As I write this, it’s 1:24 am on the 7th of Jan, 2017. I’m currently sitting in the Cheng Du International airport waiting for my connecting flight back home to Melbourne and my mind is clear as ever. Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve travelled through Taiwan and China where I’ve eaten some of the most amazing food Taiwan has to offer, rode a two-person bike across the Xi’An wall whilst the sun set and checked out the Terra Cotta Warriors, all whilst keeping up to date on my work.
I know, it sounds cliché and almost like one of those adverts you see on Facebook about some dude who quit their job to do some pyramid scheme and is now travelling the world. Well, I can assure this isn’t the same. All those posts talk about the cool things that happen after you’ve hit success, what I want to talk about is the actual feeling when I quit my job after 10 years of corporate.
Let me start by saying that quitting a stable job to chase something unknown is extremely hard. And so it should. I can’t say it was all me, I’ve had a lot of support from my fiancé in supporting my decisions and giving me the confidence I needed to make that step and continue pursuing the decision. And although this moment was such a joyful occasion, I’m still very thankful for the time I had in the corporate world and wouldn’t change it if I could. I’ve met some incredible people along the journey, learned some amazing things and can honestly say I wouldn’t be the man I am today without experiencing the influence and frustrations of the 9-5 life.
The night before:
The night before was one of the most nerve-racking nights I’ve ever experienced. I won’t lie, one minute I was confident, the next minute I was doubting myself: how could I ever quit? You play this back and forth game trying to convince yourself to quit, then quickly convince yourself to stay. A ride of emotions come over and the fear of doubt swarms over you completely. Needless to say, I got all of one-hour sleep that night.
The day of:
Game day, game face on. On the way to work everything was quiet. My mind was silent and by that time, I just wanted to get in and get it over and done with. As soon as I got into work, the nerves took over again and I found myself playing the game of ‘when is the right time?’ Finally, I worked up the courage, sat my manager down and just started speaking. Once it started, it just flowed. It felt right and I let it all out.
The day after:
Silence and relief. I kept saying to my self, “you did it”. I worked the rest of the day eager to go home and the moment I got home the second wave of doubt hit. Did I seriously just quit my job? What am I going to do? “I can’t believe I just quit my job” was pretty much all that came out of my mouth for the rest of the night. Lucky for me, my fiancé kept reassuring me it was the right decision.
The last day:
Out of all the moments, this is by far my most important and outstanding memory. Walking to work, everything was beautiful. I took everything in, knowing it was the last time. I got into work, sat at my desk, and I remember feeling completely relaxed. I was appreciative of the time I’d had. I looked out the window and my familiar surroundings, just listening to the usual office noise and take it all in. I cleaned up my desk, said my good byes and started walking to the door. I pushed the elevator button and headed down into the lobby. With goosebumps all over my skin, my heart hadn’t stopped thumping since I woke up. I started walking through the lobby and smelt the coffee in the air. I focussed my gaze on the double doors which take me outside. As I approached, I slowed down, and with both hands on both doors I pushed them open with deliberate strength. The fresh air hit me right in the face, my chest was high and that first step outside cemented everything. I walked through the sea of suits looking up at the sky and smiling. I didn’t look back. 10 years in corporate, it’ll do some things to you. For me, that was the moment I became free.