How I’ve Learned to Cherish the 9–5 Grind

This week, as plans to move to another country have begun to roll, I’ve realized just how much I’ve enjoyed working at a restaurant these past nine months.

The season is turning; this has allowed me to come to terms with a difficult fact — I’ve been embarrassed for having a 9–5 job.


At the beginning of the pandemic, I told the world (whoever cares) that I was going “all in” in writing.

It’s gone better than I could have possibly imagined, a steady climb with peaks and valleys along the way — yet, shocker, I’m not rolling in a mountain of dough alongside Stephen King, although that sounds like an eerie, dystopian scene that I really don’t want to take part in.

I’m not living in a lighthouse on the coast of Norway, penning my next novel with the twinkling purple and green aurora borealis as my only source of light (this, I’ll gladly take part in).

Gregory Benedikt — the ripped Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote — and I created The Dare to Dream Podcast to document the journey of seeking what lights our souls on fire.

I didn’t want to admit that I’ve failed — I haven’t turned writing into my livelihood as far as a steady income, and that mindset, that I’ve failed because of this, is where I’ve had it all wrong.

Why am I up at 4:30 am to read and write?

Because, I love this life, this pursuit, this adventure; I thought that writing about my 9–5 would somehow impart that the job was my destination, as opposed to a vehicle to get to my desired destination.

It would convey that writing is only a sideshow. Who would trust me then, as someone daring to dream?

I’m now seeing that my job is part of the dream — a vital part — being open to any and all experiences, and never shutting ourselves out from an opportunity to grow.

Keep your 9 to 5, that’s your Toyota Camry,

says Jemal King, the self-proclaimed 9 to 5 Millionaire on an episode of The Model Health Show.

That’s the thing that’s going to pay your bills. But now I need you to dream and I need you to step out there, and I need you to have crazy faith in everything. In the next 100 years, we all going to pass away. So it’s not about the end, don’t worry about the end. It’s about how you’re living your life in between, it’s about getting the full experience of life.

Perhaps eschewing a 9–5 would cause me to do whatever it took to make money writing online.

I also think it would suck the joy out of what I love.

I’m starting to hone in on the type of writer that I want to be, a writer, not just a blogger, churning out story after story seven days a week about topics I have no interest in.

I’ve tried, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with it — in fact it’s quite commendable. I’ve just realized it’s not what I love, and for me it’s not sustainable long-term.

I want to tell stories — of people, places, ideas. I want to write without the pressure; I want to be immersed and absorbed in deep work, research, exploration.

It could take a lifetime to make a living from writing this way, which, undoubtedly, will shine brightest through books (but who knows).

I’m more than okay with that, because I know it will be one hell of an adventure, and the joy of the pursuit will sustain me.

That’s why I get up at 4:30am to write, for that joy, that love for exploring the world through words — that’s the feeling I’m after.

I’ll never stop writing online too, I just want to do it on my terms.

Jemal King is the 9 to 5 Millionaire because he became a millionaire real estate investor while holding down his 9–5 job as a cop.

Being a full-time real estate investor was his dream, his destination — and he got there.

But he kept his job as a cop; he learned from the experience by doing the opposite of what everyone else was doing — he worked out when others ate doughnuts— he studied the market while others watched the same movie over and over in their cars.

He wanted to change his life with financial freedom. That was his destination, and being a cop was the vehicle that would help him get there. He says:

I’m not one of these people out here telling you, quit your job, just step out there on faith, just do it. No, I’m telling you, keep your job and still step out there on faith. Dream again. And when you dream, if your dream makes sense to other people, then go back to sleep and dream again, because that dream ain’t large enough.

I’ve learned so much from working at a restaurant.

I’ve created friendships with amazing human beings; I laugh hard practically every day; I practice patience, and meet people from around the world.

I’m even more productive in my free time, because I have to be.

Holding down a 9–5 is part of the dream, a vehicle to help me get to where I want to go.

I’m going to miss the restaurant job when it’s over, so for now, I’ll cherish where I’m at, and recognize having a job for what it is — a blessing — far from anything to be ashamed of.

Isn’t it amazing how our perspectives change?

When creating Dare to Dream, Greg and I were anti “traditional path.”

Now we’re re-evaluating, taking our respective next steps, adapting. We’re aiming at something, a lifestyle and livelihood that excites us every single day; we just can’t predict how we’ll get there.

Our paths will change, and that’s a good thing, because it means we’re growing.

Take the pressure off.

You don’t have to dive into a career if it’s not what you love just because you’re supposed to.

And I think that’s a message that hasn’t changed; we just want to be fulfilled, right?

If your job makes you happy, if your career gives you purpose, that’s awesome. Stick with it.

But if you aren’t happy, it’s time to think bigger.

Try different things, discover what you enjoy, talk to people, and have fun along the way.

The job doesn’t have to be your destination, but consider what you want your destination to be — a creative pursuit? Financial freedom? Life on a farm on the edge of a forest? Something so insane you’ve been afraid to admit it, even to yourself?

Now’s the time.

Bob and weave, take different vehicles, explore, and cherish every step, for you don’t know how you’ll miss it when it’s over. I’ll look back on this one with the utmost gratitude, for it’s strengthened my spirit and opened my heart.

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