a backup plan if it doesn’t work the way you think. Tell her how you feel about the ultimatum… Love isn’t conditional. If I were her, that’s what I would respond to. Divorce is horrible. I hope you can work it out.


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