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Shall I buy my freedom or delay my dream?

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Shall I buy my freedom now or wait few months?

  • Buy my freedom now

  • Wait


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windchaser

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Hi guys,

I am committed to switching to the fast lane, already have the idea and I am on track with the execution but a decision I made in the recent past is preventing me from taking action now and I need to make a crucial decision and would like to hear some opinions and advice.

Long story short I am currently in a high paying job in which I received a sustantial signing bonus that comes with the condition that I should stay in the company for at least 18 months. If I decide to resign before then, I would have to pay them back the whole amount (not only the part I received, that was around half after taxes) plus interest. I started last July, so the end of "my sentence" would be mid January.
First advice I would like to ask if is someone has been in a similar situation and quit his/her job and negotiated this retaining bonus. I imagine that, if I decide to resign, I could negotiate paying a lower amount, hearing any experience about that would be extremely helpful.

So option 1 would mean quiting now and buying my freedom to start right away. The downside of that would be that I had to spend almost all the savings that I had for my business.

Option 2 would be waiting until my sentence finishes and then start my business with a very good balance sheet. The downside of that is obviously delaying my dream and having to spend more time in this job instead of pursuing my venture.

More context:
I have always been an aspirational fast-laner (admired entrepreneurs and always dreamt of becoming one someday) but an actual slow-laner. Graduated undergrad with good grades, went to work to top companies and came to the US to study an MBA with the intention to keep climbing the corporate ladder.

Interestingly enough, it was during the MBA where all my entrepreneurial aspirations finally awoke and where I met my business partners. I had the opportunity to launch a business during the MBA and I decided to take acton and seized it and it was the best decision I ever made.

I launched a venture during these two years and I must say that I learnt more from that than from all the classes, haha :)

When I graduated I had a choice to make and for visa issues (together with other considerations), I did not continued pursuing my venture after I graduated and succumbed to the temptation of Corporate America.

The thing is that now I see clearly that I want to keep pursuing the path of entrepreneurship and I have the opportunity to take up the international expansion of the venture I started to my home country. The prospects look promising but I am not totally convinced that the concept would be ideal for my country and the only way to know for sure is trying.

The good part is that I already have the technology, so the most expensive part is done, but I would also need, especially at the beginning, cash to invest in marketing and advertising.

The timing is not crucial in this product and there is no real incentive to launch now or in a few months.

Now I am leaning more towards waiting (although I would rather start launching tomorrow) as I believe it is a strategic decision in the sense that it is better to start this business with cash that with nothing. However, if there would be a way to go around paying back the bonus this would be a very different story...

I would appreciate any insight or advice and would love to hear experiences if someone has been in a similar situation.

Thanks in advance!!
 

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quanttastic

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Hi guys,

I am committed to switching to the fast lane, already have the idea and I am on track with the execution but a decision I made in the recent past is preventing me from taking action now and I need to make a crucial decision and would like to hear some opinions and advice.

Long story short I am currently in a high paying job in which I received a sustantial signing bonus that comes with the condition that I should stay in the company for at least 18 months. If I decide to resign before then, I would have to pay them back the whole amount (not only the part I received, that was around half after taxes) plus interest. I started last July, so the end of "my sentence" would be mid January.
First advice I would like to ask if is someone has been in a similar situation and quit his/her job and negotiated this retaining bonus. I imagine that, if I decide to resign, I could negotiate paying a lower amount, hearing any experience about that would be extremely helpful.

So option 1 would mean quiting now and buying my freedom to start right away. The downside of that would be that I had to spend almost all the savings that I had for my business.

Option 2 would be waiting until my sentence finishes and then start my business with a very good balance sheet. The downside of that is obviously delaying my dream and having to spend more time in this job instead of pursuing my venture.

More context:
I have always been an aspirational fast-laner (admired entrepreneurs and always dreamt of becoming one someday) but an actual slow-laner. Graduated undergrad with good grades, went to work to top companies and came to the US to study an MBA with the intention to keep climbing the corporate ladder.

