10 Reasons You Have To Quit Your Job in 2016

10 Reasons You Have To Quit Your Job In 2016 by James Altucher

And why you will be happier when you quit your job

I was scared after I was thrown out of school.

I didn’t want to spend my life in prison. I didn’t want to have a 9-5 job. I understand not every 9-5 job is bad.

But I didn’t even want a job I loved. I was afraid of not being able to do what I wanted during the day.

When I was in school I would go to the museum during the day. I would spend time with friends during the day. I would try to write novels during the day. I would play games many days, sometimes all day.

Once I had a job, I was trapped. I had to work until dark. I had no car, so I had to hitchhike home. I had to kiss *ss on the boss so he would either not fire me, or he would promote me, or he would give me tasks that weren’t boring.

I didn’t like having a person order me around. I didn’t like being scared of him.

I locked my office door so I could still write fiction all day. But I was repeatedly caught and given warnings.

I hated some blob “warning” me for living a life I wanted to live, even if I got all my meaningless tasks done.

Some of the tasks were like: “Write the manual for the chip we are making”. I’d write the manual and like any other manual in the world written by a 22 year old, it sucked.

Another task was, “watch my car while I go into the airport.” And then I got in huge trouble when a policeman gave the car a ticket.

I was always getting into trouble. And I was always scared. Scared for my meaningless existence.

Not only had I led a life worth unexamining, it seemed my future was even worth less examination.

The boss would call me in his office. He was 25 years old. Not much older than me but he was a blob about to become a billionaire and I was just a piece of blob worth nothing.

He said, “Don’t you have any pride in your work?”

And I turned red and he just watched me. And he said, “Answer the question.”

But I had no answer. I had no pride in my work. So I was fired. And I had to hitchhike home the day I was fired.

I got depressed. I felt useless. I was going to disappear without making any dent. I was scared.

Now we live in a new world. A world where you don’t have to get a job. Where there are opportunities with their hands out, waiting to be touched and loved, if you just reach out as far as you can and touch them back.

Here are ten reasons you shouldn’t have a job. Included in these ten reasons are reasons to be hopeful.

1) One Job = Only One Source of Income

According to the IRS, the average multi-millionaire has seven different sources of income.

A job is just one source of income. Not only that, your one job is taxed almost 50% so most of it goes to fight wars and pay for things you would never pay for.

Plus your boss takes out money for not only insurance and 401ks (“savings” because you can’t be trusted with your own money) but they take out money (trust me, since I’ve been a boss also) for your desk, your computer, and basically your right to work for them (since they need to extract more value out of you than you deliver so that they make more money than you).

They chain you so you are just paid enough to live but not to thrive.

2) Imagine Your Job Is Your Business

A business often has multiple lines of income. You spend a few hours each week on each product line.

But a job takes up 60 hours at least. 40+ hours of work. Plus another 10 hours of transportation. Plus mind-numbing tasks you can do to inoculate yourself against the pain of having to go back to work the next day.

You are constantly reminded that you have go back to work. So for 2-3 hours a night you have to do everything you can to forget that painful fact.

If you view your job the way a businessperson views a line of revenue, you would say, “this is the worst business possible. I need to switch businesses.”

3) Your Job is the Walking Dead

I was talking to Robin Chase, the founder of Zipcar. “Eventually – 10 years maybe – driverless cars will be the only cars on the road. The auto industry and all of its ancillary industries will have 90% fewer employees and those people will have nowhere to go.”

Another friend of mine (Steven Kotler, author of “Tomorrowland” and “Bold”) was telling me that even therapists are no longer needed.

“Returning soldiers talk to AI-based therapists to determine if they have PTSD or Depression or not.” He said, “Lawyers, therapists, and even all of middle management will soon be replaced by AI and robotics”

So who is left? Blue collar will be gone and most of white collar will be gone.

The 0.1% will be left. The ones who will allocate capital away from hiring workers towards hiring robots to shelve Walmart shelves, do your therapy, take care of your legal and accounting needs, and drive the 0.1% to their malls and stores.

“What will happen to the other 90%?” I asked Robin. But she had no real answer. “They will need help!”

Who will help them? Who?

There is no answer. Nobody cares. If you don’t quit your job, your job is going to quit you.

4) You Have No Friends

I’ve had lots of jobs. I admit I am a bit pathetic. But I have no friends from previous jobs.

Most of those friends were nice to me because I sat in the cubicle next to them while I listened to them beg pathetically to their girlfriends or boyfriends all morning after an argument and then someone would hang up on someone.

Then they would show up at my cubicle and try to take out their frustrations on other employees. Everyone gossiped. Everyone was sad.

The employee manual was always there to dictate what we should wear, what we should say to members of the opposite sex, who we needed to report intimacy to if such a thing were to occur in such a sterile environment.

