Why I Fired Myself Before I Got Fired By Somebody Else

Last week, I did the craziest thing an ambitious 28-year-old could. I quit (no, I fired myself from) my Fortune 50, high-paying job with great benefits without having another official job lined up.

Some have called this a corporate suicide. Others applauded and secretly envied my audacity to pursue my calling in life. 

The truth is, I felt like a mindless zombie at work, drowning in the currents of purposelessness. Every day was a daily grind where I felt I was consigned to monotonous, set of thankless tasks. For the last several years, I asked myself, “Was this what work amounted to?” “How I can work under a toxic environment where my strengths were under-utilized?” “Why did God put me here?” “Should I quit my job?”

Over the last four years, I experienced an epiphany, a paradigm shift that completely transformed my outlook in life. Like others I was a driven, ambitious youngster hustling to climb the corporate ladder, vying to make it into the elite echelons of the C-suite society.

However, God started to inject His truth in my life. He started to correct my perspective. In fact, it felt as if scales fell from my eyes. I began to grow in discernment and started to uncover my true self.

For a majority of my life, I lived under my false self and experienced the devastating effects of self-hate. In Brennan Manning’s “A Glimpse of Jesus”, he describes false self as “the dominant malaise crippling Christian people and stifling their growth in the Holy Spirit.” All of us have grown up with cultural biases and parental pressures that constantly bombard us with messages like we’re not good enough, smart enough, or disciplined enough to acquire the virtues that would make us what we think we ought to be, torturing us spiritually and emotionally with “intense feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, and self-punishment.”

The outcome is a pernicious one: a debilitating, unhealthy, and negative self-image.

The false self deceives us by living a life of constant comparison. Instead of looking within, we are looking outside.  We have bought into the lie of finding joy in external matters such as wearing the latest fashion, getting the next promotion, buy that new car, or even on our spouse’s and children’s success.

The false self stands in complete opposition to the biblical idea of being made in the image of God as His workmanship. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” It is a beautiful thing to know that we are knownknown by our very Father, Creator, and Author in life.

As someone who wrestled with “inferiority complex” in my formative years, living with my false-self resulted in a life devoid of meaning and joy.

The more I grew in intimacy with God, the more I discovered my unique wiring, talents, and desires. It was a spiritual DNA God imprinted since my birth.

Over the last few months, I felt an inner prompting in my heart. It felt as if God was whispering, “Paul, will you continue to live in a place of complacency? Are you not going to SOAR when I created you to be an eagle? Will you choose me or the world?”

I am reminded of the scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice comes at a crossroads. The Cheshire cat asks, “Where are you going?” Alice responds, “Which way should I go?” The cat then says, “That depends on where you are going.” Alice confess she doesn’t know. The cat says “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

I may not know all the paths God may leading me in my life, but I know what my final destination looks like – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That’s why I fired myself from this job because following His calling is incomparably better.

Whatever it takes, choose His calling. It will make all the difference.

  • Awesome Paul, this so resonates with me and I have been facing the similar challenge. The feeling of unfulfillment can derail our dreams. Many of whom would rather ignore God’s whispers for us to soar. We were made for more and once we figure out our gifts and calling, only the courageous will build their wings after they jump. Keep on inspiring and flying!

  • drjimharris

    I did exactly the same thing – left a Fortune 500 corporate management job to launch my consulting business AND got married the same time. My new wife gave me 18-months to try this new thing until I had to get another “real” job. It’s now been 22 years and she still likes to smile and say, “You’ve still got 18 months!” God will richly bless your faithfulness and your step of courage. Let me know anything I can do to help you along the way my friend. Welcome to the BEST work world!

  • Paul, thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us! I’ve also struggled with self hate and the delusion of what true success looks like. I know my calling, but still feel like I’m figuring out the path. Which makes the Alice in Wonderland quote so powerful, because I think I’ve been trying to find the “right” path to get where I know I need to go.

    Praying continued success for you in this transition!

  • Patricia Edwards

    Paul, I always enjoy your articles but this one really resonated with me because I am on a sabbatical from my 25+ year career as HR exec of Fortune 500 companies to pursue my calling to help job seekers design more strategic job searches. I commend you for your courage at such a young age and know God will continue to lead you to inspire leaders.

  • Steve Brimmer

    Paul, I wish you all the best in your new future. I have a feeling great things lie ahead for you. Eight years ago, after 28 years of being a lead pastor, I fired myself – although I wasn’t clever enough to call it that at the time. My decision wasn’t followed by instant success but I have no regrets. I applaud your courage and the inspiration you are to others.

