They let me work remotely almost 100% of the time, which was nice.

But then there was the toxicity.

“You were at 80% of quota last month and this month it’s even less,” my manager informed me over our video call. “You’ll have to make that up before the end of the year, or else we’ll be having a different conversation soon. Consider this a warning.”

They had already taken away our paid time off. The company was small, less than a dozen people, and they were having revenue problems. I understood the situation; it was an agency that relied on selling a service to clients. I was in a recruiting role that was essentially a sales job, and I had a quota number I was required to hit. I wasn’t hitting it and hadn’t been for a while. 

But to take away our paid time off? Then try to instill fear in us by issuing “warnings”?

I had stopped trying months earlier and was secretly searching for another job. My role in agency staffing wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. I was tired of having two managers and a company owner who acted like this was a football team. 

The thinking went like this: taking away our time off would crank up the pressure and give us something to strive for, besides just our commission checks. 

Now, they had something to dangle in front of us, like a ball of yarn in front of an eager cat. We could win back time with our families at Christmas, but only if we hit arduous metrics they had devised for us.

So I left.

I was—and still am—very lucky. With my wife’s income, we wouldn’t starve, and this made me more courageous, more daring. My conversation with the owner of the company was such that they had no choice but to let me go. I wasn’t a team player. I wasn’t on board with “the changes coming down the pipeline.” So, I made it clear they would have to terminate me, because my goals were no longer aligned with those of management.

“I’ll make this easy for you, Rich,” the owner of the company told me, “I’ll even cut you an extra paycheck, if you don’t talk to anyone else on the team, and if you post nothing online about your experience here.”


After a month of job searching, I decided to quit that, too. Instead, I started a freelancing business in an area I feel passionate about. For almost fifteen years, I’ve been writing and self-publishing novels and have racked up thousands of positive reviews from readers who have purchased my work. 

I want to share what I know. I want to help other writers with less experience. Maybe I could even make a living doing it. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I wouldn’t even need to retire. I’ll help writers for the rest of my life and thank my lucky stars for the opportunity.

So how are things going since I started my business three months ago?

So far, so good.

I’ve had a few clients, but not the overwhelming response I had hoped for. That’s OK. Advertising can get expensive, but once I have a steady income, I’ll be able to invest more into the business. My new novel comes out in a month, and if that one does well, it’ll only help me with credibility.

Yes, money is tight in our household. I’m no longer looking to do what I was doing before. I don’t want to sell someone else’s product or service and be given “warnings” every time I have a low month. 

I get it. Managers have quotas they have to hit, too. I guess I can’t blame them for trying.

But now I’m my own boss.

I call the shots. I own my client list, my relationships, my wins and losses. I provide a high-quality service because I identify as a high-quality writer, editor, and consultant, not because I’m afraid some middle manager is going to fire me.

You know what? Now, I have zero paid time off. Joke’s on me, I guess. And yet, I’ve never been happier.