And worst case, a boss would walk by and everyone would stop by with our white collar stars pinned to our white button down shirts.

Then I’d get a new job and have new friends.

I hope now the friends I meet are real friends. Because they come out of common ground and interests and, I hope, love.

5) Income is Disappearing

In the past 25 years, real income has gone from $36,000 to $33,000 for people ages 18 to 35.

Why? Who knows. Because nobody cares.

Then the talking blobs on TV tell you you have to start saving during those years.

Meanwhile, the cost of living has gone up.

How do you save, when it costs more to LIVE, while the money coming in the bank is going down.

Society is being strangled. I don’t blame anyone. It’s not the government’s fault. It’s not Wall Street’s fault. Or Main Street’s fault.

Jobs were a myth from the beginning.

The Industrial Revolution standardized society so that factory workers would show up at the same time, have the same education, hit the same bolt on the same nut at the same time, and get paid every two weeks.

The the Internet economy came which globalized the idea of a job. Now we live in the Idea economy where the wealth is moved from the people who do the work to the people who have the ideas.

It’s not evil. It’s just the course of human history and how change is always inevitable.

6) Deflation

The economy is about to undergo massive change.

For 100 years we’ve been worried about inflation – the idea that prices always rise.

But “always” is always wrong. (!)

With changes in biotech – healthcare costs will eventually go down as focus goes from “cure” to “prevention.”

With driverless cars as well as batteries – car costs and energy costs will go down

With AI and robotics – many jobs will be done more efficiently…and not by humans

Computers – prices are going down

3D printing and drones – costs of shipping will disappear

Virtual reality – costs of everything from games to transportation will disappear or go to zero

Technology has now reached THE DREAM – the idea that the benefits of technology will drive down the costs needed to pay for it.

Which is good (we will pay less for the things we love).
And is bad (no need for you anymore. No need to pay you anymore.)

This is not 50 years in the future. This is already happening now. And will only get worse/better no matter what government “solutions” are going to bail people out.

7) There Are Alternatives

This is the magic of every business being developed now:

A) A group of people have excess capacity (for example, extra rooms in a house that are never used. Or extra seats in a car).

B) There is a group of people who will buy that excess capacity

C) There is a “platform” created to mediate between “A” and “B” and handle all monetary transactions, problems, logistics, etc. (e.g. Airbnb, Uber, and 100s more).

This “Excess Capacity” economy is only getting bigger. There are many ways to be in group “A”. There are many platforms now – not just Airbnb and Uber. But Alibaba, Ebay, Etsy, Infusionsoft, and maybe 100 others.

Start researching the excess capacity in your life and how to monetize it.

It might even be mental excess capacity. Don’t underestimate what you have in your mind or in your garage.

We live in an “idea economy”. So perhaps first you have to exercise the idea muscle.

Don’t buy a course, or a workshop or any BS that the reverends of self-help will try and sell you. They give the briefest of injections of false hope to fight off the never-ending despair of change.

Just write down 10 ideas a day to exercise this idea muscle. You will build it. It will be magic. Trust me.

8) Here Are Some Ideas to Start You Off

I was scared because so many people were writing me they didn’t know what to do as they were losing their jobs.

So I cold-wrote the CEO of the largest freelance job company in the world. Freelance.com’s CEO, Matt Barrie.

I asked, “How can people earn $2000 in a weekend with only a few months worth of training.”

He wrote back immediately (note: I have no affiliation with him and there are many sites like his so I am not even pushing his site here.)

He wrote back (thank you Matt!):

“Every single project is tailor-made based on the needs and requirements of each employer. Nevertheless, please find a list of projects where freelancers can easily make $2,000 or more in just a couple of days:

1- Video Animation – video projects for KickStarter/Indiegogo or an animation explainer videos for a new product/service launch are an easy and quick job to do online
2- Programming – e.g. for Ecommerce stores (Shopify, Magento), we have seen a huge increase in ecommerce, as well as social media commerce
3- Website testing or Web Scraping – last minute changes on the site before the big launch, companies want to make sure the site would work as intended so they simply hire someone to test it throughout
4- Website Development and Design (as you said, WordPress fits in this category) – it can be templated but it’s quick and efficient and it looks good
5- Children’s Book Illustration – incredibly popular job on the site that pays quite well. Self-publishing is a big thing these days and illustrators on the site can provide for a huge range of different design styles that fit any requirements
6- Writing – we have seen numerous requests from people needing help with their business plans or book editing hiring experts in the field on Freelancer.com. It’s especially popular among not native speakers when they need something done in English or another language and they want to do it right
7- 3D Rendering and Architecture Design – huge skill on the site, studios are willing to pay a lot of money to get last minute support and help with their projects or contests
8 – Software Architecture
9 – App development – full time staff or freelance temp workers may not always be available to help out, especially during the weekends, while our developers on the site can easily fix any issue or help to finalise the project when deadlines are tough
10 – Photoshop or any other design work – companies would pay substantial money to have their PowerPoint, Infographics, Brochures or Keynote presentations designed by a professional designer on the site.”

