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How to escape the 9-5 workday grind

An empty office with desks and chairs

Depending on your chosen career field, you might spend a lot of time in an office. In fact, you might spend upwards of 40 or 50 hours a week sitting at a desk. If you’re feeling like that lifestyle isn’t the right fit for you, you probably find yourself wondering how to escape the 9-5 grind of most jobs.

Of course, getting out of the traditional work schedule isn’t always easy. And the best way to do it varies among individuals and career fields. Before you quit your full-time job, do your research into which alternative path will suit you best. Consider things like marketable skills, years of experience, and career goals.

There are more people than you might think who have escaped the traditional 9 to five lifestyle. Think about all the digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and freelancers out there! If you’re considering making the change, you might want to chat with someone who’s done the same in your field. Not only will they have good advice for how to transition, but they can also provide support and networking.


A woman works on a laptop outside at a standing desk


Here are a few key things to consider if you’re wondering how to escape 9 to 5:

1. Start a business

Becoming your own boss is a great way to dictate your own hours. Of course, starting a business is easier said than done. And being a manager certainly isn’t for everyone. However, if you’ve always dreamed of launching a startup, or have an idea for the next big thing, starting a business might be an exciting option.


2. Become a freelancer

Depending on your career field, connections, and financial stability, freelancing is another good option. In fact, freelancing is one of the most common ways people escape traditional office jobs. As a freelancer you’re likely to set your own hours and have geographic flexibility. Of course, freelancing provides less stability than a full-time job. As a freelancer you don’t usually have the steady income or healthcare benefits that employers provide. But if you can build up a strong network of clients for yourself, you’ll be able to work from anywhere, at any time.


3. Get a remote job

Remote jobs are increasingly common today in all industries. While taking on a virtual position will probably still include a 40-hour workweek (depending on which country you live in,) the remote nature adds flexibility. Many remote positions allow you to work from anywhere in your country. Some even offer flexible hours. Regardless, a remote job eliminates the need for commuting, which adds extra time to your day.


4. Move abroad

One of the top reasons people want to escape the nine to five grind is to allow more time for travel. Moving abroad is a great way to facilitate this. Of course, moving abroad requires either a remote job or a position with a foreign company. Consider finding an internship in the country you want to visit, to get your foot in the door.


5.  Save money 

Whichever way you decide to avoid traditional office schedules, it’s important to be financially secure. Start saving money now, to make sure you’re stable and have some flexibility when you make the move. Think about how you’ll  make money, both during the transition and after. Financial planning might not be the most exciting part of making a life change, but it’s one of the most important.


Want to escape the 9-to-5 grind? Discover our flexible internship programs here and find the one that best suits your needs.




  1. A person walking through a modern, minimalist office of chairs and desks, by Laura Davidson on Unsplash

2. Woman working outdoors on a standing desk, by Standsome Worklifestyle on Unsplash.

Blog by Maeve Allsup

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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