Rebel Replies: How can I communicate with my family about leaving the world of 9-5 work?

Julia Davies is a life and business coach based in Worthing, Sussex. In a broken society that rewards toxic productivity and hustle, Julia is a quiet rebel. She believes instead in putting health and happiness at the heart of our life and business. She supports women who dare to forge their own path in life and business.

Here, she answers your questions on life and business when you are self-employed, from the perspective of a quiet rebel. Today’s question is from an introvert who is thinking of leaving the 9-5 and needs tips on communicating with family about her needs:

One of my biggest hurdles is communicating what I want to do to others, especially my husband. He has a massive fear of change and believes the only valid job route is a standard 9-5. I’ve tried talking to him about my goals over the years, but the conversations always end in an argument. Unfortunately, I’m an “avoid conflict at all costs” kinda person (something I need to work on) and so this causes me to never bring it up. I keep plugging away at the type of life that makes me unhappy because I don’t want to face another disappointing conversation. I think I also use this as a bit of crutch to keep me stuck, but also, it’s hard to move forward with something when you don’t feel any support from the closest person to you.

It’s also hard to convince my husband that doing something totally different is a “smart” decision because I do have what most would consider a good job. It’s decent money, insurance, work-from-home, and a really great company. I know he’s also afraid of what his family would think if I was leaving the 9-5 just to work for myself doing something unproven that they would all consider woo-woo (for lack of a better term). I’m not afraid of what his family thinks, and my family would be absolutely supportive of me no matter what. But this is a big deal to my husband and impacts how he feels, so I try to understand that.

The other piece of the puzzle is that I don’t want to just steamroll him by saying “I’m doing whatever I want”. I do realize that we are partners and that means I can’t make decisions in a vacuum. What we do affects the other, and I try to be cognizant of that. But at what point do I have to take a stand for what I want to do and what makes me happy?

Firstly, a huge well done for being courageous enough to say out loud that what you currently have isn’t right for you. It doesn’t seem like a big thing, but you are among the minority. Many people stay in situations for decades that don’t feel right.

That courage will provide you with a great foundation for any future changes you decide to make. I know since you wrote in that you have also started talking on social media about what you believe in – that is a huge courageous step towards what you want. I applaud you for taking that step forward.

Choosing between leaving the 9-5 or staying stuck

This leads me onto my next point. Currently you are continuing to work while you dip your toe into the social media world. I’d like to invite you to continue this thread… what if you don’t actually have to choose between staying or leaving the 9-5. How do you feel about the grey area in between your point of view and that of your husband? How could you gradually build up that proof that your husband’s family would like to see to help them feel more comfortable with it before you take it full time (if you decide that’s what you eventually want)?

I’d also like you to consider this – the worry of your husband regarding what his family will think might in fact be unfounded. Your husband’s thoughts and feelings around this will be contributing to a story around what they might think. What if he is underestimating his family? What if they would in fact be excited for you because they have always wanted to follow their own dreams but not felt brave enough? What else could be true?

Avoiding conflict when leaving the 9-5

Your husband clearly cares for your wellbeing and wants to protect you from other people’s perceived opinions. Those practical points regarding insurance and working from home are also valid points. If those are his main concerns, how can you address those? Is leaving the 9-5 the only option for you? Rather than seeing talking about the situation as a conflict, could you enter a discussion as a team with a shared problem – rather than it being you vs him, it’s both of you vs the problem. Share with him how your current job makes you feel and how you want to feel – ask him what his proposed solution would be.

What else are you avoiding?

You mentioned that you could be using this conflict as a crutch to keep you stuck. If you had the full support of your family, what would you do? Allow yourself to dream! Is this a rather convenient way to keep yourself within your comfort zone? I’m not one to encourage huge leaps out of your comfort zone (as that often results in a boom and bust scenario in which you take a leap and then feel very vulnerable afterwards). Instead I’d encourage gentle but consistent nudges of the edges of your comfort zone to slowly grow what you (and your family) are comfortable with. What small thing could you do this week to nudge the boundaries of your comfort zone? When you are having a wobble and feeling stuck, focus on what leaving the 9-5 will give you.

Staging a quiet rebellion

Being a quiet rebel isn’t about shouting at people telling them they are wrong. Being rebellious doesn’t need to mean you are aggressive. Sometimes rebellion can look like quietly stepping away from something that’s not for you, and taking a step towards a life you’ve chosen intentionally.

You asked “at what point do you have to take a stand for what you want to do?” and the answer is when the pain of the “what-ifs” around what your husband and his family might think becomes less than the pain surrounding being on a path of life that doesn’t feel good to you. The fact that you’re vocalising this issue – and I know you’ve taken steps towards this path now – makes me think that the balance is slowly tipping in favour of choosing YOU.

This isn’t selfish. In fact, choosing you means that you will be able to show up for your family with better energy. Choosing you means you will be able to bring your whole self to your relationships rather than just the parts that meet others’ expectations.

There are some similarities to the last Rebel Reply I wrote so please do also check that out here.


If you’re struggling with this too, here are some questions for you to consider. Maybe you’ll discuss these with a business buddy. Maybe you’ll use them as journal prompts. Or maybe you’ll take the questions on a walk. What matters is spending the time getting clear on your own thoughts, and then taking action. As cheesy as it sounds, nothing will change if you change nothing.

  • What would you do if you had your family’s full support?
  • How can you and your husband approach the issue as a team looking for a shared solution?
  • What changes can you plan to help build the evidence that this is a good move for you?
  • How does the the discomfort you’re feeling now compare with the discomfort of taking steps out of your comfort zone?

If you too are struggling with an issue that keeps niggling at you (maybe you’re also wondering “how can I escape a good job?”) and you’re done with forcing yourself to just get on with it, the Solution Sessions are a perfect way to get it sorted and move on in a way that feels good. Click here to book.

If you’d like to submit a question, sign up to my email “The Rebel Review” where I  regularly share opportunities with my community.

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