T Nation

Employment vs . . .


I've seen how the "advice" threads have run in the past, so understand I'm a but hesitant to post this. But fuck it, here goes.

I have two options.

Option A, quit my current job, go full-time personal training. I am damn good at it, and know I will be successful with it.
Option B, stay at current job, continue being miserable, continue going literally crazy. As in, getting hives thinking about work, stress headaches, stomach cramps from anger, and sleep loss.

Damn, seeing that side by side, it's hard not to leave now.

Actually, as Wolbarret knows, I had been about to leave here over 6 months ago. But, family tragedy struck, and it was in my best interest to stay.
In dealing with the fallout from the loss of a loved one, I liquidated my assets and spent every penny I had saved over the last year aiding their survivor. So, here I am.

Now, I'm not bitter over the choices I've made. I know I'm at this place in my life because I choose to be.

My question, T-Nation, is simple. Would you say the more intelligent survival option is:

Strike out on my own, without three months of living money, and get the business fully operational, or

Stay at job which pays well, but is adversly affecting my mental and physical health, while [i]slowly[\i] rebuilding fiscal resources, and moving at a snail's pace establishing my training enterprise?

I've made my decision; I am interested, though, to see if it's a decision leading to self-destruction, or actualization.


given a choice between possible happiness or definite misery...which would you choose?


I think it would be wise to establish a little financial security before switching jobs like that incase the PT thing doesn't generate much income right out of the gate, but yah, I'd make the switch given those conditions.

Good luck man.


I personally would try to get a month or two of living expenses saved up, but only if it didn't take 6-12 months to do so. If it's giving you that much stress, then struggling financially would seem to be an easier pill to swallow.

Hopefully someone who's been in the situation and succeeded chimes in, as the advice of people who've never done this should be taken with a grain of salt.

Best of luck to you.


Vash we are in a similar boat.

My wife hates her job, but the pay is decent and good benefits. The commute is awful too.

She is certified as a fitness chef, but it will take a while to build that up.

We could afford for her to quit and start this business up, but we would be very tight on money along with no possibility for saving for a house.

At this point in our lives, it's just not a wise financial decision.

Being happy with what you do is a great thing, but being financially secure is a wonderful feeling as well.


If you need any promotional materials or branding let me know at this point I'll work for free just to build up my portfolio and references, though donations are appreciated :slight_smile:

Send me a PM if you want to see my work.

Oh right advice: Get at least a few stable clients and promotional materials made or even distributed before leaving job.


Damn I can't edit because of probation and I don't know when it'll post but:

A friend of mine just left his miserable job to start up a small sales company. He believed he had contacts and business in place. It took them (him and his partner) about 3 months to get promotional materials made, a simple website up, and distribute it. Even then he got very little work. Finally he started publishing some articles to online journals in the field and is starting to get calls.


Don't keep doing a job you hate. Don't. You'll regret the hell out of it for the rest of your career


Basically if you were to quit your job and go full time personal training you would lose everything you have. It takes a very long time to build up loyal clients, and even longer to fill up your schedule to the point where you'd be full time.

I've been training at this new gym for about 7 months? (it is a 1 on 1 studio though, so that makes it a little bit tougher) I have been able to secure about 20 training hours a week, and in an interest of making as much money as possible I had to pick up some of the desk hours inbetween my clients. I want to be full time, and there are trainers that have 40 hours a week, but it's tough. And yes, I've been marketing the shit outa myself. :frowning:

My advice to you is lie to your current job, tell them you need to cut back hours for whatever reason. Find a job training and build up a few clients. While you accumulate both of those incomes it should make it a little bit easier to make the transition, not to mention you'll already have clients. Also, get cards and carry them on you at all times. Make sure to bend over backwards for your clients, because 80 percent of your business will be coming through word of mouth.

At the end of the day, you should do what makes you happy. But are you going to be happy when your lights get shut off, you lose your car, etc. etc.?

Best of luck buddy, hope this helped.


Choice A. If things don't work out, it's easy to revert back to misery.


kind of funny how an article on "How to become a personal trainer" was just released. I would go for the PT, man. However, I would follow DTP's advice. Get some clients lined up, and get a decent reputation, and continue to think about how you can screw over your current job until you leave, and then do ALL OF THE THOUGHTS. (besides killing people, that causes problems for Trainers as well).


I'm currently living option B right now, but have been able to change things enough so the physical effects of working in a job I hate aren't an issue anymore. I'm socking away the $$ so in another 6 months I'll be able to make that transition to something I really want to be doing without putting myself in the hole or ending up with stress headaches, losing sleep, etc. over financial insecurity. Personally, that'll stress me out as bad or worse than this job.

Any chance you can improve things at your present job a bit and start your training business on the side? Even if you're not making a living at it if you're working on it, spending time getting the foundation built that may be enough to make the other job bearable for a while longer. It's working for me. Yeah, it's hard because the more you work on something you love the more you wish you could do it full time, but for me it's better than the alternative.

