I made a decision this morning on my way to work
Today is Day 1. Why today? Because on the way to work this morning, I thought to myself “Today is going to be Day 1.” Day 1 of… 60 days. Why 60? I’m not really sure. I needed a deadline, both for my deadline-driven self (procrastinating self) and to make for a catchy gimmick that will possibly trick people into reading. People love countdowns, right? This will be a series of posts, if all goes well. January 25 to March 25. 60 days.
In 60 days (at the latest), I will leave my job. I’m not sure if I’ll have another job lined up at that point, so it may mean I’ll be entering unemployment. There’s a lot I’m not sure about these days, yet somehow it feels like I’m seeing things more clearly than ever.
This proclamation that I’ll quit is not a sudden urge. It’s not because I had a bad day (although it wasn’t a great day) at the office. This has been percolating to various degrees since I entered the working world almost 10 years ago. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t work in a corporate office at a corporate desk staring at a corporate computer… and that’s when I’m not stuck in an endless web of both live and virtual corporate meetings. I. Can’t. Do. It. It’s time to act. It’s a wonder I’ve lasted as long as I have.
So that’s great. I need to make a change. But… now I need to figure out what that change entails. I’m going to immerse myself in this process. Not the process of a job hunt, but the process of trying to understand who I am, where I want to go next (as well as long term), and how I can get there. Probably in that order. Maybe it’s not that my work now is too “corporate.” Maybe it’s that I’m not using my talents. I don’t know what it is. I just know that I’ve been faking my way through really good jobs for as long as I can remember. Other people say that they don’t like their jobs but I have trouble believing that they feel this as deeply as I do. I don’t actually hate it… I just know it’s not who I am. So basically, I went to a $150K business school (I have the loans to prove it) and came out a corporate-hating, MBA who is blogging to no one on a Monday after work. Things are going great!
Okay. I’ll take a step back and introduce myself, before I go full on ramblings of a madman. I’m a 32-years-old, single male with an amazing job at a large, industry-leading company. I make a 6 figure salary, a big bonus, and I have responsibility and prestige. It’s a role that one can adapt and grow in, designed to shoot someone straight to senior leadership in a few years. On paper, it’s the perfect job for someone coming out of a top business school.
I have a lot of reasons to keep moving in the same direction: a strong resume, great connections, and the aforementioned student loans to pay off. I’m at an age when most of my peers/friends have settled on a steady career, committed to a partner and many are raising children! But… I’m still learning to raise myself…
…and heading even further in the opposite direction of my peers. This 60 day thing may seem risky and/or stupid. I get that. But I can only speak plainly here, and I hope it sounds neither grandiose nor contrived. The fact is, this isn’t even a choice. I hit a point where I can’t go further down this path. I know, I shouldn’t say “can’t.” Lord knows people do a lot worse because they have to. The thing is, I don’t think I have to. The issue is that I’m not sure why I “can’t,” and I’m not sure what I need instead. That’s where I’m starting from.
There are thousands of articles and books that describe why someone should make a leap like this, why people should quit their jobs to live a more fulfilling life. We live in a self-help culture. There are inspiring and informative stories on what people learned and how it all paid off. This is admirable, but it occurs to me that we almost always hear the stories of success. We don’t hear much from the people who finally made a change, took a risk in the name of passion and happiness… and it ended up being a terrible decision. What about the people who left jobs they hated and then had to go back months later with their tails between their legs? These stories seem like they would be too embarrassing to tell, and don’t make for good reading (or writing). They’re downers. But maybe they need to be told. How are we (me) supposed to know what we are risking if we only see one side?
I hope that my plan for change doesn’t end up a disaster. If it does, though, you’ll know. You’ll also know how I got there. You’ll see the steps I took, right or wrong, that led me to that point. I want to give people a view into what is going on during this period of change… or at least the first 60 days of it. While every person is different, and there are many paths to take, hopefully you’ll pick up somethings valuable. At the very least, I’ll give you some links to smarter and more interesting readings! So that’s the plan. The 60 day plan. The brainchild of an interesting Monday morning commute.
A few caveats:
- I realize that this is not an insane and daring adventure. This would be a lot different if I had to take stock of what was in my fridge to see how long I could survive. I live comfortably. I also don’t need to provide for other people. So yes, I’m going to make it. I’m not a hero and this isn’t a life or death scenario. If this is a success, or an improvement, it’s not because I overcame impossible odds… it just means I’m closer to somewhere I probably should’ve been many years ago.
- I have a lot going on, but I want to write frequently. The tradeoff may be that entries are not worded as well, or thought out as clearly, as I’d like. During the next 60 days I’ll be working long hours at my full time, stressful job. I’ll be searching for whatever guidance/help I can as I try to figure out my next steps (I don’t currently have a plan of attack). I may be applying and interviewing for jobs, I may be seeing a therapist or life coach… I don’t know. I’m also a social person living in a major American city. I can’t be a hermit. So, apologies in advance if this isn’t literature at its finest. Tolstoy is not walking through that door.
- I know I said this was for others, but I have zero followers right now… so it might just be for me! I’m hoping it helps me organize my thoughts. I can’t promise this will be pretty, logical, easy to follow, helpful, or worth your time. I don’t know where it is heading. It’s a real time, unscripted story. All I can say is that in 46 days I am going to give my boss my two week notice, and in 60 days I am going to leave my job. In the time from now to then, I’ll write about what is happening.
There it is. My first entry. The easy one. The one that didn’t require personal growth, any type of introspection, or even a real action plan. Just an idea, a lot of promises based on a serious life decision I made this morning, and a few caveats. But… it’s a start. 60 days. Let’s see what happens.
[Intro music fades. A picture of a man in his early 30s emerges, sitting on the couch in what appears to be business casual attire. He looks hungry.]