“Don’t be afraid of being different; be afraid of being the same as everyone else.”
No really, I did. My friends still don’t believe me.
As a 20 something year-old young professional slouched at my investment-banking job in New York City, I lazily looked around the office. Surrounded by dozens of frowning figures in their mid 30’s, my life flashed before my eyes. Is this how a quarter life crisis feels? I left the building.
Two weeks ago I flew across the pond to Europe with a group of friends. We ate tasty food, drank, mingled with locals and relaxed. We enjoyed a music festival in Berlin for a few days before heading to Barcelona. On the last night, I found myself by the beach smoking a hand rolled cigarette with a buddy voicing our dreams.
Not enough people talk openly about their dreams. We discussed my friend’s true passion music and how he felt unsettled that he stopped (after experiencing mild success) upon graduating. He mentioned his fellow musicians he recorded with are being rewarded from sticking with it.
On the flip side, he just landed his dream job at a prestigious Finance company he envisioned working at for years, having beat out extremely well qualified candidates. Puzzled over his unhappiness and discontent, it dawned on him that music is his passion and he must pursue it, which resonated with me.
Returning to the United States the conversation by the beach still rang in the back of my head – I want to be a creator. I woke up early before work the next day and began my morning routine: I went to the gym, showered, brushed my teeth and dragged myself out the door. The train station was slammed with crowds of people thanks to delays and within minutes I was drenched in sweat (damn you MTA). It was a ho-hum start to my Monday morning in Manhattan.
I remember feeling the slightest sensation that its good to be back when I reached my building. It didn’t last. Nobody talks to each other before lunch on my team, so I quietly sat down and logged in. At 9:15, I was swiftly scrolling through hundreds of emails – not one concerning me. By 9:30 I knew today was the day.
I’m keenly aware of my personal aspirations and entrepreneurial spirit, but the allure of salary and a steady job kept me treading the corporate waters. Until now…
I can confidently say I hung up the phone and disappeared in the WORST possible manner. Below is a guide on how NOT to quit your job and pursue your dreams:
- Don’t leave in the middle of the day: Near lunchtime, my manager swung by my desk and mentioned we were switching gears on what we were working on prior to vacation and blah blah blah. I would’ve left sooner, but my MealPal wasn’t ready until 12.
- Don’t put in your 2 weeks: I was gone for 2 weeks on vacation and when I returned nothing needed my attention. I felt a tinge of guilt, but also huge relief. I did breach my employee contract though so hopefully that doesn’t come to bite me.
- Don’t let your employer know you left work: My employer got frightened when I vanished midday. I received a text from my manager asking if everything was OK. I said I had a personal matter until I formally resigned the next morning. Lesson learned – Oops!
- Don’t beat around the bush: The explanation I gave my employer for my resignation was vague, leaving them confused and attempting to persuade me to take as much time as needed and come back.
- Don’t quit without a backup plan: The general rule of thumb is to never quit your job unless you have another one lined up. While my decision to quit willy-nilly may seem impulsive, this is something I had “prepared” for a long time.
- Don’t screw over coworkers: I managed to adhere to this one. Everything I was tasked with was handed down from and delegated to me from my manager. He can handle it.
- Don’t burn bridges: I torched that shit.
While I’m not happy with the way I left – I’m Zen with my decision and I’m free.
Not enough people talk about their dreams and what they truly want to accomplish in life. What are your dreams? What would happen if you dropped everything and went for it?