Bailing on security

I recently quit my nicely paid and safe job as a senior project manager. We were a one income family. I’ve got two young children and my wife is a stay at home mum. I’ve got a mortgage.


Because I had the opportunity to start a new company with a couple of colleagues, mates and brilliant guys (Cam and Mark) and that opportunity was too good to turn down.

So, say hello to Paper, a user research and design company.


But this article isn’t about what we’re doing (head on over to the Paper site if you want to read about it). I wanted this article to answer some of the questions that I’ve either been asked, or asked myself, over the past few months.

Are you fucking crackers?

I don’t think so and my wife doesn’t think so. That’s all I really care(d) about. What’s dafter, to me at least, is sitting in a comfortable job, taking a comfortable salary, putting in a decent amount of effort and playing it safe. That’s great for some and it was great for me for a long time, but it’s easy to get into a routine of just counting down the years. That’s not for me anymore.


Because I wanted to take control of things. Because I wanted to concentrate on the types of work that I absolutely love. Because I wanted to say no sometimes. Because I didn’t want to be about billable rates and timesheets every day. Because why not.

Why now when I’ve got two young kids?

I’ve asked myself a lot before I quit. Every day it’d pop up and it came down to choosing between two options.

  1. Stick in the comfortable job working for someone else and calm down the dreams.

2. Just give it a go. Take a chance. My kids are clothed, have a bed to sleep in, are well fed and happy. They’re in a good place to take a punt.

I went with 2. Put simply, it’s the right time.

What will you do if it doesn’t work out?

Firstly, and this sounds really wanky so sorry, but I’m not thinking that Paper is going to fail. Yep, it could do, but I’m not thinking like that. That’s defeatist. That’s not for me. The three of us are giving it a go. A proper go. We’re working hard but it’s a good laugh too.

And there’s a chance that it might not work. There’s always other project manager jobs out there. There’s always other jobs out there. But that’s not in the gantt chart.

What about money?

Let’s get back to basics here. I’m a project manager. I plan, sometimes those plans work out and sometimes they’re a bit shit. My wife and I have been, I think, good with money for years. To start a family I think you need to. We’re not big spenders and we save.

And Paper has been in the pipeline for 6 months. And before that I new I was going to try something different, so I’ve saved as much as possible.

What does the future look like?

There are no grand plans for taking over the world with Paper. There’s no arrogance and it’s more subtle.

For a start, I hope that we’re around. I hope we’ve stuck to our principles. In the next year I hope we’ve hired employee #01. I hope clients love working with us. I hope we’ve earned enough to pay the bills. I hope that we’re still laughing. I hope that we’re still keeping Fridays’ free for non-client work. I hope that we’re still taking the piss out of each other. I hope we’ll need a slightly bigger office studio.


Right, best crack on. Cheers for reading.