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, 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.
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, getting buy-in and giving EOD deadlines. All that is behind me, the decks, the conference calls, the terms like BAU and bandwidth, 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.