Interestingly enough, it was during the MBA where all my entrepreneurial aspirations finally awoke and where I met my business partners. I had the opportunity to launch a business during the MBA and I decided to take acton and seized it and it was the best decision I ever made.

I launched a venture during these two years and I must say that I learnt more from that than from all the classes, haha :)

When I graduated I had a choice to make and for visa issues (together with other considerations), I did not continued pursuing my venture after I graduated and succumbed to the temptation of Corporate America.

The thing is that now I see clearly that I want to keep pursuing the path of entrepreneurship and I have the opportunity to take up the international expansion of the venture I started to my home country. The prospects look promising but I am not totally convinced that the concept would be ideal for my country and the only way to know for sure is trying.

The good part is that I already have the technology, so the most expensive part is done, but I would also need, especially at the beginning, cash to invest in marketing and advertising.

The timing is not crucial in this product and there is no real incentive to launch now or in a few months.

Now I am leaning more towards waiting (although I would rather start launching tomorrow) as I believe it is a strategic decision in the sense that it is better to start this business with cash that with nothing. However, if there would be a way to go around paying back the bonus this would be a very different story...

I would appreciate any insight or advice and would love to hear experiences if someone has been in a similar situation.

Thanks in advance!!

I would wait it out and still work at the firm, and use all of your free time and extra money from your high paying job to pour into the business.

Starting a business is a lot harder than a lot of newcomers think, and often can take more money too. I am of the opinion that it is EASIER to start a business when you aren't stressed about food on the table. It enables you to take longer term strategies, and to put money into the business, and perhaps even better yet you will be able to reinvest all of the profits to make it grow even faster!
 

Caonex Abreu

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Nobody can tell you if it is better to stay until January or leave right away other than yourself.

I can tell you this: I read TMF in 2011 while completing my masters degree. Said I would only work for a year or so until I got rid of my student loan and credit card debt. I just launched my first business in 2016 and still wish I would have done it 6 years ago with debt and all. Time doesn't stop or adjust to your needs. With that said, think about your situation objectively and figure out if staying makes sense while you build your bank account and make one final leap into your business venture.

Good luck.
 

windchaser

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I would wait it out and still work at the firm, and use all of your free time and extra money from your high paying job to pour into the business.

Starting a business is a lot harder than a lot of newcomers think, and often can take more money too. I am of the opinion that it is EASIER to start a business when you aren't stressed about food on the table. It enables you to take longer term strategies, and to put money into the business, and perhaps even better yet you will be able to reinvest all of the profits to make it grow even faster!

Many thanks for your advice!
 

windchaser

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Nobody can tell you if it is better to stay until January or leave right away other than yourself.

I can tell you this: I read TMF in 2011 while completing my masters degree. Said I would only work for a year or so until I got rid of my student loan and credit card debt. I just launched my first business in 2016 and still wish I would have done it 6 years ago with debt and all. Time doesn't stop or adjust to your needs. With that said, think about your situation objectively and figure out if staying makes sense while you build your bank account and make one final leap into your business venture.

Good luck.
Many thanks for your advice. Absolutely, at the end is my decision as I will be the one that have to live with it. I agree that time does not adjust or stop and that is never going to be an ideal time :)
 

broswoodwork

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If you already had some preorders lined up, I'd say jump now, but if you need the cash for client acquisition, it is what it is. May as well give your dream the best start possible by sticking around and keeping the bonus money.

I personally like the approach of never spending a dime on something until I've already lined up some customers, or at least very strong interest. Can you grab a few ready, willing, and able buyer's deposits fast, so you can leave sooner?
 

V8Bill

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I'd say stay at your job, see out your contract but also immerse yourself into being the best damn employee they've ever had. Focus on doing everything they ask of you but then add some more, really act like you love your job. Whistle with joy as you leave your house every morning on your way to work. Be a joy to work with. Help people around you and go beyond what they expected from you. Treat your job as an adventure that you can't wait to start every single day. Volunteer for extra duties. Be the first one there and the last one out. Love your job every day.

