3 Ways to “Legally” Leave Your 9-5

3 Tips to "legally"leave your 9-5.png

So you’ve been in Corporate America for awhile and you’re contemplating your exit strategy; you want out! I get it.

When I entered entrepreneurship 13 years ago, I quit a job at a law firm at which I was employed for only about six weeks. I knew it wasn’t for me. The problem: I was broke, I did not have even $500 in savings, I was a new lawyer and did not know what the heck I was doing. I was arrogant. I didn’t want anyone that I felt wasn’t any smarter than I was to tell me what to do so I left.

Looking back on it I probably could have taken a more responsible route. I maybe could have worked at the law firm long enough to save some money. While working there I could have devised a real plan for what I should do. Lucky for me my leap of faith worked, but not everyone has such a happy ending.

Many will tell you to just drop the 9-5 and focus 100% on your dream. Others will tell you to use your day job to fund your dream job/business. I don’t advise people on which road to travel; it is totally a personal decision based upon each individual situation.

If you do choose to stay at your 9-5 gig before jumping full time into entrepreneurship I have a few tips to ensure you “legally” leave your job when YOU are ready.

  1. Check Your Employment Contract: If you signed an employment contract with your employer READ IT! Some contracts can limit you from having a second job, participating in certain out of office activities/behavior, engaging in other particular business ventures. You may have signed it long ago and didn’t have entrepreneurship on your brain at the time. Pull it out and review it so that you can be sure you are not violating your employment contract. Don’t lose the job before you are financially or mentally ready to leave.
  2. Limit Your Business Calls and Planning: If you are working on your business I’d advise limiting that activity to when you are off the clock. Working on your business (internet searches, phone calls, reading/research) is a prime example of time theft. Time theft occurs when an employee is paid for work that they have not done at the time they were supposed to do it. Most employers can determine which websites you visited and may even have cameras in the office. Big Brother is always watching. Be careful! Don’t find yourself in the position where you are being accused of time theft and thereby terminated.
  3. Your Employer Owns Your Brain: Yep, they own everything you created under the scope of your employment. If your business is closely related to your 9-5 gig, tread with caution. If you created a new process, new software, worked on the company blog, had an invention, etc, that intellectual property may belong to the company. You may not be able to take what you created and now monetize it in your new business. Also be sure to adhere to company non disclosures and non-compete clauses that may be in your contract.

Determining when to leave your 9-5 can be a difficult choice. However, be sure to follow the rules to avoid the risk of losing the job before you are ready. Also don’t burn bridges. Don’t upset your employer for you never know what may happen. You may need a reference for something or worst case scenario you may need to ask for your job back. Don’t mess up a relationship.


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