Working harder than ever and still no payrise? Successful people who quit the 9-to-5 grind reveal novel methods to beat the recession…
1. Work from home
Giles Coren, restaurant critic, author and TV personality: “I’ve had lots of jobs –
I worked in shops, I was an elf in Santa’s Grotto, and then I worked at The Times and a few other newspapers. I didn’t mind it, but they didn’t seem to like having me around: I don’t think they thought I was a team player.
I would be at my desk, feet up, smoking tabs, farting. Then things started to change and people stopped drinking at lunchtime, more and more women appeared in the office, and it just didn’t work for me. Eventually I was had up for the triple offence of plastering up semi-naked FHM posters, smoking tabs and swearing loudly on the phone and I left.
I’ve now been working from home for years and it’s fantastic, partly because I do my work quickly and earn in an hour-and-a-half the same money they’d pay me if I sat in an office for a week. There’s no faking it. And the pace of life is more natural – I usually work for four hours and then I’m done, go for a run and have an afternoon kip. That’s beautiful for me. I’d recommend it – if your boss needs convincing just remind him that you spend two hours a day on public transport. Tell him if he lets you stay at home you’ll spend those two hours
working for him.”
PERFECT FOR: Persuasive types who can make a genuine claim for not being in the office. If meetings necessitate face-to-fact contact, home-working would only work if your commute was short.
Coren’s book Anger Management is out now on paperback
2. Take a sabbatical
You get a year off; he doesn’t have to dig deep to get rid of you: Asking your boss for a sabbatical might just be the answer the two of you are looking for. First bone up on the different types of sabbatical – travel, volunteer, green, learning, research and more – and then hit him with your bombshell. “Often you don’t need to quit your job if you want a break,” says Barbara Pagano, author of the book Negotiating Your Sabbatical. “If your company is smart, they might go for it.”
The key to convincing your boss is to make your 12 months in the sun sound beneficial to the company. “Determine the things that will best influence your employer,” says Pagano. “Things like how it would help your team while you’re away.” Next, knock up a ‘Work Coverage Plan’ to show how your colleagues would survive without you, remembering to emphasise how they’ll also grow stronger while you’re busy feeding refugees/saving whales/smoking crack with Thai hookers.
PERFECT IF: You’ve a raft of savings, fancy a break and are naturally persuasive.
3. Move abroad and live like a king
Chris Evans, 32, entrepreneur and founder of blightyarts.com: “I worked in an office as a trader before realising I wasn’t happy, so I went to India to volunteer at an orphanage. I had a gaming business up and running and immediately saw how I could outsource work to India.
In 2009, I set up my own office in Hyderabad, which is known as Cyber City and has millions of IT graduates who are hardworking and clever and their salaries are smaller than in the UK, so we can get great value. I can employ four or even five people here for the same salary as one person in the UK.
India is great, because the way they do things is similar to the way we do them in Britain, everyone speaks English and they generally like us.
Here, I have a three-storey house in the heart of the city, a maid and an office boy to cook, clean my clothes and do things like shopping and pay the bills. It’s a very different lifestyle to what people are used to back home.”
PERFECT IF: You are entrepreneurial and/or have ‘portable’ skills such as writing, design or programming.
4. Be a Jobsharer
People who want to work less hours and then go part-time often bleat about feeling undervalued and losing their place within their team. But two employees who share one job tend to retain their sense of importance – and if they get the balance right, can feel like a formidable partnership in their own right. Staff at the British Medical Journal who studied the pros and cons of job-sharing came up with the following:
Be aware that you probably won’t do 50% each, it’ll feel more like 60%.
Try not to see your job-sharer as competition and make sure you keep each other in the loop.
Negotiate hard for a fair salary. It’s not unknown for each job sharer to bag up to 70% of their old wage.
PERFECT FOR: Confident, free-time cravers who could handle letting a stranger in on their 9-5.
5. Top up your salary at home
If you’ve no need for time off work and simply want more cash, there’s no end to the number of ways you can make extra money outside of your day job. Journalists, for example, can massively boost their salaries by ‘moonlighting’, as can graphic designers, computer programmers and even teachers who offer private tuition.
There are lots of ways to make money online – most are decidedly hit-and-miss, of course – but if you think of the web as a window to a global market, your experience in anything from law to marketing might have a value all over the world. Whore yourself out on PeoplePerHour.com. Sign up with JustAnswer.com and get paid for writing good, fast advice online. Or try out your creative skills at ideabounty.com which offers cash rewards to whoever generates the best idea to specific challenges.
PERFECT IF: You’re adaptable or can foresee demand for the skills you have. Not so good if your CV reads: “shelf stacker”.
6. Set up your own business
“The act of leaving your job motivates you 10 times harder than you could ever imagine,” says Robert Craven at The Directors Centre (thedc.co.uk). “The need to find new work will propel you to be more innovative and resourceful and you’ll never look back.”
People who quit their job to fly solo frequently describe it as “like a breath of fresh air”… and “terrifying”. On your own, without a salary to keep you afloat, there’s a good chance your first few weeks could seem like a big mistake, but almost every successful businessman in the world took that risk and did it his own way.
PERFECT FOR: Ambitious people with good discipline and useful skills. No good if you’re simply bored of your old job and don’t really have a plan.
MEN AT WORK: EMPLOYMENT FACTS
29 million people in the UK classified as employed
2.45 million unemployed in the UK
9 million ‘economically inactive’, people such as students, long-term sick, unpaid carers and early retirees
EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 4PM, INTERNET SHOPPING BY EMPLOYEES AT WORK SHOOTS UP BY 75% IN THE WIDELY HELD BELIEF THAT THE TOUGH PART OF
THE WEEK IS NOW OVER
The average man will work around 85,000 hrs in his lifetime... but this figure will almost certainly rise because the retirement age is sure to go up, meaning a guy in his 20s will probably put in 100,000+ hrs in the office
IT’S OFFICIAL: WOMEN TAKE MORE SICK DAYS THAN MEN. THE WORK- SHY GIRLS ARE AT THEIR PEAK BETWEEN THE AGES OF 25-34 WHEN THEY’RE ALMOST 50% MORE LIKELY TO PHONE IN SICK THAN BLOKES.
The UK minimum wage is £5.93 per hour for anyone over 21. In France it is 8.86 Euros, which is almost £8 at today’s pathetic exchange rate
Words: Toby Leigh