This will have several effects. First, you'll be a joy to be around. Second, if you act happy you'll start to feel happy. Third, your bosses will feel like the trust they placed in you was well founded and they'll feel better about you and it'll make them look good which they'll appreciate. Edify your bosses to their bosses at every opportunity (with style and class - don't go overboard) You may even get promotion opportunities - don't take them. Explain that you're happy to do your best in your current job. Fourth, time will fly! And finally, when it comes time to leave they'll have to thank you and if the worst happens they'll welcome you back with open arms but the best effect will be that you'll feel like a stand up guy who honoured his commitments and made the best out of the situation (a handy skill to hone).

You'll also have a lot more money when your contract ends which isn't far away. Enjoy every day and notice that this will be the last June you'll ever work - savour that. It's the last time you'll have to hunt for parking or wake up early for a commute. It'll be the last time you have to put up with idiots at work with a fake smile. Just count up all your "lasts" and enjoy every last drop of "work" you have to do. You'll feel like a better person because you honoured your commitments, were a joy to be around and you acted honourably.

Trust me, it'll be time to say goodbye very soon and you would have done the right thing.
 
Last edited:

windchaser

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If you already had some preorders lined up, I'd say jump now, but if you need the cash for client acquisition, it is what it is. May as well give your dream the best start possible by sticking around and keeping the bonus money.

I personally like the approach of never spending a dime on something until I've already lined up some customers, or at least very strong interest. Can you grab a few ready, willing, and able buyer's deposits fast, so you can leave sooner?
Many thanks for your response. It would be great to start with pre-orders, I could but not with such a far away launch date. This type of business of model requires myou availability and I cannot provide that while working, so starting while working is not really an option. But will certainly do that when I actually launch.
 

windchaser

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I'd say stay at your job, see out your contract but also immerse yourself into being the best damn employee they've ever had. Focus on doing everything they ask of you but then add some more, really act like you love your job. Whistle with joy as you leave your house every morning on your way to work. Be a joy to work with. Help people around you and go beyond what they expected from you. Treat your job as an adventure that you can't wait to start every single day. Volunteer for extra duties. Be the first one there and the last one out. Love your job every day.

This will have several effects. First, you'll be a joy to be around. Second, if you act happy you'll start to feel happy. Third, your bosses will feel like the trust they placed in you was well founded and they'll feel better about you and it'll make them look good which they'll appreciate. Edify your bosses to their bosses at every opportunity (with style and class - don't go overboard) You may even get promotion opportunities - don't take them. Explain that you're happy to do your best in your current job. Fourth, time will fly! And finally, when it comes time to leave they'll have to thank you and if the worst happens they'll welcome you back with open arms but the best effect will be that you'll feel like a stand up guy who honoured his commitments and made the best out of the situation (a handy skill to hone).

You'll also have a lot more money when your contract ends which isn't far away. Enjoy every day and notice that this will be the last June you'll ever work - savour that. It's the last time you'll have to hunt for parking or wake up early for a commute. It'll be the last time you have to put up with idiots at work with a fake smile. Just count up all your "lasts" and enjoy every last drop or "work" you have to do. You'll feel like a better person because you honoured your commitments, were a joy to be around and you acted honourably.

Trust me, it'll be time to say goodbye very soon and you would have done the right thing.
Many thanks for your interesting advice. I am actually currently doing that, maybe not to that extreme, certainly not being the first to arrive and the last to leave because I wouldn't sleep if that was the case haha, but I am making the best of it, I like to do an excellent job at whatever I do, even if I don't like it and learn as much as I can. After all, as you mention, time flies a trend in the meantime I am learning and making good connections. Thanks!
 

OldFaithful

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I'd say stay at your job, see out your contract but also immerse yourself into being the best damn employee they've ever had. Focus on doing everything they ask of you but then add some more, really act like you love your job. Whistle with joy as you leave your house every morning on your way to work. Be a joy to work with. Help people around you and go beyond what they expected from you. Treat your job as an adventure that you can't wait to start every single day. Volunteer for extra duties. Be the first one there and the last one out. Love your job every day.

