TWP 004 – Escaping the 9 to 5 – The Basics You Need To Know

Listen on YouTube

Understanding what a 9 to 5 is important, if you’re looking to escape it.
As with most issues, in Pakistan – basics are not taught well, and I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce to you, the listener, to:
– What a 9 to 5 needs to be
– What a 5 to 9 needs to be
– How do you leverage your efforts in the right way
– What is the roadmap for someone looking to scale in the long run

Hosted by Saqib Tahir
Support the show:


0:05 – Quick Update
0:51 – Where the episode actually starts
2:13 – Defining what a ‘Good’ 9 to 5 needs to be
4:47 – Transition vs Shortcut
5:27 – This episode won’t apply to you if
7:16 – Escaping the 9 to 5 – Calendar View
8:11 – Feeding the Now vs Feeding the Future
9:34 – Hard vs Soft Skills
10:32 – Examples: Developer and Sales
13:32 – Compliment your skill set
14:22 – Building long term leverage
15:46 – How to transition from 9 to 5 to 5 to 9
17:37 – Why going from a job to services is better
17:48 – The problem with shortcuts
18:53 – Why services are the best way to transition
19:22 – What is leverage – in simple terms
20:13 – High vs Low leverage activities
20:21 – When to transition from a 9 to 5
23:10 – In the car segment: My path to building leverage

Further learning and references

Reference image for Calendar view:

Calendar view of 9 to 5 vs 5 to 9

English Transcript Summary: Escaping the 9 to 5 – A Journey to Career Fulfillment

Welcome to another episode of The Wandering Pro. Before we dive into today’s discussion, let me give you a brief update. Our last episode was featured on Tech Made Fun, which I shared on LinkedIn, and it resonated well with the Pakistani audience and my connections. This episode gained a lot of traction, and Muzamil from Thought Behind Things commented on it, which boosted its visibility significantly. As a result, many new viewers joined us on YouTube, and some even subscribed.

If you are one of those new subscribers, welcome! Today’s episode is part of our sister podcast, The Wandering Pro, which focuses more on career and business topics. Don’t worry; the Tech Made Fun podcast will have a regular episode next week. I manage both podcasts simultaneously, so expect a variety of content.

Understanding the 9 to 5 Frustration

Recently, I’ve noticed a growing trend of dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment among people, particularly evident through viral TikTok and YouTube Shorts. Many individuals are expressing their frustration with the traditional 9 to 5 job structure. This sentiment is especially prevalent in Pakistan, where people are vocal about their desire to escape the confines of a 9 to 5 job.

I came across a Reddit post where someone expressed their frustration with their 9 to 5 job, just four months after graduating from university. This post resonated with many, highlighting a common problem in Pakistan: people are discontented with their jobs and eager to find a way out.

Defining the 9 to 5 Job

To address this issue, we first need to define what a 9 to 5 job truly is. Many people refer to their jobs as 9 to 5, but the term has lost its meaning. Traditionally, a 9 to 5 job refers to working from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, totaling around 40 hours of paid work per week. At the end of the month, you receive a salary for your efforts.

Criteria for a Good 9 to 5

  1. Paid Effort: Your job should require around 40 hours of work per week.
  2. Bill Payment: Your salary should comfortably cover your bills without causing financial strain.
  3. Scalability: Your job should offer opportunities for growth and development, such as promotions, departmental changes, or skill enhancements.

If your job meets these criteria, you have a good 9 to 5. The goal should be to reach this level before considering how to escape the 9 to 5 structure.

The Path to Escaping the 9 to 5

Achieving a good 9 to 5 job is the first step. Once you have a job that meets the above criteria, you can start thinking about how to transition out of it if that’s your goal. Transitioning is often more effective than taking shortcuts. For most people, life progresses through gradual changes rather than abrupt leaps.

Tech and IT Industry: A Viable Path

In Pakistan, the tech and IT industry offers significant growth and scalability, provided you have the necessary skills. Jobs in this sector often pay well and respect the traditional 9 to 5 structure, although sometimes the hours may vary. If you’re not currently in the tech or IT industry, consider transitioning into it as your first step towards a better 9 to 5 job.

