Quitting Self Employment for a Traditional Job

going back to work full time

Except for the first two years of my career, I’ve been self employed. First as a small business owner, then as a contract optometrist. Being my own boss has been a great experience, but very soon I’ll be quitting self employment for a traditional job. Although this flies in the face of those longing to leave the 9-5 lifestyle, it’s the right decision for this stage of my life and career.

Self Employment is Great Until it Isn’t

I don’t regret being my own boss for all these years. Being in charge allowed me to take off when I wanted, leave work to pick up my kid, and control how much or how little I worked.

However, years of managing employees, dealing with self employment taxes and paperwork, and having to work like a fiend before, after, and occasionally even during time off does wear you down.

I am a huge believer in hustling. both in your day job and beyond. I don’t think I’ve ever had a traditional 40 hour work week. Even after cutting back on being an optometrist, I made up for the downtime with blogging and freelance writing. That was a game changer as we’ve paid off debt and been able to save and invest.


We now have more than enough income to fund our lifestyle and meet savings goals. Since we are in a low cost of living area, it’s much easier than in more expensive parts of the country. I also know Jim and I will be working for at least 10 more years. He is just getting started on the administrative part of his career, and I probably will work at least as long as he does.

Plus, I’m tired and want to try spending evenings and weekends doing something besides work or thinking about work. We’ve decided it’s OK for me to slow down and have one job.

Won’t You Be Bored?

With most day jobs, I probably would be bored, but the position I’m taking is with the Indian Health Service. The job might be lots of things, but boring is not one of them. I’m very excited to join the clinic staff and build the optometry clinic to what I know it can be. Up until now, it’s been limping along with a few contractor hours per week. The majority of the adult patient base has severe health problems, and there is an extreme need for eye care.

And as hard as I know I’ll work for the hours I’m in clinic, I will be able to leave at the end of the day and not have to worry about after hours calls, insurance billing, or the latest employee drama. Finally, a job I can actually leave at the office!

Benefits Anyone?

I know tons of people who take steady jobs for the health insurance or retirement benefits. I’m not one of those. As frustrating as self employment health insurance is, it’s doable. You also have many retirement plan options outside of work 401(k)s. So while it’s nice to have an employer 401(k) and HSA match with really good health insurance, that’s very low on my list of reasons for taking this job.

My other huge concern about going back to work full time was vacations. Yes, I am already planning vacation time before even starting my first official day at work. In fact, I turned down the job once out of concern that I wouldn’t have enough time off.

However, the clinic was willing to negotiate and work with me to get the time off I required. Not only will we still be able to take vacations for all the school breaks like we do now, but I will also be able to take off all the teacher work days when school is out to hang with my kiddo.

When you include all the government holidays, I’ll actually have more time off than I take now, and I won’t have to worry about not getting paid while on vacation.

Are You Quitting Side Hustles Altogether?

Yes and no. I am going to step away from blogging and won’t be posting regularly, but you’ll still hear from me every now and then. Our other big side hustle is real estate, and that’s one we hope to keep forever. In fact, I toured a potential new rental just a couple of weeks ago. We aren’t looking to rush into anything but do hope to add a few more properties when the right ones come along.

While you won’t see me as often out in the blogosphere, I’ll still be reading, learning, and being inspired by all the PF people out there who are doing amazing things. Even though it isn’t in the cards for me to make millions online, I am extremely grateful for all the support you guys have given me over the past three plus years.

Personal finance is very personal, and we all should remember that when a path is right for someone else, it might not be right for you. Always keep your Eyes on the Dollar but also do what brings you joy. If you can accomplish those two things, it’s hard to go wrong.

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  1. Congrats Kim, as others have said your voice will be missed but I completely understand where you’re coming from. Working for yourself can be a great experience but there are definitely a lot of things you give up to do so. I think the tiredness aspect is a one a lot of people can overlook – it’s just not worth it if you’re not getting true quality time to enjoy with your family.

  2. Congrats on your new job Kim. I know that this job opportunity will bring you the results you want to achieve. Me too. I am still looking forward to a better opportunity. As a matter of fact, I have two active job applications. Still waiting for a final interview.

  3. Congrats Kim!! I think it’s important to always weigh career opportunities that are presented to us no matter how happy we may or may not be in what we are currently doing. As a fellow entrepreneur, I can completely understand why you would make this decision at this point in your life. I will miss your posts so please don’t forget to keep us updated on everything going on with you and your family.

  4. Well as you know I did the same thing. I don’t know why full time is bastardized as much as it is. Maybe people who went freelance really hated their jobs? I never went freelance for that reason – I was forced into it via a layoff. Unlike you though, I LOVE having the benefits as well. Sure I miss some flexibility and my workout schedule had to be shifted, but other than that, I’m making double what I was making as a freelancer, and the checks are steady and I like my work. Glad to hear you could negotiate some things that will work better for your schedule. I will miss seeing you around here, but some things run their course. I plan on still writing, but I cut WAY back on hustling. I was just freaking tired!

    1. Don’t get me wrong; I am very happy to have benefits, but that was not the main reason to take this position. It was more about job satisfaction and getting to do something I really love that will pay me well for doing it. Plus, the staff has pushed really hard to get me on board, so it’s nice to feel wanted and respected. I loved blogging but I feel that I was missing out on family and social things because I always had a blog post to write. It will be good to focus on one thing for a while.

  5. Congrats for making the choice to focus on just one job. I hope to have the ability to make that choice – or at least have the option – sometime down the road. Right now it’s more about building a financial foundation so I need to keep hustling. I think you’ll enjoy life a lot more with this setup. You will be missed but I will definitely be checking for updates on your blog still! Hope you still get some posts up now and then…and selfishly I hope you end up like Brian from Luke 14:28 who stepped away but then came back : )

    1. I wish I’d done more to develop multiple streams of income when I was younger and before having a child. I think you are setting yourself up perfectly for when you’re ready to scale back. Thanks for the kind words.

  6. I’m all for you taking it down a notch and enjoying life more. It is impressive that you’ve been self-employed for all these years and I admire that greatly. I’m thinking about taking it down a notch to because the economy is fading and the returns won’t be as great as they once were. As I get closer to 40 years old, I really want to enjoy life more because it is half over.


    1. Turning 40 was a huge point for me. To think that I’m halfway done is crazy,and I really want to enjoy every moment while my daughter is young and I have the health and ability to do pretty much what I want. That being said, I do enjoy my profession and don’t think I’m ready to leave it behind for a few more years. I think this new job is the best of both worlds and if it isn’t, I’ll do something else. One of the most important things I’ve learned from the online community is that if you don’t like your situation, you can find a way to change it.

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