How To… Quit Your Corporate Job & Survive Comfortably in Denver, Colorado


Kirsten & Steve hiking Lookout Mountain. Denverspeax, 2015.

We totally get it. You took a job that would not only get you here, but allow you to STAY here. And, why wouldn’t you? Denver is a beautiful place full of growth and opportunity. Hell, it’s #4 on Forbes’ Best Places for Businesses and Careers.

Sometimes staring at the mountains from a cubicle located on the 23rd floor of some fancy building downtown isn’t enough (damn Millenials, amiright?). Sometimes the toll a job takes on your heart, mind, body, and soul isn’t worth whatever ridiculous amount its paying, and you simply need to take a break from that lifestyle.

Like we said – we get it. And, almost three months ago, Steve did it.

To show appreciation for 7 years with “the bank”, Steve was sent a $10 gift card via over-night delivery that cost more than the $10 gift card. This was one of the many clues  that he would need to get out of that place,… but where do you go after 7 years in the finance industry when you can’t really stand finance? That’s what taking time away is all about – figuring that out.

STEP 1: Figure out what gets you going. Don’t quit one shitty job for another one. Figure out what you’re passionate about. For example, do you want to own your own business? Imagine what that business would look like. Write up some goals, and OBSESS over them. Tell yourself things like, “By December, I will own my own company”, and get REALLY detailed about it. What does your company do, and what’s the mission? What role will you play in your company, and how will you organize it? Envision your success down to each and every little detail, and make it happen. If you want something badly enough, nothing will stop you.

STEP 2: Figure out a way to make cash in the meantime. If you have a valid driver’s license (within Colorado for a year), a car that’s within a certain age range (check out the sites specifically), and a smartphone, sign up to drive for Uber and Lyft.
uberUber and Lyft are driver applications that allow you to use your own car (once clearing inspection and medical examination) as a taxi service. Of each customer’s fare, you receive a cut (roughly 70%) plus any tip (100%) received. Everything is done electronically through the app, so there’s no cash handling. If you go this route, download both. Yes, BOTH. lyft stashYou can utilize both apps to stay continuously busy – when one is slow, switch over to the other. Keep in mind that there are definitely different times of the day that you will make more money than other times, and to be conscious of that so you’re able to spend your time wisely. Oh, driving is slow in the afternoon? Cool – pack up and go for a hike for a few hours. Work on that screen printing project you always put aside when you had your corporate job. Use this time to do Step #1. Also, this is a 1099 job, meaning you need to be able to keep track of all of your mileage and expenses (like, car repairs). The cool thing about that is once you sign up, your car repairs are now tax deductible as your car is your office. Lastly, and one of the best things, both companies pay weekly (via direct deposit into your bank account). Look into it more on their websites by clicking on the pictures.

Check out who is hiring for catering deliveries. Again, your car becomes your office, so it is important to track all mileage and repair expenses for tax purposes. A lot of places that offer catering, such as Qdoba Mexican Grill, offer a pay structure similar to this: minimum wage per hour, an additional “bonus” per delivery (Qdoba’s is $15 per delivery), plus whatever tip from qdoba cateringthe catering customer. So what does this entail? Catering deliveries often means taking food to an office or grad party or some similar event and setting it up for the customer. Make sure you’re in the right place, at the right time, with the correct order, and the customer is happy. Where you really make money is by completing a few deliveries per day – maybe 3 or 4 within a few hours’ timespan. Great thing about catering is that the hours are pretty confined to lunch and sometimes dinner.

Steve has been working combinations of driving and catering during the weekdays, mostly – he drives in the morning, delivers catering in the afternoon, and then drives in the evening if it’s not slow. He also takes note of “peak times” to ensure that he’s making more money per hour. During slow times, he catches lunch or dinner, takes a break to hang out with the dog, run errands, set up appointments, work out, learn new things, go outside, etc.

STEP 3: Network, network, network. Find those people that you admire, or are jealous of their job, and pick their brains. What do they do that they love so much? Is there someone doing what you want to be doing? How did they get to where they are? Who can they connect you with? How can they help you succeed in locating your dream job or dream situation?

STEP 4: Cut spending & simplify your living. If you don’t have a guaranteed income, there’s a good reason to be more conscious of your spending and “cut the fat”. Here are some easy ways to do this:

  • Cancel cable, throw your neighbor $20 / month to share internet, and have Netflix (roughly $12/month) stream.
  • Need local channels? Buy an antenna – you can get a good one for around $30 or less on Amazon.
  • If you go out, always drink water and ask for a box to split your one meal into two meals.
  • Use a debit card at a grocery store to get cash back instead of paying ATM fees.
  • Ween your way off of coffee, and treat yourself to it instead once every week or 2. (P.S. Water gives you more energy.)
  • It’s Summer! Go outside! Hike a 14er. Camp. Run. Ride your bike.
  • Find free events to go to – check out our event calendar for more ideas.
  • Buy a 6 pack and go to a friend’s house, or a park, instead of the bar.
  • Ask your yoga place if you can clean the studio for free yoga in return (or a discounted rate).
  • Check out movies, books, audio books from the library.
  • De-clutter your place, and donate. You’ll feel good and the tax write off is great.
  • Buy fruits and veggies that are in season as they’ll be less expensive.
  • Buy fresh produce from the many Farmer’s Markets that pop up all over town on the weekends. Or, if you can, grow your own!

Isn’t it comforting to know that there’s definitely a way to do it? To finally break free of the cubicle farm and do your own thing? You can totally do it. We’ll be here for you if you have questions. 🙂

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5 thoughts on “How To… Quit Your Corporate Job & Survive Comfortably in Denver, Colorado

  1. K , very nice summation of what Steve is up to for a measured amount of time to create that special dream. I applaud both of you for supporting this idea but and I know you know this it is also your “corporate world job” that is allowing you both to work on a possible entrepreneurial idea. You spelled out very well on what needs to happen in order to launch a potential new self created career. I wish you both all the success and let your mom & me know how we can support your efforts.
    Love Tom/Dad

    • Thanks, TD! We’re having a blast on this wild ride and have learned so much about where we can cut costs and still have a blast doing the things we like to do! You guys are the best parents any kid could ever ask for. Thanks for all of your love and wonderful support.

  2. Spend less money, have more fun. “Need” fewer things, need fewer hours slaving for the man. It really is that rad.

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