This will have several effects. First, you'll be a joy to be around. Second, if you act happy you'll start to feel happy. Third, your bosses will feel like the trust they placed in you was well founded and they'll feel better about you and it'll make them look good which they'll appreciate. Edify your bosses to their bosses at every opportunity (with style and class - don't go overboard) You may even get promotion opportunities - don't take them. Explain that you're happy to do your best in your current job. Fourth, time will fly! And finally, when it comes time to leave they'll have to thank you and if the worst happens they'll welcome you back with open arms but the best effect will be that you'll feel like a stand up guy who honoured his commitments and made the best out of the situation (a handy skill to hone).

You'll also have a lot more money when your contract ends which isn't far away. Enjoy every day and notice that this will be the last June you'll ever work - savour that. It's the last time you'll have to hunt for parking or wake up early for a commute. It'll be the last time you have to put up with idiots at work with a fake smile. Just count up all your "lasts" and enjoy every last drop or "work" you have to do. You'll feel like a better person because you honoured your commitments, were a joy to be around and you acted honourably.

Trust me, it'll be time to say goodbye very soon and you would have done the right thing.
This is some great advice for anyone working a JOB, myself included. Thanks!
 

cmor16

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A little over 3 years ago my boss gave me 400 shares of restricted stock (3 years until it vested). At the time, I was at a point where I was ready to walk, and he knew it, so he he dangled the carrot and like the a$$ that I was, I bit. 3 years later, I'm still here, but the difference now is that I found the resources (the book and this community) to plan my escape. If I knew then what I know now, I would have realized that I could have easily earned the value of those shares with a little hustle and perhaps built something that would have allowed for an earlier escape.

This was my situation and I waited it out for 3 long years (going on 4 now). My issue was I didn't do anything on the side to prepare my exit while I was waiting for the shares to vest. I say stay, but keep hustling. Who knows? You may be able to make up the retention bonus on the side and have the choice to leave early.
 

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Waspy

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I was tied into a very similar contract at a job I hated. They were paying me through some very expensive training and if I left I had to pay them back for all of the training expenses.They could see I hated it, and as a result was a pretty shitty worker (not through lack of trying, the quality of my work just wasn't there, I didn't "get it")

I approached them and said I wanted to leave and they were fine with it. The contract wasn't there to lock people in, it was to stop people training with them and then jumping ship to a competitor.

So I ended up leaving with no debts to the company. It's potentially risky (telling your employer you don't want to be there), but it worked for me.
 

cmor16

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I am of the opinion that it is EASIER to start a business when you aren't stressed about food on the table.

The perceived "safety net" of a steady income can be a demotivator for some (myself included). Sometimes you need that fear to get your a$$ moving.
 

Slavi

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@windchaser , I don't know the answer for you, but for me, the answer was to leave and not to wait.
The perceived "safety net" of a steady income can be a demotivator for some (myself included). Sometimes you need that fear to get your a$$ moving.
I was even asked to take the option to leave unpaid for a few months and if it doesn't work out, I could come back. I declined this option and decided not to start the hustle with a safety net in the back of my head. I strongly believe in focus and I could only fully focus if I was surrounded with my startup 24/7 and nothing else, not even a safety net.

I'd say stay at your job, see out your contract but also immerse yourself into being the best damn employee they've ever had. Focus on doing everything they ask of you but then add some more, really act like you love your job. Whistle with joy as you leave your house every morning on your way to work. Be a joy to work with. Help people around you and go beyond what they expected from you. Treat your job as an adventure that you can't wait to start every single day. Volunteer for extra duties. Be the first one there and the last one out. Love your job every day.

This will have several effects. First, you'll be a joy to be around. Second, if you act happy you'll start to feel happy. Third, your bosses will feel like the trust they placed in you was well founded and they'll feel better about you
And as a nice side effect (I did this as well when I got back from Tony Robbins Business Mastery and decided towards the next steps) you will start your project with the same mental state!