I’m not saying you should do these things. But opportunities and education are there right now.

9) Where is the Education

lynda.com, Khan Academy, Coursera, Udemy, Codeacademy, Udacity, Skillshare, are a few. If there are more, please tell me.

None of these will make you do better at your job. They will all give you ideas for alternative sources of income that can eventually replace your job.

Again, I have zero affiliation with them. I’ve taken courses at most of them.

My 13 year old daughter takes classes via Codeacademy.

10) A Stable Salary is Fake

The worst thing you can have is a stable salary.

A stable salary gives you no feedback on how you are doing. You always make the same every two weeks.

Instead, income should be feedback. If it is going up, you can scale the parts of your income that are working.

If it is going down, you can change the things that are not working well.

This is how people make a lot of money.

A stable salary is an addiction (thank you Nassim Taleb for pointing that out) that fools one into thinking they are doing ok until the day they are fired.

Feedback is knowledge. Knowledge leads to greater happiness.

11) (bonus) Be Happy With Less

About a year ago I threw away almost everything I owned.

If it can’t fit in one bag, I don’t have it. Some people need two bags. That’s fine. No judgment. Take ten bags.

But some people need $X in the bank. Or they always wanted Y to waste away in their closet.

Value stories and experiences over objects. You can get a story today for free. If not your own, then listen to others.

Imagine a story: the story of you between now and the moment you last close your eyes.

The story people will tell at your funeral.

What happens on that story? Are you shuffling paper? Are you serving people who don’t deserve you? Are you friends with temporary people who will gossip behind your back?

Are you taking orders from the masters?

When you were a child, you wanted to draw and to write and to act and to make people laugh.

How long will you postpone that until it is too late.

How long were these hands that were made to create beauty, be stunted in their growth while they create nothing?

Before we were five, we were free from the wounds of our parents, our lovers, our peers.

And then we became infected with their open, emotional wounds that they got from their parents and friends.

Once we got infected, we began to live their lives. Their pains, their wounds and diseases. Their fears.

Now is the chance to cure ourselves. To live the life we want. To ignite once again your creativity. To break free from the life of prison and horror.

Every day, I wake up and hope I can do it.

To make people laugh. To make people delight and love. To create and feel that pleasure of creation.

I don’t want to die today. I want to live the life I always dreamt I would live.

Photo credit: Kevin Krejci


  • I was at a party this weekend and ran into a guy who owns the company that was the VERY FIRST company I ever applied for a job at. It was for a web development position in 1996. I didn’t get the job but I went on a week later to work for what was at the time their only competitor.

    He almost seemed shocked when I explained that I had been a freelancer for 8 years and still loved it. I don’t think about going back to working for a larger company at all.

    But my one criticism of this message (that I mostly agree with) is that your examples are always web/tech related. Your top 10 list is MY list. We have done every single one of those things out of our office or within our freelance network. I even have a very close associate who might do close to three million in sales this year on a series of children’s books. But, honestly… there are not a lot of us out there doing this full time. It’s VERY stable. But I wonder if that’s just because there are not that many of us.

    • AZ

      Rick, would you be willing to share the name of the children’s book series? Feel free to contact me if you prefer a private message.

  • I hope nobody ever quits a job. Always negotiate a severance package and get laid off instead. If you quit, you don’t get a severance, unemployment benefits, health care, nada. Never quit, get laid!

    Be smarter about your transition to something else. Engineering my layoff in 2012 allowed me to work on FinancialSamurai.com without the pressure to try and make money. The severance took care of that. So much less stress, and much more focus on doing things you want without financial pressure.


    • There can be severe opportunity costs to that. I’ve continued to do business with every company I’ve ever left in some form. Probably 30% of my income would not be there had I left on bad terms.

  • gavin

    The message from No. 11 to the end: Profound, convincing, and action-inducing. I’m in. You captured essence right there, James. Been building my platform for a while. Just finished “Choose Yourself.” Now, it’s time, past time, to really get on with really doing.

  • Sean Canton

    Is that advice for your employees? Quit your job?

  • Hash Berry

    #8 is just a list of jobs. And freelancing is still a job. Are you trying to advertise freelance.com? I’m not convinced that freelancing is supposed to be a “real” income while a salary is “fake,” especially when it’s the exact same type of work.

    • Dio Brando

      Freelancing is just work you can do whenever. A job is work that is at a mostly specific location where are your actions are dictated by a superior and you have much much less freedom.

