The last corporate meeting

“Let’s schedule a meeting for that.”

No, let’s not.

Friday, March 31 marked my last-ever corporate meeting. I quit my six-figure salaried, 401k- and pension-strapped career in learning and systems architecture to start . . . well, starting. I’m rejecting the American Dream and replacing it with my own.

Innovation and work happen when and where individuals are free to create their own professional lifestyle. Look at the animal kingdom vs. man’s attempt at recreating “freedom” and “safety”: Zoos. When a beaver is free to build her own damn dam wherever she sees fit, the result is a remarkable end product that displays her innate creativity, skills, and knowledge. Incredible; and all without a project manager, gantt chart, meetings, and Outlook.

Now, put that same beaver into a man-made enclosure with all kinds of toys, a little faux river, and even some sticks from their favorite trees and what do you get? A pathetic dam and a damn pathetic beaver.

Open office plans, free-lunch Fridays, and fluorescent-lit meeting rooms are merely the corporate equivalent of enclosure toys. Throw in a new work-from-home Monday and they’ll forget they were taken from the wild and thrown in a cage.

The modern 9–5 is no different. It’s a vestige of a professional culture birthed from the bowels of the assembly-line factory era. 8 hour shifts. 9–5 schedules. 40-hour work weeks. Heck, we even have glass enclosed-office buildings. The end product? Work that looks like a pathetic reproduction of the real thing. The difference between a caged product and free-range one.

I put in my time in the corporate scene. I learned a lot and I’m the better for it. But now it’s time to help spearhead a generation of professionals that understand that the lifestyle and environment you create in is just as important as the thing you create. It’s the free-range professional that builds his dam wherever and however he damn well pleases. And that looks drastically different from one professional to the next.

Me? My dam looks like this:

  • Starting my own company with 3 partners located in 4 different cities.
  • Moving to San Juan, Puerto Rico with 2 cats and 1 dog
  • Scheduling my day that precisely fits my circadian rhythm
  • Traveling the world to keep my pride small and my worldview big

I’ll be sharing my journey throughout this process and explaining the philosophies that moved it forward.

I’m writing this on a flight from San Diego heading to San Juan. Today is the start of my free-range lifestyle.

And that means no more meetings.