Man leaves high-paying finance job to work at McDonald’s

An Australian man has given up his $100,000 [$62,722.50 USD] finance job, fed up with “garbage meetings” and a terrible culture to work as a night cleaner at his local McDonald’s, taking a steep pay cut to escape the corporate nightmare.

He is one of many Australians embracing The Great Resignation, which is set to hit workplaces in the next six to 12 months with 2 million people ready to quit their jobs, research from Allianz Australia has shown.

It comes as many young Australians are also launching six-figure jobs with nothing to go on, preferring to be unemployed than unhappy at work.

An Australian man quit his job in finance to work at McDonald’s.
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Others, like Paul, who didn’t want his last name used, gave up lucrative careers to escape the “stress” and sense of impending doom that lurked on Sunday afternoons.

Paul spent 23 years in the financial services industry, but recently stepped down from his role as a customer service team leader for a major financial company.

“I just got to the point where I was sick of handling people in a way that I wasn’t comfortable with. A lot of the work you do in financial services is just paperwork and million dollar people talking about first world problems,” he told

‘I can not anymore’

“It was a job I was good at rather than passionate about. I finally woke up one day and thought I couldn’t do it anymore.

“You know that feeling when you don’t want to go to work? It’s a Sunday afternoon and you get all uptight and horrible and I thought why do we do this to ourselves? Let’s go to ruin and poverty and see if we can be happier”.

The Central Coast man said that even though his job in finance was completely remote, he hated the culture he described as one that was driven by punishment rather than education, authoritarian pressure and forced overtime.

The man said he was fed up with the corporate culture.
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He said he was once asked to put a staff member on a performance plan and also tell them at the same time that they would be managing his team while he was away, which he said was strange.

The father-of-four added that there would be times when he would hate his job so much that he would scroll through Search and use the quick apply feature to instantly submit a CV for things like handyman work.

“People would look at my CV and see that I had been in financial services for 23 years and had never called,” he added.

payment cut in half

But within 10 minutes of applying for a night cleaner position at McDonald’s, where he actually had his first job at age 15, he got a call.

Three weeks ago, he started working at McDonald’s taking a nearly 50 percent pay cut to around $53,000. [$33,242.92 USD].

She has seen him working from 11 pm to 7 am, where he gets home on time to take his children to school, and he “loves” the change.

“Job satisfaction has increased and stress has decreased. There are no constantly moving goals. There are no garbage meetings and pressure to always remember all the rules of corporate language. Just cleaning. If it’s dirty, I clean it,” he said.

“I had new equipment and the fun I had and the satisfaction I felt when the floors came out twice as good was just amazing.”

Paul said he’s glad he doesn’t have to play the corporate “game” anymore and can really “disconnect” from his job outside of business hours.

“When you’re in the corporate world, you have to answer emails, think about your language and the pressures of managing people and how to keep people together in the digital age and it’s nice not to have to think as much,” he said.

“I come home now and I am more active around the house and I am going back to my hobbies as my brain is not exhausted.

“That’s the good thing about doing physical work, I feel like I’m doing something and at my age it’s good to be back on my feet and creative things are coming back.”

Don’t get ‘stuck’

The 48-year-old said his children don’t understand why he would take a lower-paying job, but said he is teaching them not to “get stuck doing something because someone else is going to pay them.”

“Don’t make money your motivator,” he added. “Fear is the killer of the mind too. Everything we do carries too much fear these days, sometimes you just need to shoot and seize the opportunity and throw caution to the wind.

“To be fair, I’m a little angry. I’m the kind of idiot who leaves my job four months before long-service leave is due, but oddly enough, it’s always worked for me. It takes a certain strength to take that risk.”

significant pay cut

Sebastian* is another Australian looking to win $40,000 [25,089.00 USD] pay cut to make a career change after he was placed on stress leave just four months after starting a new job.

The sales manager said his current company is so severely understaffed that the workload was “relentless,” forcing him to work 55 hours a week, including weekends, but there was never enough time to catch up.

“I would come home at night feeling like I had big rocks on my shoulder and I couldn’t switch off from work and literally couldn’t get away from it at all,” he told

“I would be trying to watch TV or YouTube to try to distract myself and it consumes me so much that… I would be thinking about what that customer wants or if there are so many issues or out of stock then workload issues would come up at 7pm or 8pm. pm or 9 pm at night”.

Dry gags looking at emails

The 39-year-old said it got to the point where just looking at his emails caused him “severe anxiety” and forced him to take unpaid stress leave of his $120,000. [$75,267.00 USD] worked.

“In this pay cycle, I’m going to get paid one week out of four, so that kind of stress level keeps me out of a job and has knock-on effects financially,” he explained.

“I’m in a reasonably privileged position with income protection insurance and mortgage insurance, but it’s $2,500 [$1568.06 USD] at $3,000 [$1,881.67 USD] less than my normal salary has been.

“I’m looking for lower stress jobs and a lower title, so I’m probably looking for a $35,000 position [$21,952.87 USD] at $40,000 [25,089.00 USD] pay cut.”

The man from Melbourne, Australia, said he is undergoing psychological treatment but has realized there is no way he can return to his current position.

“I haven’t looked at my work phone for a couple of weeks and then I was looking at my work emails this week and I was dry,” he said.

“I felt physically ill just looking at my emails, so there’s no way I can go back to that.”

Sebastian added that he is looking to leave sales, where he has spent his entire life, and pursue something like a public sector job as an administrator, which he said has been “challenging”.

What I’ve done?

Tom*, who lives in Sydney, is another Australian who gave up his 20-year career in real estate after the stress built up during the pandemic.

“I think during the lockdown, having been in property management, we basically became the resource for everyone’s financial problems and I say that with no disrespect to anyone who suffers,” he said.

“I think that took a toll on me and I decided I had to do something where I’m not at home thinking about other people’s problems.”

He quit his job in February spending “basically just under six figures [Australian] to nothing”.

The father, who is in his early 40s, decided to launch his own gardening business, but admits he had moments of doubt wondering “what the hell” he had done, but said it is now running successfully.

“I feel a little more alive. I’m always outdoors, healthier, I have a lot more time for my family and kids than I ever had before, and even when I come home early after a day in real estate, your mind is always on everything that’s going on. back there in the office,” she said.

“It is very difficult to disconnect in that role and you can turn off your work phone or not answer it, but there is always something on your mind about what just happened or what you have to do the next day.

“I don’t feel anxious about going to work.”

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons

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