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Here’s why you shouldn’t just quit your job, even if you hate it

Strength coach and author Jim Wendler leading a session at a local Ohio high school.
Source: Jim Wendler
Strength coach and author Jim Wendler leading a session at a local Ohio high school.

Many people in the workforce today are struggling with the decision to stay in jobs they find unfulfilling, and they want to walk away so they can start their own business.

But one expert suggests that, even if you hate it, you shouldn't quit your job just yet,

"If you have a job you really don't like, and something else you want to pursue, pursue both for as long as you can," says Jim Wendler. He's a former college football player who turned to elite power-lifting, coaching, and writing.

Wendler is ultimately now a self-made businessman. He has squatted 1,000 pounds in competition, and his 5/3/1 program for weightlifting has been taught to millions of athletes around the country. His books have sold over 547,000 copies worldwide.

He's seen people from all walks of life try to emulate him, leaving their day jobs to be their own boss. But it's not as easy as you think.

"The job you don't like is going to pay the bills and give you room to make mistakes," says Wendler.

Wendler tells the story of the Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone, one of his favorites even though most audiences haven't heard of them.

"There are two guys in the band and both have never left their day jobs. Ever," he says. Since they have kept their jobs and their incomes, they can focus on the purity of their music and not worry about trying to use their hobby to make money.

"They're able to take big risks and if people don't like it, they don't like it."

"I always tell people if they want to put up their own facility and right now they work as an accountant, just do it so long that you're about to kill yourself," says Wendler. "When you have enough backup capital and you feel like you can do this on your own, then you can leave."

He's made this same switch himself. Many years ago, he left his day job working for a larger fitness organization so that he could go out on his own. "When I left, I didn't know where my next paycheck was coming from," he says.

"It was very nerve-wracking. I have a family, I have mouths that depend on me," says Wendler. "It's even harder too because a lot of this is based on your knowledge and your creativity."

"Hold on to your other job as long as you can, and just save your money." -Jim Wendler, author of "5/3/1 Forever"

That last statement is especially true for the people who going into tech startups, where ideas are their most valuable asset. "Definitely the best advice I got is hold on to your other job as long as you can, and just save your money," says Wendler.

"The catchphrase was 'follow your passion,' but if your passion can only give you $200 a month, that's not going to help. It's just dumb."

Wendler nowadays makes a lot more than $200 per month as an author and coach. His new book, "5/3/1 Forever," went on sale Friday.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the Norwegian Black Metal band referenced should be Darkthrone, not Ulver.