Quitting a High Paying Job (Real Life Review)

On the 30th of April 2018, a Monday, I quit my high-paying job as a portfolio manager at one of the world’s largest asset management firms. It was a moment full of thrill and excitement. A somewhat anti-climax yet it was what I was set to do in order to pursue opportunities working for myself and like-minded others. 

It was by no means an easy task getting to this decision but looking back certainly the right decision I took. Yes, I miss the nice paychecks and the attention that my seniority gave me while at work. 

If you are looking at potentially taking the same leap I very much hope you find my own personal journey interesting and useful to assess whether you should think about maybe doing the same. Read on!

Why are people quitting their high-paying jobs?

Ever since the Covid crisis, it would appear that more people are enticed to quit their jobs. The “Great Resignation” as it’s widely called has many reasons but most probably through the good old realisation that you don’t really like your job. Months in lockdowns also forced many employees to work from home which opened their eyes to new work-life balance realities. Do you really need to live in this town to go to work or can you move somewhere a bit warmer and just work from your garden? I think many new ideas of what work means and where you want to work from have changed attitudes. 

It, therefore, doesn’t come as a surprise that those employees knowing their value have found a career elsewhere and have quit their jobs. There is also the psychological effect of stimulus cheques coming through the door while you’re at home and not working. This has turned many realities upside down, thinking that money, provided by the government, will be there if there are ongoing tough times ahead. Wrong thinking in my opinion. 

The fact that the overall economy, depending of course on what sector you are working in, has broadened its possibilities through the application of modern technologies. We have previously looked at various jobs and opportunities catering for different values people attach to what “work” means for them. This coupled with the push for many to start building their own companies, either by themselves or with others seems to appeal to many, and it certainly did for me. Work can be fun!

Should I quit my high-paying stressful job?

Look, let me tell you something. Your high-paying job is precisely high-paying because it is stressful and challenging. I have been there and I know many who are or have been in the same position. You have two choices, either deal with the stress levels (sports, meditation, nutrition) or try other means so that the job becomes less stressful. 

Besides, I know of many stressful jobs that are not paying nearly as much. A friend of mine is a nurse and the hours and stress she has to work through is pretty much nothing compared to what I had to go through in finance, plus (or minus) a nurse’s pay is incomparable and very minimal and too lowly paid if you ask me. 

So the answer is of course that it highly depends on how badly stressed you are and whether there are any factors that can alleviate the negative feelings. I’d say most people in high-paying jobs deal with high levels of stress on a daily basis. Some are better at dealing with it than others. Personally, I tried to engage in more sport and better nutrition as well as trying a bit of meditation which all helped. If that doesn’t change your situation I would highly recommend to speak to someone you can trust and maybe also try to seek professional help when needed. You are not alone. 

What to do when you hate your high-paying job?

Simple, look for an alternative. I have been there and I had this feeling many times. I would highly recommend, however, trying everything in your power to assess what elements you really hate and why. Is it a specific task or person that makes you hate the job? What can you change in order to make you feel better? 

Once you have properly analysed the situation, make a plan. Go talk to recruiters, and update your CV and LinkedIn profile if necessary. If you have been with a company for many years you would have made good friends that could also advise you on how to proceed with things. It would maybe also be a good idea to talk to HR and discuss what elements of your job make it unbearable to work. If it is a large company they will hopefully try and find you another role within the company. I have seen many friends do exactly that as it’s pretty common practice. Never give up without having a plan. That’s the main message. 

How much money should I have saved before quitting my job?

That, of course, depends on your personal circumstances. Do you have a working partner? For me, for example, that decision was relatively easy as my wife still worked which was enough to finance our lifestyle. 

If you are by yourself I would think it is reasonable to have at least a year’s worth of saving before quitting a job. This would give you enough time to enjoy the downtime as well as engage with potential future employers through interview processes. The last thing you want would be to feel stressed the very moment those paycheques stop coming in. As such, again, planning your steps and in this case, finances will be paramount to how well you will go through any change ahead. 

Why do good people leave great jobs?

The short answer is that they can. If you are good at pretty much anything you do, you will know you’ll likely get a similar job somewhere else. This might sound arrogant but you will have a good sense of whether you are good at what you do or not. 

My wife, for example, exhausted from work asked for a sabbatical many years ago. She didn’t get it so she just quit and travelled the world for 8 months. When in South America, her old boss called her up and asked her whether she would consider coming back. She did, and the rest is history. In general, I would say, people are scared of leaving their jobs for the unknown world out there, I did too. But having been out for a while you discover so many more avenues and build a network of like-minded people who just want to work with you no matter what. I certainly learned a lot. Also, the world you live in forgets you quite quickly, everyone is dispensable. Life goes on!


In conclusion, there are many reasons why people might quit their high-paying job. It could be due to stress, wanting to start their own company, or simply because they hate their job. There are many things to consider before making the decision to quit, such as whether you can handle the stress, how much money you have saved up, and what your alternative plan is. 

Ultimately, it is a personal decision that each person has to make for themselves. I hopefully took you through my personal experience in leaving a high-paying job. I wish you all the success and only the best if choose to do so. It can be scary, but tremendous fun. 

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