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What Is The Rat Race? And How Do You Get Out?


Do you know what The Rat Race is? Do you consider yourself to be part of it? Or, are you working hard to escape it?

When I was 20 years old, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of business: network marketing. I met countless people who had retired in their 20s and 30s because they built a business that continued to generate an income even while they were on vacation!

While the network marketing gig did not make me a millionaire as I had hoped, the experience helped me understand that there were other ways to earn an income today! But, while there are so many avenues to create wealth, so many still seem to pick The Rat Race…

The Rat Race

The majority of people today earn their money by entering “The Rat Race”. They wake up early in the morning to get to work at a certain time, work incredibly hard so that their boss notices their efforts, hopefully get a promotion, and then they work tirelessly for their next boss, and the cycle continues until they peak at a certain level (not everyone makes it to CEO, just so you know).

Once you get a larger title, your friends may be impressed, and your earnings are most likely much larger than when you first started, but the only problem is, you still have to wake up early and work tirelessly. In fact, with more responsibilities, you most likely have to work longer hours each day! At this point, you are probably in your 40s and you realise that you are in “The Rat Race”. You feel like there’s no way out, so you just continue your career until retirement.

When I speak of The Rat Race, I’m not only talking about corporate employees, I’m talking about everyone that trades time for money: janitors, factory workers, computer programmers, dentists, doctors, lawyers, movie stars, and even professional athletes! Each one of these professions requires you to be actively working in your field to produce an income. Obviously, some of these professions make more than others, but without actively working each day, the money will most definitely stop coming in.

How Can You Get Out of The Rat Race?

For those of you that don’t like the direction your career is headed, you might be wondering how you can get out of this “Rat Race”? Many search for a new job with a different company, which is new and exciting for a while, but ultimately it’s still a time for money trade-off, and if you didn’t show up for work, you wouldn’t get paid.

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that an escape from The Rat Race will be easy, because it most certainly is not! It takes careful planning and a ton of effort, but I know that it IS possible! I’ve seen it done before, and I plan on doing it myself as well (I’m already well on my way).

Here are the steps that you should take:

1) Gain an understanding for your passion – since there is quite a lot of planning and effort that go along with creating your own business, you most likely want to have some enjoyment in the field you choose. If you don’t care at all about dogs, but you start a grooming business, you might even be more miserable than when you worked at your thankless job! If, however, you love dogs, you’d probably thrive as a groomer and love every minute of it! 🙂

2) Research similar businesses and study them – if you know of a business that is thriving and it’s similar to your passion, take time to study their operation. What makes them profitable? Why do their customers keep coming back? Do they have a niche that other businesses don’t? Ask yourself why they are succeeding and take note!

3) Systematize Your Idea – If you do not perform this step, then you’ll just work your way into another job with countless hours. Do you know why? Because without a system, you will be the magic, and if you’re the magic, your business won’t run properly without you. This means that you’ll be working 15 hour days to keep your business alive.

To give you an idea of what you’re going to want to accomplish in this step, you may want to read the E-Myth, by Michael Gerber. Within this book, there’s an example of a man that owns a hotel, and has become quite successful without having to juggle a million duties.

Instead of doing the work himself, he has made a clear system for all of his employees. They know exactly what they need to do in every situation because it’s in the manual! When someone checks in, you do this, this, and this, and at these times. With every possible question already answered in this manual, the hotel owner didn’t have to worry about the day-to-day activity, only the overall success and future of the hotel! 🙂

Are you making an effort to get out of The Rat Race? What have you done so far, and what do you plan on doing?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I enjoyed the E-myth book. Leveraging other people’s time is a good way to build a business and create value.

    • It sure is! That’s one book that I continue to read and re-read!

  2. When I was in business, I loved the aspect of earning money when I was asleep or doing something else. There are other things that you need to watch though. Expenses can grow while you are sleeping too. In many ways the rat race is parallel whether you are working for someone or working for yourself.

    • The idea is not to work your life away, but to develop a system so that others can do the work for you! Then this actually frees up more time which you can use to become even more wealthy!

