September 27

How I Left My Old Job To Open A Gym (“super_post”)


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I started writing this post on a rainy Monday morning, and finished it on a chilly Tuesday just after breakfast. It brought back a lot of rough memories. And some good ones too.

I remember getting the bus to work on days like this when I was a trainee accountant. The alarm would go off on Monday morning, I’d rack my brains and try to come up with some sort of excuse as to why I couldn’t go in this week, but eventually I’d resign myself to the fact I couldn’t get out of it, and drag myself out of bed.

Of  course, by then, I was already late – so next was a frantic grab for a fresh shirt, clean suit and a tie that at least LOOKED like I cared. Sometimes, if I was feeling fancy I might have polished my shoes over the weekend. But for the most part I hated what I was doing so much and didn’t give the slightest shit, that often the shoes remained scuffed for weeks on end.

Apathy is pervasive. It was infecting every single area of my life. I was overweight because I was eating shit, I was going out too much to try and escape a job I didn’t like, and buying shit i didn’t need just to try and fill a void that I didn’t even know existed.

The tipping point was when I was denied time off to go to one of my oldest friends weddings in the states. That should have been it – I should have walked out the door at that stage, but I didn’t. I had “too much to lose”. Hah. I regret that moment to this day.

So I suffered thru another couple of years until my contracted ended, but I’d already mentally checked out that fateful day before Christmas.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to do other than to put up with it. I didn’t realise at the time I had other options. I didn’t HAVE to work a desk job to be successful. Hell, I didn’t even know what success was other than the idea of a nice car and a corner office.

The biggest fear I had was not knowing what came next.

Like you could quit your job tomorrow, but what happens then – how do you put food on the table, and what about the gap in the CV? How do you explain that exit to a future employer. Is it going to absolutely cripple your future?!

Worse than that tho – what do you tell your friends and family? What do you tell your PARENTS when you’ve left your perfect job which has set you up for a career in a respected and safe industry? How the hell do you justify leaving for the unknown.

I was lucky – we had a hard end date to our  contracts. Otherwise, I might still be there buried under a pile of folders making NO difference in anyones life. Miserably going thru the motions, waiting for the weekend and the last Friday of the month so I could see the temporary uptick in my bank balance. The golden handcuffs.

I wish I knew then what I know now – that there is a way out, an exit strategy, the ability to get on with your life doing something you love, making a meaningful difference. Walking out of work energised, charged and ready to go and spend QUALITY time with your partner and family, rather than collapse into the couch and wait for it to start all over again.

The first step is to believe you can.

The second is to come along on Wednesday 29th September 2016 to a workshop my beautiful girlfriend Sarah, from The Better Life Project, is running on how to change your career.

She’s done it too – she used to work as a project manager for a major Irish University before striking out on her own to start a life coaching business. But the Career Clinic isn’t just for entrepreneurs. It’s for anyone who’s unhappy in their current role and wants to do something where they feel more valued – like they’re making a contribution.

She’ll show you her potent 4 step process which she’s used with many clients on the hunt for a change.

#1 – HOW TO BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE …so you can actually do it. Because believe it or not, it’s your limiting beliefs that are the biggest problem.

#2 – HOW TO CREATE AN EXIT STRATEGY FROM YOUR CURRENT JOB …by carrying out a personal SWOT analysis and deep dive into your values and goals so you can select a path that matches your values.

#3 – HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR FEAR …and deal with judgement, what happens if you fail, and how you can become an unstoppable force of nature in whatever career you choose.

#4HOW TO FINANCIALLY PREPARE …because you gotta eat! Learn practical tips on how to budget and prepare for the unknowns of life during change 🙂

The average person spends 90,000 hours of their life at work.

3,750 days.

Over 10 years continuously.

…and many more thinking about it and being stressed by it.

Don’t do that to yourself.

At just €50 for one of the last couple of tickets it’s a small investment to make in getting clarity, confidence and a brighter future.

And since the ticket is bought via paypal, you can use your credit card if you’re waiting for that pay cheque to clear!

Go here now to get your ticket:

Life’s too short to be doing things you hate.

Sarah @ WK Fitness, Dingle

Yesterday I started writing about how I left my “real” job to chase a dream and do something I thought I had no right to do.

(…and got reminded by a certain WR of the leaving email I sent to my colleagues which resulted in HR banning all future leaving mails – I’ve enclosed a copy below!!)

Friends and family thought I was crazy. I’d spent 4 years in college and over 3 and half years working to get where I was and was just about to crack into the REAL big bucks.

But it wasn’t enough. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to spent the next 15-20 years being first in and last out for promise of some day MAYBE getting a partner or director post and the €100+k salary that goes along with it.

I wasn’t adverse to long hours, but I hated the lack of freedom. I dreaded the idea that some day I was going to get married, have kids and NEVER see them (…except for maybe on weekends, when I’d prolly be too wrecked to have fun anyway).