  • Babakar Diop

    I love your quit your job posts. Please do more

  • The world economy has become highly uncertain and highly volatile. For example, the oil industry which was doing so well just two years back is in complete doldrums now. This doesn’t impact those who run the show as they can scale back the operations and lay-off people in a jiffy. For employees, however, the risk of loosing their job and hence their sole source of income (if they never bothered to create multiple sources of income) is very high. You may do a job as long as you can manage to have one or as long as you can tolerate it if you have one, but you must for sure invest significant efforts in creating multiple sources of income. Remember when an organization has a single customer it is viewed as a highly risky proposition. So when an employee works for a single employer that should also be viewed as a highly risky proposition.

  • I quit my job three weeks ago and I didn’t realize the opportunity cost going somewhere for 12 hours a day cost me.


    I think its critical that we all start working on personal brand now, as soon as possible. The future is coming, and I don’t know if were all going to be jobless, but I do know that all the jobs that are “comfortable” now are going to go away soon, just like James said. When the next swing happens, there are going to be two camps – those with self awareness and a brand people trust, and people who don’t. The first group won’t be scared, the second will be.

  • Stewart McClintock

    James Altucher is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

  • Mak

    We feel the same. That’s why we coined ideasarethenewcurrency.com;)

  • Ericsestimate

    I did exactly that. It’s scary as hell, but so so rewarding.

    Wrote about it on Medium here:


  • Daniel

    Hi James! I’m writing to thank you for helping me so much in the last couple of months with your book (Choose Yourself) and blog posts. Thanks to the internet your message reached me here in Brazil and during this week I decided to choose myself! Today I quit my crappy job and started following the Daily Practice. I’m looking forward to write again in a few months to tell you about the results. Thanks!

  • Dan Rozak

    Love that you mentioned gossiping because I can’t stand it. The biggest motivator for me in “not having a job” is being around only people I want to be with. Love your work, look forward to more!

  • Great Article, Altucher! :) You are my hero. I always mention you in my posts.. :)

  • Tony Meade

    I’ve been re-reading this article about once every other day since it was published. As a public sector employee, some of this stuff doesn’t apply, but the main gist (and especially item #4) definitely hits home.

    I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out an escape plan, though. I already have a whole other life outside of my day job as a musician, and unless I can figure out how to turn that into a living, it’s hard for me to figure out something that would allow me to start a business or freelance my way out of the day job with almost no time or resources left over. I’ve been trying to figure this out for years, to no avail.

  • dentshop

    I agree with so many of the points stated but I am still very skeptical of all the driverless car stuff. A lot of people I know simply like driving. They would still want to drive. It’s the same with so many other professions at risk from robotization. I don’t want a robot chef cooking my cheese souffle, nor a robot bartender telling me why the Dodgers suck, nor a robot police officer stopping me for jay-walking. Already supermarkets must be questioning their installation of self check-outs because people won’t use them a second time. If these things get so cheap that we can’t help but use them, and they would have to if we aren’t earning salaries anymore, then maybe. I just don’t see our aging population wanting to be constantly without human interaction or human experiences.

    • Isaiah

      The self driving cars will eventually become standard. It will start with a ‘cash for clunkers’ and the last step will be to outlaw traditional cars for ‘safety’ reasons.

      • Barefoot in MN

        oh yeah? well, if so, then there will be a niche Black Market for people to de-program the driverless cars, and allow manual override.

  • Very insightful and informative for people that want a different way to live their life. I am an ex-corporate robot mom, worked in the corporate world for over 3 decades. Then I looked around at my life and wondered if I had to live my life as a 9 to 5er. The answer is no. You have choices. And what you share here is important for people to understand all the choices but to also take responsibility for your life and how you want to live it.

  • petertrast

    Meh. I mean, I get it. I have tried running my own business. The first big try failed and I will probably make another run soon. But let’s be realistic. The masses CANNOT do what you are suggesting. The minority that has the drive, motivation and means will have a few attempts and successes. But even being in a “job” is not the nightmare scenario you describe just because it’s a “job”. I have been continuously educating myself for 14 years, changing jobs every 1-3 years and I earn in the top 2% with NO college degree. and I love Mondays and despise people who whine about them. I picked my career and I love it (my second career, that is, because I did not love the first).

    I like what you are getting at, but the failure to connect with the realities of life for MOST people will relegate this piece to appeal to the people who already agree with you and have been trying or succeeding at what you suggest. Preaching to the choir, really. But I like the reminder to keep on the course to independence. I feel fortunate to love my work, but it’s no accident. And I am even scouting for a new career because I want to change careers BEFORE this one burns out :)

    Oh yeah, I work in IT…. :)

  • Dean Mitchell

    God I love everything you write James.