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I am a Corporate America Dropout

Working in New York City

Aracely Working in NYC with the View

It’s Official

Yesterday, I told my boss of my plans to drop out of the rat race and go travel the world.  Okay, so those were not my exact words, the point is, my decision is final, there’s no going back.  I’m on my way to a completely different lifestyle.

I began my first corporate job right out of college back in 2002 at Mercedes-Benz USA[1], where I was groomed into a young professional.  After 4.5 years of establishing a respectable reputation and becoming a subject matter expert, I decided it was time to move on and do it all over again elsewhere.  That elsewhere, according to me, needed to be in New York City.  I romanticized about the idea of working in a skyscraper somewhere in Manhattan and dreamt of a corner office with a view.  I made my move and began working for a Fortune 500 Company in June of 2007.  A short year and half later, I was exactly where I imagined I would be.  My office is located at the World Financial Center on a 23rd floor, view included.

Corporate Culture

I learned many lessons during my time in the corporate environment, some I’ve internalized and keep with me, and others–I  will admit– I’ve intentionally ignored.  In all honesty, I believe that a few of those lessons have not only helped shape my personality but even my identity.  More importantly, I have been extremely lucky because I’ve worked with great caliber leaders that were always supportive and belived in me.  Through them, I’ve learned the value of building self-confidence, the need to raise your personal bar and the importance of not just producing results, but measuring them.  I’ve also learned the art of CYA[2], getting buy-in and giving EOD[3] deadlines.  All that is behind me, the decks[4], the conference calls, the terms like BAU[5] and bandwidth[6], which were all part of my life in corporate America, and yesterday I dropped out.

When I decided to make the move from Mercedes-Benz to my currently employer someone asked me, “Are you running from or going to?”  My answer was, “Both.”  Back then, I knew there was something missing in my career and I was running to find it.  I thought more money and a greater challenge would fulfill the void I was feeling.  I was wrong.  Although, it often helps, more money can’t calm an internal calling; at least not for me and not this calling.  However, I do not regret any of my career decisions.  I’ve worked for two great companies and with amazing people.

A Drop Out

Today, my decision to drop out of corporate America is no different.  I am both running from and going to.  I’m running away from a career where I am successful, but running to chase a dream and follow my passions.  My dream is to travel to distant lands and my passion is for cultural education, volunteerism and adventure.  It’s what I think about as I look out the view of my office window.  I don’t know where this will take me, what it will bring me, how it will change me, or even if I am as passionate about it as I think I am.  But, I decide not to let the unknown stop me, I am determined to go find out.

1 Corporate headquarters located in Montvale, NJ
2 Cover you’re a$$
3 End of Day
4 Refers to PowerPoint presentations
5 Business as usual
6 Metaphor used to refer to capacity, resources or time available to do additional work

The NVR Guys says:

Headsets give me a rash!

Great post.

Congratulations on making the decision to drop your briefcase and pick up a backpack! There is a pressure in American society to stay on a certain track (college, career, marriage, family, etc…) – and people make it seem as if it is the end of the world if you dare stray off that path.

So the idea of actually following your dreams can seem like a scary one. Making the decision to leave your career and travel will probably be the hardest part of this journey. Can’t wait to follow along!

Alan Mizell says:

Aracely,
How timely that I am doing the same thing. I resigned my position a week and a half ago, the apartment lease ends on July 27, and hopefully this Friday July 24, 2009 I can begin my travels. I will bicycle north from Houston, Texas to OK, TN, then on to NYC and then on eastward to see the world.
Hopefullly you will follow my blog posts and maybe we shall meet on the road.
Alan

Aracely says:

You are much more hard core than us, you’re biking it!! Best of luck, I definitely look forward to following your blogs. Do you know which country you are headed to first?

Alan Mizell says:

Oh, I’m not so sure, that bungee jumping thing looks insane, lol. I will head north to Oklahoma, east to Tennessee, on to NYC, then the UK, unless the weather gets frigid than I shall reevaluate! No chiseled in stone plans and no Lance Armstrong speed or mileage goals. Alan

Dave says:

Wow, with writing this eloquent and thoughtful, I can’t wait to read the stories you share from the road. As I leave my first comment (and thank you for the retweets), I’m in the same room at my parent’s house in northern Virginia that I slept in the night before I left home Nov 29, 2007.

I’ve come full circle – alive, healthy, happy, incredibly fulfilled, a bit tired, and feeling a strange difference in myself I can’t yet put my finger on. Enjoy every moment of the experience! 🙂

Aracely says:

Thanks for the note Dave, we enjoyed reading your stories. Congratulations on your journey. We are excited about getting on the road and sharing it all.

Kirsty says:

Congratulations are in order! It’s not an easy step to make for most people. I think it’s great too though that you made the decision after first aspiring towards and achieving career goals you set for yourself. You’ve tried on path and, right now, it’s not for you and being brave enough to step onto a whole other path is great.

I sort of seem to be gravitating *towards* NYC at the moment, but living there, even if just for a short time, is something I’ve always wanted to do… without the corner office (or any office) though!

Aracely says:

Thanks for the note Kirsty, I know I will never regret trying this out. If you have any questions on NYC, let me know.

SammyK says:

“more money can’t calm an internal calling”

So true. I’m so happy to see you run out of such a place that most people identify as their comfort zone. I can’t wait to see where your adventure takes you.

Aracely says:

Gracias Sammy!! Me encantan tus videos y seguir tus aventuras.

Aracely says:

Thanks Brian, very excited!

Daniel says:

I can completely identify where you are coming from when you write “I am both running from and going to”. While I have yet to attain that corner office, I work in a shiny office tower in a job that I am more than competent at and with a salary that’s (almost) numbed me to the point where I feel — or rather not feel — that I can stay on indefinitely. But no more. While our trip is still two years away, the die is cast and the decision is made, I, too will be dropping out of the corporate world in a search for something completely different and hopefully more fulfilling!

Aracely says:

Thanks for the message Daniel, best of luck to you, one question, I hope it’s not too personal, but why are you waiting two years?

Daniel says:

Not personal at all, Aracely. It’s just a matter of financial security, I guess. My wife and I evaluated our priorities and felt that we needed to put away for our eventual retirement. We happened upon a target figure and felt that it was achievable, if we lived frugally, within a timeframe of 30 moths — now 24. It’s a mundane reason — but they usually are!

Aracely says:

Thanks for sharing Daniel, best of luck to you and keep us posted.

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