Excited to read more about your path, wishing you all the best.
 

windchaser

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This was my situation and I waited it out for 3 long years (going on 4 now). My issue was I didn't do anything on the side to prepare my exit while I was waiting for the shares to vest. I say stay, but keep hustling. Who knows? You may be able to make up the retention bonus on the side and have the choice to leave early.
I wish I could but my job in very demanding in terms of scheduling, plus my venture wI'll be in my country and difficult to start with the time difference and distance. I am advancing all the work I can while working but I dont see a way to launch while at this job yet, but I am trying to figure it out :) good luck on your venture, I hope you can break free soon!
 

windchaser

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I was tied into a very similar contract at a job I hated. They were paying me through some very expensive training and if I left I had to pay them back for all of the training expenses.They could see I hated it, and as a result was a pretty shitty worker (not through lack of trying, the quality of my work just wasn't there, I didn't "get it")

I approached them and said I wanted to leave and they were fine with it. The contract wasn't there to lock people in, it was to stop people training with them and then jumping ship to a competitor.

So I ended up leaving with no debts to the company. It's potentially risky (telling your employer you don't want to be there), but it worked for me.
Many thanks for sharing. I have been going around to that, if I would share with them my reason for leaving there would be a chance they wouldn't make me pay the bonus. I guess that if I told them that I am leaving to am competitor they will certainly demand it, but in this case it would be different. If I would have 2 years left or if my venture was totally time sensitive I would certainly take the risk but being months... I am not sure is the risk is worth it, but it is great to know examples like yours, thanks for sharing!
 

windchaser

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The perceived "safety net" of a steady income can be a demotivator for some (myself included). Sometimes you need that fear to get your a$$ moving.
Totally agree. I know many cases. Although it is not the case for me. When I am passionate about something I have drive and nothing can stop me. Im my case, I like the safety net, as with the basics covered I can be focus on what really matters and even take more risks.
 

windchaser

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@windchaser , I don't know the answer for you, but for me, the answer was to leave and not to wait.
I was even asked to take the option to leave unpaid for a few months and if it doesn't work out, I could come back. I declined this option and decided not to start the hustle with a safety net in the back of my head. I strongly believe in focus and I could only fully focus if I was surrounded with my startup 24/7 and nothing else, not even a safety net.


And as a nice side effect (I did this as well when I got back from Tony Robbins Business Mastery and decided towards the next steps) you will start your project with the same mental state!

Excited to read more about your path, wishing you all the best.

Many thanks for your kind words! I don't like that type of safety net either, I had a similar situation when I left my job for the MBA and declined the offer as I knew, no matter what, I didon't not want to go back at that job. But the economical safety net is different though, also, I don't see it as much as a safety net but more like a healthy balance sheet for my business.I rather start with cash to invest than as a struggling company. It is true that if your resources are scarce you are forced to be more creative and more efficient. That was the case with the venture I started during the MBA, our resources were very limited and yet we found incredible resources by thinking outside the box, however, some things are off limits unless you have the cash!
 

ExaltedLife

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If it's something you can handle, I would suggest the third alternative that you start your business immediately without quitting your job, and pouring all your free time into it, instead of quitting right away or focusing solely on your job. That way, perhaps you can quit 3 or 6 or 12 months from now instead of the full 18, resulting in A) Possibly a smaller 'debt' to pay back, as you have worked for them longer? Not sure how that works, B) More money in your pocket from working and saving, and C) A fledgling business that might even be profitable by then.

I'm in a similar situation where I was trying to decide whether to quit my job and plunge straight into a new business or keep my job. I elected to do both because my financial situation was poor. To sweeten the deal for myself I migrated into a sales role from my manufacturing role in order to at least learn skills relevant to my business. I'm not sure what your job is but maybe something similar is also possible to you.

Additionally, starting a business with heavy time constraints will force you to prioritize and adapt if you want to keep it alive. That's what I'm working with right now. My progress thread is viewable to those with an Insiders subscription, which I highly suggest you purchase, as it is not expensive and of very high value.