  3. Yep, I’m still in the rat race, probably somewhere in the middle of the pack (kind of like when I run a 5k). It’s hard getting off that wheel, especially when you’re trying to do your “day job” and build your business part-time, with a wife and 3 kids, bills…not complaining, just hard to juggle.

    • It is incredibly hard to juggle! I can’t imagine trying to do it with 3 kids at the same time! You’ll make it though. Any efforts now will pay largely in the future. I’m sure of it!

  4. I don’t really consider myself to be part of the rat-race, but I guess I am since I have to work for money! I love teaching and I get plenty of time off to pursue writing through blogging. I’m always looking for ways to increase side income, especially if it’s passive. I just haven’t found that system yet as most of my income is NOT passive. 😉

    • Blogs are often quite a lot of work in the beginning, but you could develop them to be passive. Then, once your blog is running with little assistance from you, you can start another one and make twice the money! 🙂

  5. I first read about the Rat Race in Kiyosaki’s book. I actually read it again after getting my first career job so that I didn’t get too excited by my new shiny salary and try to buy lots of things. I am working on buying my first house in a few years, but instead of just getting a single family home, it will probably be something I can rent out as well. I am also working on building assets instead of buying liabilities. Because even though I really want these cute heels I saw, I’d rather have a growing investment and pay for the heels with passive income.

    • You sound incredibly sensible FSYA! I bet your friends don’t understand you at all! 🙂 That’s a good thing by the way.

  6. I, like FSYA, first heard about the rat race in Kiyosaki’s book. Great book in fact. Anyway, on my way to work I always think about the rat race and currently being part of it – trading time for money. It gets exciting when you can use your money to make money. 🙂 Even make money while you’re sleeping.

    • It sure does! It’s hard to get overly excited about a job isn’t it? I have an amazing job, with great benefits, but I still think about what life would be like if I worked for myself and developed that passive income….I think I’ll forever be a dreamer. 🙂

  7. Hm, a couple of years ago I would have said I was on the rat race, but now I don’t feel that way (even though I still am, based on how you describe it.) I do still get up and go to work at a job everyday, but what’s changed is that I now do it because I enjoy going (and earning the extra money). In other words, I now think of my “side” business as my real income, and my job as the extra.

    • Jackie, I’m getting to the point where you are now, and I think I’m going to choose to work for some time too. It will allow us to pay our house off incredibly fast, and once that happens, are living expenses will be low enough to basically do whatever we want! 🙂

  8. I’m interested in leaving the rat race, and in fact I’ll be out in about 2 years. I plan to live off my savings.

    At the same time, whether you live off your investments (financing the rat race for others), or you systemize a business as suggested above (running your own rat race that feeds you money) – for me it’s an ethical struggle. My only solution is to also minimize spending.

    • Be careful attempting to live off savings alone. Money can quickly disappear when there is very little coming in. Passive income is the way to go!

  9. Great article. I love the saying “do something you love, and never work a day in your life.”

    • You’ve got that right! When I “retire”, I’ll still be working, but it won’t be for a corporation, it will be for myself – doing what I love to do! Thanks for the comment!

      • Derek, i am already doing that! i am 34, retired and working at my own pace & space.. and like my kid says ‘I’m lovin’ it!’

        • That’s awesome James H! Keep up the great work and spend as much time with your family as you can. I’ll be right there with you soon! 🙂

  10. I don’t think people can or should focus solely on their jobs as a means of self-expression and making money. Today it’s becoming easier to find other avenues of entrepreneurship such as online businesses.

    I would encourage everyone to try this out, as they may find a passion they never knew they had. That’s what happened with me and blogging, which only started out of a conversation with a friend! I’m certainly not getting rich off of it, but it feels good to get a little something out of something that I enjoy and that I can call my own.

    • I’m with you IIW! I had no idea there was so much money to be made online until I started my blog and gave it a shot. Last month I made $1,700! It’s been great to have some extra money each month to transform our foreclosure property that we just bought! 🙂

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