  • Larry Noel

    Paul, I did this 4 1/2 years ago as a 28 year veteran of full-time pastoral staffing. At the last church we decided it was time for change and left a good position at a solid church to seek God’s will. We were “de-churched”, as I call it, for 2 years. We attended but didn’t serve in a church. It was scary and frustrating at times because I thought we would have clear direction when we made the step of faith. While we waited and wondered what was next, it seemed as though we were cleansed from what was and liberated to experience God’s plans. 2 years later we realized God was calling us to plant a new church in a nearby town. It has been the most exciting and meaningful experience of our lives. It just seems there is so much more clarity when we live by faith, not by fear. Comfort can never compete with adventure.

  • Stefani

    GO PAUL!!!! You are clearly on a new mission!

  • Bold move Paul – Looking forward as you continue to share your new adventure. it is amazing how things start to fall in place when we put God first.

  • Paul,
    Congratulations and blessings. Proverbs 3:5-6 to you.

  • Shazia

    It’s about time….. I can just imagin you going through the positive excitement that I felt when I walked out of there 2 years ago. Good luck on your new adventures.

  • You’ve gone from an expendable cog caught up in a meaningless machine-like system to a catalytic leader who lays down his life for Him and those He died for. Well done, Paul. I admire your faithfulness to relentlessly pursue Him.

  • Paul, I did the same thing 14 years ago when I left a stable, good paying career in the medical field and entered full-time ministry. It’s scary. There is so much that is unknown. But I’ll tell you this. I’ve been on the other side for a while now and I’m excited for you. Stay strong and focused and God will use you in ways you’ve never imagined. Great post!

  • I totally admire you Paul. Because a few years ago I didn’t have the courage to do what you did, and Corporate America fired me instead of the other way around. However, they didn’t have the last laugh and it’s not over. You follow your God-given purpose and do it NOW because we don’t have time to allow our message to die in us.

  • Paul, this sounds a lot like my story when I quit my job about 7 months ago to become self-employed. This is a seriously challenging time (for both of us). It will be really difficult–more than I can ever describe in words–but it will be worth it. As you know, times of growth almost always hurt–and now you are doing some serious growing. The most important thing in this is that you are not remotely alone–you are listening to God’s calling.

  • Congratulations Paul! Your move shows incredible courage and faith in the amazing plan that God has called you to. I can’t wait to see where he takes you next!

  • Damien Williams

    Simply beautiful. It’s difficult to leave a steady job. I respect and admire all those who do. I will be doing the same very shortly. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

  • As I read your post, I began to wonder if you really quit your job on the spot.

    When I read your bio, I began to realize, quitting seemed to be part of your plan?


  • Steven Baerg

    I currently have responsibilities i must maintain but I am working toward building my exit. My current job is not entirely pointless just limited, restrictive and not fully open to sharing the true source of everything better…my job is actually not a bad start but I definitely don’t want to stay stuck. Thanx for the inspiration and may God richly bless you and your future!

  • My husband and I did not leave a corporate job but after 20 years with an airline with great benefits we walked away to serve the Lord in full time ministry. Then a few after that we left that great ministry to serve overseas with a faith based mission. Each step of scary but exciting and at 68 and serving in two third world countries and now serving stateside still with our mission we can say we would not change a things we did. WE tell folks this is not for everyone for we respect those who work and retire at the same company. At this point we do not see retirement in the picture but health at our age can change that. All the rough place were only stepping stones to grow us and get us ready for the next phase God had for us. Encouraging to read…go for it…

  • I pray this inspires so many people to trust their futures with God and to step out into the adventure waiting for them…such a huge respect for your journey, Paul. You motivate people like me to keep pressing forward and to let God do the rest!

  • Kevin Hall


    Thank you for sharing your story and for the motivation to do the very same thing. Have faith like a mustard seed! I hope your journey is peaceful, and I pray for your strength as well as the others in this post and in life to keep going and take a step of faith. Blessings to all…


    I feel like I have had a shelf life at every job I have worked at through my adult life. I get a good job that pays well, has good benefits, etc and I am productive and successful most often to the point that one of the best if not the best employees at said workplace. Ultimately though after 2-3 years I either grow tired of working there or my employer gets tired of me or both and I want to separate from said workplace. I have explored ministry in the Church, I have also contemplated the monastic life. Even in my current job I have been wildly successful and have made more money than I ever had elsewhere but certain people do not like me personally and because of that it seems like they would be fine letting me go even if it hurts their business.