Cheers!
 

windchaser

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If it's something you can handle, I would suggest the third alternative that you start your business immediately without quitting your job, and pouring all your free time into it, instead of quitting right away or focusing solely on your job. That way, perhaps you can quit 3 or 6 or 12 months from now instead of the full 18, resulting in A) Possibly a smaller 'debt' to pay back, as you have worked for them longer? Not sure how that works, B) More money in your pocket from working and saving, and C) A fledgling business that might even be profitable by then.

I'm in a similar situation where I was trying to decide whether to quit my job and plunge straight into a new business or keep my job. I elected to do both because my financial situation was poor. To sweeten the deal for myself I migrated into a sales role from my manufacturing role in order to at least learn skills relevant to my business. I'm not sure what your job is but maybe something similar is also possible to you.

Additionally, starting a business with heavy time constraints will force you to prioritize and adapt if you want to keep it alive. That's what I'm working with right now. My progress thread is viewable to those with an Insiders subscription, which I highly suggest you purchase, as it is not expensive and of very high value.

Cheers!
Many thanks for your advice. My condition was 18 months but I am almost a year in, so there are 7 months left. My job is +12 hours per day and my venture is in another country, I am working in my venture as much as I can but with distance and time constrains I don't see a viable way. Many thanks for sharing your experience!
 

jclean

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Mj Quote
"If you think you can afford it, you can't"

I mean
Are you going to have a bigger return on your time when you quit inmediatly ?
7 months is not a lot off time.
You are probably going to need the money to start/survive.

Business is usually a lot harder/costly to start then people assume.
 

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jlwilliams

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7 months isn't a lot of time. It's a job you don't like, not prison. Tough it out. Spend this time laying the groundwork for the new venture then hit the ground running.

Don't quit until you have banked the proceeds of some sales. Quitting now, incurring debt before generating income (much less turning a profit) would be a questionable move.
 

Lafandriel

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I was in a similar situation and decided against it because the work turned to be not so fullfilling anymore ... So I would say if you don`t mind working until January ... why not?
But if you have to force yourself to go to work the question shows up whether that is worth it...
Don`t stay there only for the money because your time is precious
I hope you make the best decision for yourself ;)
 

windchaser

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Mj Quote
"If you think you can afford it, you can't"

I mean
Are you going to have a bigger return on your time when you quit inmediatly ?
7 months is not a lot off time.
You are probably going to need the money to start/survive.

Business is usually a lot harder/costly to start then people assume.

Interesting reflection and perspective, actually that is the reason why I am leaning towards staying. I am approaching this as if it was an options valuation: is the value of time (waiting) worth the cost?

Only looking at money it is, but there are other factors to consider that are difficult to value. Thanks for your advice!
 

windchaser

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Spain
7 months isn't a lot of time. It's a job you don't like, not prison. Tough it out. Spend this time laying the groundwork for the new venture then hit the ground running.

Don't quit until you have banked the proceeds of some sales. Quitting now, incurring debt before generating income (much less turning a profit) would be a questionable move.
That is why I haven't quit already, and I know how to tough it up, I had done that many years in other jobs as well.
The thing it is not just a job I dont like, it feels more like a prison because it drains not only my time but also my energy.
I agree doing that would be a questionable move even a reckless move, I wouldn't need to take up debt but it would mean starting with almost zero as opposed to a healthy balance sheet.
I was telling myself is an strategic move but I wanted to hear opinions if that is actually the case of if I am fooling myself making up excuses.
Many thanks for your advice and opinion, it is really helpful!
 

windchaser

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Spain
I was in a similar situation and decided against it because the work turned to be not so fullfilling anymore ... So I would say if you don`t mind working until January ... why not?
But if you have to force yourself to go to work the question shows up whether that is worth it...
Don`t stay there only for the money because your time is precious
I hope you make the best decision for yourself ;)

Thanks for your kind words! Actually the main reason I am staying is for the money, because I think is a strategic move given my circumstances.
However, as I mention, there are other factors more difficult to value and that is what it make it a dilemma.
I am learning useful things at the job and making good connections but everyday is more and more difficult psychologically. But fortunately is not such a long time, if it was more I would seriously reconsider.
Thanks for your advice
 

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