Mapping Your Time: Feeding the Now and the Future

Visualize your week as a calendar with a 40-hour block dedicated to your job. Label this block “Feeding the Now,” as it represents your present commitments. Now, look at the remaining hours in your week. Can you allocate an additional 20 hours for activities that will “Feed the Future”?

These additional hours should be dedicated to activities with a long-term approach, such as learning new skills or gaining knowledge that will benefit you in the future. This is a crucial step towards achieving financial and time freedom, as most regular jobs do not offer this level of liberty.

Balancing Hard and Soft Skills for Professional Growth

In order to become a well-rounded professional, it’s essential to understand the balance between hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are technical abilities that can be quantified and measured, such as programming, data analysis, or machine operation. On the other hand, soft skills are more abstract and often involve interpersonal abilities like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

The Developer’s Journey: Beyond the Code

Imagine you’re a software developer with a few years of experience. You’ve mastered your 9-to-5 job and excel in technical tasks. However, to truly excel and prepare for future challenges, it’s crucial to develop skills outside your primary expertise. Here are three key areas to focus on:

  1. Communication: Many developers struggle with effective communication, especially in client-facing scenarios. Improving communication skills helps in clearly articulating ideas and collaborating efficiently with team members and stakeholders.
  2. Sales: Understanding the basics of sales can significantly enhance your ability to pitch ideas, sell your skills, and understand market needs.
  3. Marketing: Learning the fundamentals of marketing allows you to position your products or services effectively and understand the dynamics of customer engagement.

Bridging the Gap: The Salesperson’s Technical Toolbox

Now, consider a salesperson who is proficient in closing deals and understanding customer needs. To remain competitive and grow professionally, it’s beneficial to acquire some technical skills. Here are three areas where a salesperson can expand their expertise:

  1. Creating a Landing Page: Knowing how to create a simple, effective landing page can be invaluable. Tools like Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace make this process accessible without needing extensive coding knowledge.
  2. Design Tools: Tools like Canva can help in creating visually appealing marketing materials. Understanding basic design principles and how to use these tools can significantly enhance your presentations and marketing efforts.
  3. Automation and Project Management Tools: Learning to use tools that streamline workflows, such as Notion or Monday, can improve efficiency. Additionally, understanding no-code development tools like Shopify can help in creating e-commerce solutions.

The Importance of Complementary Skills

Whether you’re in a technical or non-technical role, acquiring complementary skills opens up new opportunities and enhances your professional value. For developers, improving soft skills like communication and marketing can lead to better project management and client relationships. For salespeople, learning technical skills can lead to more effective sales strategies and product development insights.

Transitioning from 9-to-5 to 5-to-9

The concept of escaping the traditional 9-to-5 job to pursue side hustles or freelance work is gaining popularity. However, it’s essential to approach this transition strategically. In many Western countries, there are numerous opportunities to monetize side projects, such as affiliate marketing or content creation. However, this isn’t always the case in other regions, where payment processors and opportunities might be limited.

Developing Long-Term Leverage

To successfully transition from a traditional job to a more flexible work model, you need to build skills that offer long-term leverage. This means investing time in learning and developing abilities that will provide significant returns in the future. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Identify High-Leverage Skills: These are skills that have a high impact relative to the time invested. For example, learning to create effective marketing strategies or mastering a particular software tool.
  2. Build a Portfolio of Services: Once you have a strong skill set, you can start offering your services as a freelancer or consultant. Specializing in a niche can make your offerings more attractive to potential clients.
  3. Focus on Long-Term Goals: Shortcuts may offer quick gains, but they often lack the depth of experience needed for sustained growth. Aim for long-term fulfillment by continuously improving and adapting your skills.

The Power of Leverage

Leverage is a key concept in professional growth. It involves using your time, skills, and resources efficiently to maximize impact. For instance, spending time learning a new skill can be seen as an investment that pays off when you apply it to your work or business. High-leverage activities, such as building a personal brand or developing a unique service offering, can provide substantial returns over time.