But, as others have said, if you can't take it anymore you're better off to go for option A. I've got a family so that's the main reason why I'm taking option B. If I were single, I'd go for A.


I would wait on the whole quitting thing. A lot of people are struggling right now and are cutting down on luxuries like "Personal Trainers", so that may be a difficult career to start right now.

But in the mean time don't continue being miserable. You can't change your job so don't focus on your job, focus on you. What about yourself is allowing your job to drive you crazy. Happinness is not something you find, it's a decision you make day in and day out. Given our individual circumstances choosing to be happy is harder for some than others, but despite any circumstance that you are in, you have the choice in deciding how you allow it to affect you mentally.

I'm still working on this myself, but I met someone in the military who was like this and he was one of the only guys I can say I have ever looked up to. Always happy, always had nice things to say, very straight forward, the glass is half full type of a guy and even if it's not half full it will get there eventually, even despite the shit storm that surrounded us at times. This is something that takes practice, but there's no better time to practice then when you are most miserable. It's easy being happy when things are going your way, but if you learn to be happy when things are at their worst, imagine how much more fulfilling your life will be when they eventually get better.

just food for thought


Even if you can't cut your hours back at the current job, can you go straight to a gym and work the 5 pm to 9 pm shift? My gym is downtown so it caters to working people. The trainers are busiest after work. Some gyms cater to housewives so daytime hours are best. I think it'd be a great idea to keep the crappy job for the money and start working your PT stuff on the side. Do the marketing as suggested above, start to get clients and you'll be up and running before you know it. My trainer started last summer, brand new to our gym, and within 4 months he was booked solid with clients from 5 to 9, 5 nights a week. He never worked weekends because he chose not to but if your job is a typical 9 to 5er maybe you could work the weekends too. Anything (especially a dream) is worth pursuing and worth the sacrifice. I've worked 3 jobs at one time to get what I wanted. I'm excited for you! I know you can make this work!


As the self proclaimed voice of reason on these boards (I just made that up) I feel compelled to tell you that working your dream job (in this case, personal training) gets real old if you can't pay the bills.


This is a good thought, but I disagree on the grounds that the people that are unemployed probably wouldn't have purchased training anyhow.


Shush yourself there voice of reason. I think I gave a well reasoned out idea for starting up the dream job while still being able to pay the bills.


How so?? My current job is laying off people. A LOT of people. They don't lay them off depending on their fitness level, they lay off in order of seniority. THe newest people are the first to go, the people with the most time in stay. No ifs ands or butts... Boeing has laid off thousands, cities all over america are laying off city workers left and right, my sister worked for a very profitable stock marketing firm, when the stocks crashed so did the company and EVERYONE was layed off and the company went under. And a lot of employees who haven't been laid off are struggly more than normal, because their investments all went to shit, stocks are down, realestate is down, everyone is looking for ways to save money.


Well damn. Thanks for all the positivety and useful input! Means a lot, especially right now.

I'm posting from my iTouch at the moment, but I will respond to individual posts when I get home, as ell as issue a ton of PMs.

I've been "laying the groundwork" for this since March of last year. I have a fully functional website/blog, professionally done logo, brochures, business cards, tee shirts, polos and uniform-styled track pants. Also have an ass-ton of fliers designed. Hell, just acquired my first client about a three weeks ago.

The primary reason, well, aside from the money, for not already being at a business-sustining volume is the amount of time I've spent out of town. Literally every day I've had off since January has seen me 100 miles away at my grandmother's home, my old home. I just recently had to explain in no uncertain terms how important it was to be at my current home for a while, to get the biz going. An unavoidable situation, really.

I am in the process of establishing network ties with local "feel-good" and "hotness" businesses, such as massage and chiro clinics, as well as the tanning salons and upscale women's hair stylists. And since my city is often times host to movie-makers using us as a double of LA, I'm talking to the local super-hotel about being the preferred training service for their mid-length stay clients who need early- and late-bird fitness on a schedule, not a budget.

Since after this wedding I'll be around for a while, I can make the networking happen on just a few days of vacation . . . for which I have to lie, fake doctor's notes, et fucking all.

Please keep the responses coming, as I am interested in everyone's input! But please, let's stay on-topic and constructive, whether you feel A or B would be the better choice.


Pretty much looks like you got your shit together with the groundwork...obviosuly that is a great idea. It's just like a robbery and your an inside man...you don't quit and then rob...you lay all the groundwork and make everything damn near perfect, and then BAM you explode lol. That wasn't the best analogy but you get the point.

If you can work your full job and do some of it on the side (10 hrs per week nightly?) Try to get things on weekends (if you don't work weekends)...looks like you know what is going on...just keep the job for a while more, suffer for a bit more and then do your thing. Best of luck, maybe you'll start a huge fitness empire and make millions!