So I committed to knowing my “non-negotiables”, things I wanted from a future career that I wouldn’t compromise on (freedom was one), career must haves (the ability to earn a good living at some point in the future), and the environment I wanted to work in (people based).

It was scary at the time because I didn’t know a model for that already existed. I kinda just figured it out as I went along. Hell, even a few weeks ago I still didn’t know that sort of plan existed until Sarah started showing me the slides for The Better Life Project’s Career Clinic.

I wasted literally thousands of euro figuring it out, but worse than that I wasted years of my life trying to make sense of it. I’ll never get those back. I can’t tell you how much of a difference clarity would have made to me back then.

It might not have made the process FASTER, but it would have made it easier.

Please don’t make the same mistake I did. If you’re struggling in your career, or you need a helping hand – come along to The Better Life Project Career Clinic tomorrow evening in The Skylon Hotel in Dublin.

I’ll be there telling you more about my story too.

There’s just 2 tickets left.

Get 1 (..or both of them?) here now:

TL;DR – don’t waste years of your life trying to figure out what you want to do when there’s a 3 hour workshop for €16.67 per hour that will get you there instead.

2 tickets left here:


The following email and stories are based on actual events. Only the names, locations and events have been changed.

Hi all,

Good evening, I’m James Hanley and here’s what’s happening in my world today. After a glorious 3 years and 7 months as part of the BDO news audit team, the time has come to move on. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and as cliché as it is, it’s only on leaving that you truly appreciate the place. As a young college graduate, after strapping on the suit and tie for the first time, you could say I looked in the mirror and thought “I immediately regret this decision”. But with the support of my incredible intake, I managed to survive my time here.

I want to thank the original BAAS 5 management team, Teresa, Regina, Grainne, Maureen and Maria Mc for getting me started on the right path, and thank you to all of the other managers I’ve worked for, and more recently, to Hugh and Myles who have taken up the mantle to be the team’s lead anchors, and while I’m sure at some point, everyone has said “I hate you James Hanley, I hate you”, every now and again, don’t act like you weren’t impressed.

 Now, the important stuff – The people….  I’ve made some great life long friends here and really am in a glass cubicle of emotion right now at the thought of leaving. The intake weekends away and random nights out will never be forgotten. Or, at least I won’t forget anything I don’t already remember.

 I need to thank the fantastic support staff – the wonderful PAs who keep the place going, HR for not making an issue of my many indiscretions, finance for always making sure I got my money, Richard and Vanessa in IT for giving me facebook and gmail access so I could waste my days away (I kid, I kid) and to Derek and Tom in facilities for all their hard work. Thank you to the lovely ladies in reception for all their help, and to the vending machine guy for keeping it well stocked with Yorkies. A notable mention must go out to the various characters around the building who have provided some much needed distraction and laughs over the years too.

 I want to leave two pearls of wisdom behind me which the more junior members of the teams around the building may find helpful. Founded in 1982, nobody really know what BDO means, some people say it means Binder Dijker Otte & Co. But scholars maintain the translation was lost hundreds of years ago. And a more practical tidbit , specifically for the audit juniors – chasing bank letters, 60% of the time, it works every time.

 So what’s next for me? Well there’s literally thousands of other jobs I could do, but I’m 72% sure I don’t love audit.  I’ve an FAE paper left  to sit, so plan on smashing that out of the park at the end of the summer.

 Between now and then I’ll be doing a lot of study, and unmercifully plugging my website – Anyone unfortunate enough to be friends with me on facebook will already know ALL about it, but the vision I have is for it to be THE place to go to in Ireland for realistic, no bullsh*t, strength, conditioning, injury prevention and fat loss advice. It’s already picked up some international exposure, so it’s moving in the right direction.

 Right now I’m running some bootcamp classes and doing personal training out of a lovely indoor martial arts gym in Glasnevin that’s kitted out with some top of the line equipment and changing rooms w/ showers on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm (and will be moving to 7.30pm and 8.30pm classes on both days instead in the next couple of weeks), with pay as you go Sunday sessions at 11am. So if you know of anyone looking to get in shape for summer, or would like to come along yourself, please pass on my information or get in touch. I promise they won’t be disappointed with the results. You can find out more here; [old linky poo no longer works]

 But that’s enough pitching for now, so for one last night, let’s not be co-workers, let’s be co-people. I’m gonna put it out there, if you like it you can take it, if you don’t, send it right back. I want you to come to Bia Bar. I’ll be there from 5.30pm tomorrow (Friday) and would love if you could come along (either to celebrate my leaving, or mourn my departure – it’s really up to you).

 You stay classy, BDO.
I’m James Hanley?

…and perhaps I should have warned you at the start, if you haven’t seen Anchorman, most of this email may be lost on you!!!



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