In conclusion, balancing hard and soft skills is essential for long-term professional success. Whether you’re a developer learning to communicate better or a salesperson acquiring technical skills, expanding your skill set prepares you for future opportunities. By focusing on high-leverage activities and building a portfolio of valuable services, you can transition from a traditional job to a more flexible and fulfilling career path.

The Power of Reusable and Scalable Efforts

In the quest for professional growth and financial independence, it’s crucial to focus on activities that are reusable and scalable. This concept is especially important when transitioning from freelancing to more stable and lucrative opportunities. Reusable efforts are those that can be applied multiple times without significant additional investment, while scalable efforts are those that can grow and yield increasing returns over time.

Productizing Your Services

One significant realization in this journey is the value of productizing your services. Instead of working on an hourly rate, which is essentially trading time for money, consider packaging your services in a way that allows for repeated sales with minimal additional effort. This approach not only frees up time for other pursuits but also ensures a steady stream of income.

For instance, if you’re offering consulting services, develop standardized packages that address common client needs. These packages can be sold repeatedly, reducing the need for customized, time-consuming projects. This shift requires a strategic mindset and may take considerable time to develop, but the long-term benefits are substantial.

The Long-Term Vision

The concept of “feeding the now” versus “feeding the future” is integral to this approach. While immediate tasks and responsibilities (“feeding the now”) are essential, it’s the investments in future-oriented skills and projects (“feeding the future”) that yield significant returns over time. This dual focus ensures a balanced growth strategy, where short-term needs are met while laying the groundwork for long-term success.

Understanding leverage is key to this process. Every effort and every resource should be viewed through the lens of potential return on investment. Whether it’s time, money, or skills, leveraging these assets effectively can lead to exponential growth and opportunities.

The Path from 9-to-5 to 5-to-9

Escaping the traditional 9-to-5 job structure to pursue side hustles or entrepreneurial ventures is a goal for many. However, this transition is not without challenges. It requires careful planning and a solid foundation in both hard and soft skills.

  1. Build a Strong Foundation: For fresh graduates and those new to the workforce, the first step is to establish a stable 9-to-5 job. This period is crucial for gaining experience, building a professional network, and developing essential skills.
  2. Gradual Transition: Once you have a solid 9-to-5 job, begin investing time in high-leverage activities outside of work hours. This could include developing a side business, learning new skills, or creating a portfolio of services. The goal is to create a sustainable income stream that can eventually replace your primary job.
  3. Focus on Execution: While the strategy might seem straightforward, execution is challenging. Consistency, perseverance, and continuous learning are critical to success. Utilize tools and frameworks that enhance productivity and efficiency, and seek mentorship or advice from those who have successfully made the transition.

Leverage and Long-Term Success

Leverage is a recurring theme in this journey. It’s about maximizing the impact of your efforts and investments. Whether it’s negotiating better deals, improving sales techniques, or providing more value to clients, leverage is the underlying principle that drives success.

To conclude, understanding and applying the concepts of reusable and scalable efforts, leveraging your skills and resources, and making a strategic transition from 9-to-5 to 5-to-9 are essential steps toward achieving long-term professional and financial goals. This journey requires patience, strategic planning, and relentless execution, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

For those interested in diving deeper into these concepts, feel free to reach out with feedback or questions. Stay tuned for more insights and practical advice in future episodes.

Thank you for joining this discussion. If you have any feedback, please send an email to As always, I’ll see you in the next episode. Thank you very much.

Prepared by Yousaf Babur

As always –
Thank you for listening, please send any questions or feedback to
See you next time.

Checkout free Career & Business Resources:
If you’re looking for business and career upskilling – check out our Discord server:

Everything you see here – and more – is powered by your Support. You can always pitch in by clicking the below.

Support SK NEXUS Image
Support SK NEXUS QR Code

Listen on your favorite Podcast App

All content © The Wandering Pro – Career Podcast By SK NEXUS.