How High Are You Setting Your Bar?

What’s your number for quitting your day job? And what does it say about your priorities?

Shaunta Grimes
May 26 · 3 min read

We spent the day outside. It was glorious. Warm and breezy. I wore a sun dress and sandals instead of Uggs and a winter coat. We got free snow cones and ate at hot dogs. My daughter found a perfect pair of little alien earrings at the flea market.

My husband, my daughter, my parents-in-law, and Zach, and I all packed up and headed to a community day in the next tiny town over. One of my husband’s oldest friends and his wife came by. And his aunt, who owns the roller rink in that town, did as well.

His aunt is my mother-in-law’s much, much younger sister. Twenty-plus years younger. She’s only two years older than my husband.

She told me she’d read this post of mine, where I talk about what your ‘number’ is for being able to quit your day job. Mine is $20,000. As long as I’m earning $20,000 as a writer, I don’t have to find another day job.

She told me hers was $3,000,000.

That’s three million.

It isn’t often that I’m struck speechless. Three million? Really?

She said she got out her calculator and that’s what she’d need in CDs to replace her income with interest — without dipping into the principal.

So, I pulled out my calculator when I got home and figured out that three million bucks is about $100,000 a year over thirty years. That would put her into her eighties. Plus, there’s still all that interest, which even if she’s using the principle is a lot of money.

And I thought to myself, what a perfect, perfect example of how every single person is different. We all have different personality quirks and tolerances and dreams and ideas.

I quit my day job the second I knew I could pay my rent the next month if I did.

She wouldn’t quit hers without enough money in the bank to give her an income higher than she’s earning at her 9-to-5.

The truth is, she doesn’t want to quit her day job. She likes it. It suits her. She’s good at it. She likes it so much, in fact, that her bar for ever quitting to not work at all is nearly impossible to reach.

And that’s okay. For her.

If you want to quit your day job some day, though, it would make a whole lot of sense to make sure you’re not setting your own bar impossibly high.


Sign up for my free mini-course on building a creativity practice.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the original Ninja Writer.

The Write Brain

Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!

Shaunta Grimes

Written by

Learn. Write. Repeat. Visit me at ninjawriters.org (My posts may contain affiliate links!)

The Write Brain

Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!