Should I Quit My Job?

In our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast, “The Upside of Quitting,” we talk about strategic quitting. You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or read the transcript here.

One of the hardest things in life to quit is probably a career: what if you were great at your job, making decent money, but it’s just not what you want?

Dubner talks to a very interesting woman who was faced with such a choice, and how she came to her decision to just quit.

From the Freakonomics Radio live show in St. Paul, MN earlier this year (part of which was another podcast earlier this year), here’s the interview with Allie – with an animation by the talented Benjamin Arthur.


You need to stop painting this in such a positive light - it is just simply not true that all "escorts" would make this much or that their life would be as easy and rosy as Allie's.

It is like picking Bill Gates to demonstrate how much money you can make as a "computer guy"


I agree, i am a mexican lawyer struggling to get a job doing what I love but at the end of the line I have to do what gets the bills paid.

There is a very Hollywood version about life that only few achieve, most of the other people get to work for the people we admire or worse hate their guts.

caleb b

I'm facinated by economics and would love to go back to school and get a PhD. The paradox: I know about opportunity costs and the power of compounding interest...which say that I'd be an idiot to go back to school.

Given 30 years of compounding interest at a modest 5%, I estimate that it would cost me around $1 million to get a doctorate. And that is assuming no real promotions and a tenure track at a major university. Despite enjoying econ, it's not worth a million to me.

Question: How much income does the average Econ professor give up to be an Econ professor? Certainly, someone has done this math.


Thank you for setting notion of having more women in engineering back about 50 years.

Rich Wilson

ha ha. Cute. She quite her computer programming job (60-70K/year) to become a 'high end escort' and make 4 times more.

Is it sweeps week on the 'net or something?


Interesting? Yes. Edifying? No.

This is not something we can all do--even if we were so inclined. You might as well do a session on Usain Bolt where he says, "Yes, I quit my mediocre job at the grocery store and became a sprinter."

Moreover, for 6000 years there has been the thought that prostitution (and let's make no mistake, that's what it is) is not some wonderful thing. Yes, it is in demand--and thus there is supply. Indeed, that rich businessman may cheat with someone else if he doesn't do it with this young lady...but even then, she's aiding and abetting cheating. I'm betting she's not there to offer follow-up counseling if there are children that are hurt by their father's betrayal of their mother.

We all can likely understand the woman who, to feed her kids, sells her body (assuming this is a scenario that actually happens). But what makes this young lady's story so reprehensible is that she set seemingly is acting in full-on greed, setting aside a job making a wonderful salary in order to make more doing what she probably isn't exactly proud to tell her family about.

But that aside, I hope this young lady will aspire to be more than this. I have to think she is measuring her worth by how much she can pull in, rather than realizing that she is valuable beyond words even if she were bagging groceries.



AaronS, judge not, lest ye be judged ;) I think the responsibility for any cheating in your scenario (straw man) lies with the man who cheats on his wife e.g. "guns don't kill people, people kill people". Perhaps the reprehensible business man shouldn't have married his wife if he didn't have a strong love/commitment to her?? You're simply repeating the old Madonna-whore (woman as goddess, woman as temptress) dichotomy. And it says a lot about you ;) As an ex-programmer myself, I salute this young woman for having the courage to reinvent herself.


@Nikuman take your rational back to the sewer it is born from. AaronS is thinking in the right direction while you act so disrespectful & dismissive.


@toothy: if it was "like that" would that make being an escort any more ok? (comment sections seem to be a demonstration that everyone does what is right in their own eyes)


Dubner pounces on this opportunity to brag about the amazing jobs he's had the luxury of walking away from: actually succeededing at being a rock musician or quitting a dream job at the New York Times.

Most people struggle and work their butts off to have those opportunities and you flaunt how you've quit your dream jobs? I've never liked you less than I did after listening to this particular podcast, douchebag. It's easy to advise quitting after you've achieved your goals and decided to try something new, it's much more difficult to accept that you won't reach your dream and settle for something less.


This episode was totally ruined by your trying to shoehorn this idea that you can win by quitting. What you meant to say was, you can make more money by trying a different career path. Yes, some escorts get paid a lot. Yes, it makes sense to stop being an escort once you find a rich boyfriend. This is true if all you care about is money. Not really freakonomics though.


This video is simply insensitive and was an insulting waste of time for a person who is seriously looking to quit his/her job and was expecting some real insight.
The only thing I heard from this was: "Go quit your job, you wh*re!".