Today we are getting some life lessons and top advice on how to quit your job for Anywheres from Robbie Abed, author of the book ‘Fire me I beg you’, journalist, ghostwriter for senior executives, and content marketer for technology companies.
Robbie is a former IT consultant who after nine years managed the difficult transition to becoming a Marketing Director and Career Advancement coach in just two straight years.
Escaping the salary-job, Robbie managed to forge his path and create a job based around his interests; not just ensuring he had the correct skills as he went, but making sure that he had a more extensive knowledge bank than anyone else already established in the industry.
How did he accomplish this?
Robbie Abed (RA):
I wish I could tell you that it was part of my plan all along to make the transition to marketing and career advancement. I was able to make this jump because I was able not just to figure out what I was good at, but filter out what I wasn’t good at.
I did this by a lot of trial and error. When I quit my IT job, I left without a plan in place. I used this new time to start writing. I wrote 200 blog posts in one year. I forced myself to write. I wrote about everything from sports, satire, startups and career advice. Post 146 was a blog post I wrote called “Fire Me I Beg You” which ended up going viral on hacker news and I received over 80k views in a few days.
I took that as a sign to go all in on career advice and ended up buying the domain name firemeibegyou.com, trademarking the name and wrote the book.
A funny thing happens when you write a book. You want people to read it. And that’s how I learned marketing. Long story short, I got good at marketing in a short time-frame, and that’s how I landed my first marketing job as a Director of Marketing for a fantastic digital agency based in California.
Building a strong network of mentors, advisers, and critical friends can be transformational to many executives who are fighting to gain traction on their career path.
But if you are paralysed by fear, wondering how to quit your job, it can be daunting trying to reach out to people already established in the business or passion-area, into which a worker can be trying to break.
What’s your advice on making that first, second, and even the third step of engaging these mystical benevolent executives?
The first step is to get out of your mind that these are “mystical benevolent executives.” What was most interesting to me as I went up the proverbial career ladder is that these executives all need help. They are all trying to achieve something and need as much help as they can get it.
However, their threshold for establishing a relationship with them is really high. Which brings us back to your original question of how do you establish relationships with these mystical creatures:
The first answer to that is that you must be interesting yourself. I can’t stress how important it is to be someone who is interesting and is seen from outsiders as someone who is achieving (or trying to) achieve greatness. When I reach out cold to executives, the many who do respond, respond to me not because of how great my message was, but they were interested in my story and thought that I could add value to them.
The second step is that you have to play the long game. It took me four years to meet James Altucher, and before I knew it, he wrote the foreword for my book. Patience is the name of the game when it comes to building relationships with executives.
The third step is that with executives, they sniff out people who want to use them fairly quickly. Keep adding value to them. Keep focusing on their needs. Then you’ll start to see progress.
Do you find that a geographical focus helps drive you forwards as opposed to spreading yourself too thinly over a borderless internet? Is physically meeting in person crucial to building a strong business?
For building great relationships face to face is so important. However, you don’t have to be in-person all the time. If you can go out of your way to meet with your clients or other colleagues face to face once in a while, it can go a long way.
I’m all for a borderless internet and building a business over the internet, however from my experience, a simple 30-minute coffee meeting will help you uncover amazing things that you wouldn’t usually discover via a phone call
A large proportion of people striking out on their own, struggle because they are afraid to ask for work, ask for referrals and ask for help. What do you think it is that holds them back and how can they overcome this limiting perception?
I don’t know if I have a real answer to this because I understand the struggle. They are afraid of rejection. They convince themselves they aren’t worthy of a new job when the opposite is the truth.
You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Other people assume that if someone doesn’t ask for it, they don’t want it. So you have to change your mindset.
How to quit your job in a positive way
Part of the Robbie Abed story is your infamous resignation letter – you say that the CEO of Deloitte Consulting loved it so much that he then circulated it around the entire company. What do you think it was that captured his attention and made him want to spread the word?
It was unbelievable lucky timing + something he’s never seen before.
I sent out my resignation letter to 30 people within the organisation, and then I forwarded it to him so he can see the people that I recognised in the email. He was looking for something to send out to the company, and my email was so positive, he asked to send it to them all.
Of course, I said yes. You can find my resignation letter here along with details on resignation letter examples.
And what was the reaction from your fellow still-employed Deloitte consultants?
They were in absolute disbelief. I told a friend of mine that the CEO was going to send out the email, and then when it arrived in his inbox, he couldn’t believe it.
Also, because of how I thanked individuals in the email, the people that were mentioned in the email were extremely grateful for the recognition.
My own story is one of planning to escape the nine-to-five for over ten years! And just as I was plotting my great escape, voluntary redundancy reared its head and gave me the push that I needed to concentrate on my interests full-time.
It can be hard to transition from the perceived security of a guaranteed salary and pursue a career where yes, you are in charge, but you are also entirely responsible for your future success and failures. People are left wondering how to quit your job?
How do you advise people to handle the transition between the career they thought they had, and a future as one of the Anywheres?
It’s exactly that. A transition. I would plan for a 3-year transition to make it happen. I would also prepare for unexpected opportunities to arise once you throw yourself into it.
It doesn’t happen overnight. As they say, trust the process.
Turning now to your book ‘Fire Me I Beg You’. We have all read self-help books that inspire us and leave us feeling like we can conquer the world – how does your book differ regarding providing clear advice and motivation implementable in the real world?
My book basically gives the advice to invest in skill-sets and not a defined career path. Get little wins. Build up real, marketable skill sets. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission or a job title to validate what you’re doing is working.
I think if you follow my advice word for word, you’ll have a Plan A, B, C and D with your career. If my writing fails, I go back to marketing. If my marketing fails, I go back to IT consulting.
I’m not tied to a single career path.
In one of the recent blog posts on your website http://firemeibegyou.com, you offer the 21-year-old Robbie Abed, advice from you now.
“If you take more than five deep breaths before you get to work, you need a new job.”
What is it you think that we fear in our jobs and yet must be less terrifying than breaking free?
I surveyed my email list a few years ago this exact question. The predominant answer was that they were afraid their next boss was going to be a jerk. They didn’t leave their jobs because they were afraid they were going to be more miserable at their next job. That made me laugh because these people are literally the most miserable people on planet earth, and they’re afraid of what else is out there.
And finally, for those who have already escaped – the workers who have set themselves free and are now finding themselves more productive, happier, agile, flexible; the group of people who have become the Anywheres – What’s your advice on how to grow their business and take it to the next level?
Give back. Tell everyone how you get there. There will never be a shortage of people who are looking to be happier, more productive and flexible. Just don’t be scammy about it. Give real authentic advice from your own experience.
Robbie, thank you for your time and for sharing your experience and wisdom with us.
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