The time has come to venture on. I hit five years at my job a few weeks ago, and in one more week I’ll be unemployed. If you’ve read any of my posts lately, you’ll likely not be surprised:
What made the decision final was the realization that my job isn’t getting me closer to the person who I want to be. In fact, in the last few months, it was taking me the other direction as the stress turned me into a curmudgeon at work and a crankpot at home.
Oh yeah, there’s also the fact that since we came back from our round the world trip 2.5 years ago, my mind hasn’t been able to fully focus on work. I can’t remember who the quote come from, but it sums up my experience nicely: “It is better to never give freedom in the first place, than to give freedom and later take it away.”
In the next few months, I hope to embark on some new paths that will define the next part of my life. I’m not sure exactly what it will be yet, but I have quite a few things I want to pursue as I figure it out. I’m excited that my wife is letting me do this, and thrilled we’ll be able to explore together.
However, before I get there, let’s have a serious discussion because I don’t want you think this was one of those rash “I quits” where I flip off the boss and have no plans of what is next! This has been a long time coming, and I don’t want to be responsible for any of you crazies who this might inspire!! So, let’s talk about seven things I loved about work:
1. Feelings of accomplishments
Work is very important for many people to receive their sense of purpose, as you see with some retired people who are lost after work. Pope John Paul II put it this way:
“Work is a good thing for man – a good thing for his humanity – because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being. Work expresses his dignity and increases it: It provides him with the wherewithal to have a family, and it links him with his neighbor. Not to mention also contributing to the wealth of his neighbors.”
2. The opportunity to lead
I worked hard and was fortunate to be put into a leadership position with over 60 people in my organization. The role over the last two years helped me develop my leadership skills, and learn to lead organizations. It was very challenging, but I learned a lot.
3. Personal development
I grew up as a small-towner in Oklahoma and didn’t have much exposure to the business world. My last two jobs have helped me develop into a much more well rounded person. I’ve learned how to work with different people, different cultures and different countries.
4. Professional development
As mentioned in the second point, I’ve moved up the chain thanks to all my great experiences and mentors along the way. I learned how to succeed in the corporate world which will definitely benefit me the rest of my life.
5. New friends
My friend base is much expanded thanks to work. It’s amazing how you can connect with people, especially when you’re in very challenging situations together and work to accomplish something great.
6. New experiences
Incredible travel opportunities, interesting projects and great people. I half joke that one of my highest career accomplishments up to this point is “Lifetime Platinum” as a Starwood hotel member. This basically means I’ve stayed over 500 nights at just that hotel chain which is ridiculous, but I’ve had a lot of fun and a lot of really great vacations as well.
The reason I can quit is because of the money I’ve made the last 10+ years of my career (and my wife’s, of course). I don’t want to be a starving artist, desperately working to keep food on the table while I tried to pursue my passion. Instead, I chose to work really hard and succeed as much as I can at work so later I could pursue what I wanted. I’m not done working, but I’m able to spend some time on things I want to do now.
Work is important and money is important, and they make up a huge part of our lives. However, there are many other things I want to pursue that I can’t while in my current career, so I’m moving on. You’ll hear more in the next few weeks!