Today, I walked away from the fancy corporate job, counting beans for that tech giant of a fruit company. It has been 1,683 days, or 15% of my life that I’ve worked in a job for the sake of earning money. $120K of debt and a substantial saving later, I unchained from the golden handcuff.
Let’s be fair. It was a good experience to live the corporate life first-hand. And if one had to do a stint of corporate grinding somewhere, this fruit company was a pretty good one. After all, millions, if not billions, in this world work not for passion, but for the necessity of putting food on the table. The need for financial security is real. All the talk of “not work a day in your life” is meaningless when one is stressed over the next debt repayment. So, it was just a job, and it was laborious.
Despite being incredibly fortunate to work under great managers, I checked every box of the corporate life doldrum. I lived for weekends and those 15 days of vacation days (Europeans – count yourselves lucky). I became mind numbingly bored of corporate jargons and endless meetings, grew cynical of politics and the Silicon Valley rhetorics of “changing the world”. I often found myself sitting in meetings, having an out-of-body type experience, looking around the room wondering who’s faking it, and who’s actually passionate.
When I moved to China, I was under the impression that the minute I pay off debt, I would wave goodbye to corporate life without an ounce of hesitation. Turns out that golden handcuff is not easy to rid. When my entire value system had been built on the importance of wealth accumulation, it’s not quite so easy to wave goodbye to steady paycheck. The world at-large seems to look into this fruit company with awe, and any mention of me walking away from it all with no real plans seems irresponsible. “It’s such a great job with great benefits,” they tell me. Yet, being bored and uninspired 50+ hours a week is simply too high of a price to pay. There has got to be another way, and I needed to reconstruct my value system.
I spent hours pouring over bloggers & podcasters who became financially independent, digital nomads who took their skills on the road, minimalists who gave possessions away to live life with low financial burden, and career switchers who made dramatic pivots. I dabbled in meditation, Xav and I purged over 900 items from our household, and we ideated a new path that deviates from the original 1,000 day countdown.
The journey that led me to hand in my badge today had been a very long time in the making. 1,683 days, +10lbs (all that sitting and emotional eating from boredom), and countless hours of life brainstorming sessions later, I walked away.
Next week, I will join Le Wagon’s Full-Stack web developer coding camp to acquire new skills, and see where the next phase of life takes me! It won’t be easy, but I can already feel my soul wiggling its fingers and toes, awaking from nearly five years of hibernation!