It's not the years in your life, it's the life in your years.
Most people don't like their jobs - fact.
If you're stuck in a job you don't really enjoy, then you're not alone my friend - far from it. Some estimates put the figure as high as 80% of people. This is a sad truth.
I was one of these many people. I bought into the paradigm: you need to study hard to get a proper job because that's how you make money and that's what makes you successful. You're really lucky if you even have a job, so if you're one of the lucky few who has a good one, you better hold on to it tight! Do the work, it's not supposed to be fun, it's work. And you better be bang on the arbitrary time that someone else has decided for you.
Some things are so deeply engrained, so widely accepted, that we don't even question them. That's just the way it is, we can't even really see a viable alternative. I think most people would like to work for themselves, set their own schedules and do what they love, the appeal is obvious… but it’s daunting, it’s scary as s**t, it’s hard to challenge the status quo and take that leap of faith.
Ever since I started working I've always felt a strong sense of dissatisfaction and lack of motivation. Sometimes I feel like one of those annoying kids who will never stop asking why,why,why? I've always struggled to work hard for someone else, especially when the work is fairly mundane and there is hardly any correlation between work and reward.
The more I thought about it, the more I resented having to spend my days doing what someone else told me to. My work, pay and progression had already been designed and decided by others - I just had to 'do my time'. Hmmm-makes me think of 'Prison Break'. Maybe it's because I had already tasted the satisfaction of creating something of value on my own, or because I couldn't bare wasting my valuable time.
I've always had a propensity for introspection and copious amounts of thinking. More often than not this has been counterproductive and just useless rumination, but sometimes this has led me to some startling realisations. Recently I had been seriously questioning my life trajectory, my motivations, how I'm spending my time. The more I thought about it, the more the faint and suppressed gut feeling started to grow stronger - I had to do it.
I quit my corporate job. Why?
Life's too short to do s**t you don't really enjoy.
I quit my job - you know, the kind of job your parents want you to get, the job I worked my arse off for many years to get, the job that would pay six figures if I stuck at it for a few more years, the job I was wasting my precious days at.
While this may seem like a rogue or even dumb thing to do, I believe it makes absolute logical sense. I really think it’s crazy not to do it. Traditional jobs where you work the same hours in the same office with the same people, for the same salary are outdated and create a false sense of security. We’re so lucky to live in a time where opportunities are endless – you can work from anywhere on anything and have a global audience at any time, instantly. Why would you not make the most of that?
Here are just a few more reasons why I'm going against the current:
1. If not now, then when? I'm 26, I don't have a mortgage, I don't have a long term relationship, I don't have kids, I'm healthy. There is not much holding me down - as long as I have the means to survive, I can pretty much do whatever I want. This won't last forever.
2. I'd rather fail and learn, than play it safe and regret it. You know those stories you read about the regrets people have on their deathbeds? Being left with major regrets, burning 'what ifs', must be horrible. We're taught that failing is bad and we're gradually shown how to neatly fit into society's mould - this makes it really hard for us to take a shot at something that could be considered different and/or lead to a perceived failure. The flip side of the coin is that it makes it really hard to do anything amazing. But failing is learning, failing is the first step in the direction of progress, failing should be embraced.
3. I can do whatever I want. No one else is telling me what to do. No one is giving me boring work to do. Not set times or places. Just me, my laptop and my camera. I can take responsibility for choosing my own path and do exactly what I want. Freedom.
4. I'll be a lot happier because of number three.
Everyone wants to be able to spend their days doing something they love.
5. The potential. I've always liked a bet with odds stacked in my favour - a high upside, with a limited downside, that's what I look for. Right now what's the worse than can happen to me, what's the potential downside of this leap of faith? Well, I could have an awesome time travelling the world, discovering myself and other cultures, meeting new people and sharing it all with the world, but not make enough money for it to be sustainable - I'd have to find another job. So basically the worse case scenario is going back to where I was just a few days ago before I quit my job.
How about the upside? F**k me, the upside... well the sky's the limit. Literally anything could happen. I could find things that I love doing, that are satisfying and fulfilling, I could meet amazing people and explore beautiful places, I could forge a successful career doing the things I love. It's hard to even imagine the extent of the potential upside, it's pretty much anything that you can dream of. Exciting s**t. But you can't score, if you don't take the shot.
This list could go on almost indefinitely. The more I think about it, the more this seems like an absolute no brainer and makes me wonder how I stuck with an office job for as long as I did.
How do you define success?
I guess a lot of this comes down to what you want out of life, to how you define success. We're all different, and that's absolutely fine - it's great. We need people to do all sorts of different things in order for the world to keep functioning. I know people who fu**ing love going to the office every day, they love the routine, the comfort, the security and they enjoy what they do. For them, success is moving their way up the corporate ladder and progressively earning more responsibility and more money,
For me, that's mind-numbing. I'm not better or worse, I'm just different. I'm not even sure how I define success, but it starts with doing something that has purpose and that I enjoy. What I know for sure is that I don't define success based on my paycheque or my grade in the office.
So what's the plan Stan?
I only have somewhat of a vague plan. As I mentioned earlier on, I don't know exactly what I want to do, but I do know what I don't want to do - and that's a decent place to start. I've also learned that life is designed in such a way that things very rarely go according to plan, so planning too much is pretty futile. I like to have a general idea of the direction I want to go in, while also being ready for the inevitable gusts of wind that will change my course.
And that's exactly why I'm writing and creating videos documenting what I'm doing and what I'm thinking. I want to show you what it’s like, where I go, what I do, the challenges I face, if and how I can make a living remotely, how much this kind of life costs and essentially how hard or how easy it is to become your own boss overnight. I'm absolutely convinced that it's a lot more doable than most of us would think. We're programmed to have quite a high level of risk-aversion, one of our traits that used to serve us well in the wild, but that I believe works a bit too hard in most of us these days.
As I'm writing, I'm getting ready to pack up my London life in order to travel to somewhere cheaper and more beautiful - I'm thinking Thailand as a starting destination, but still haven't made up my mind.
I’m sure it will be a fun ride, whatever the outcome… It's not just for me, so I hope you come along too :)
For now, It’s Tuesday morning and I’m just chilling in a nice cafe', thinking and writing about things I enjoy - no one telling me what to do. And now I think I’m gonna go and get the next flight to Amsterdam – because why the f**k not!?