I felt dead inside.
For years I tried to deny my internal truth. I went to work every day to get money. It’s all that mattered.
I ignored how it made me feel to collect the cash.
Last year I quit my job out of nowhere. For the almost 3 years I was there, I got paid well to sell tech solutions to banks. Because I used to work in a bank, I knew how the people I’d be selling to felt.
Bankers are a strange breed. They are conservative and averse to risk.
It takes a certain type of person to get through to them and make them understand. Normally one of them (like me) or an overly honest person who can speak clearly and talks in facts can do it.
That person was me so it made me feel special.
Not only did the job pay well but I got a fair level of autonomy.
- I could work from anywhere
- I could start and finish work whenever
- I could dial into meetings if I didn’t want to attend in person
My colleagues were cool too. I had lots that became personal friends who I still interact with. We’d shoot the sh*t and even hang out after work.
The company also gave me a corporate card. Part of my job was to have lunches and dinners with prospects and customers. It was expected I would take them to decent-priced establishments. So I did.
Getting paid to stuff my face with gourmet food and drink mocktails felt too good to be true. But after a while every restaurant felt the same, and I’d often feel sick afterward because of the calorie overload.
People think I’m crazy when I tell them I gave all of this up.
The future is staring you in the face
I learned a massive life hack.
If you want to know what your current job will be like in a few years if you stay, just take a look at your boss. So I did.
The best way to describe him was “the punching bag.”
The poor guy became the fall guy for everything. When the customer forced us to lower our prices, he copped it from management. When our company had a huge data breach the customer slapped him across the face.
“Give us free money, dammit, because of your mistake!”
When lots of engineers quit during the heyday of the bat virus to earn more money, he copped it.
Every day he was given unrealistic expectations and asked to meet them.
We had an outdated business model and savvy competitors that were stealing clients as if it were child’s play. He existed to work out his final days before retirement.
He looked unhappy, exhausted, used, and abused.
I could have been him. That thought kept me awake at night.
Towards the end of my time it became clear he would get fired and be replaced by another punching bag. I could probably have got his gig if I’d stuck around. That would have taken me to $500K base salary.
That sort of money is life-changing. Yet I didn’t take it.
Instead, I quit as fast as I could to get away from this nightmare.
Money is the worst motivation in history (so is comfort)
My financial needs were being met nicely, although I lost half of my paycheck to taxes.
On top of the salary I could earn huge bonuses. Stupidly, this is one reason I took the job.
In the early days when I started out in banking you could access some incredible bonuses. Often they were more than the salary. At the start they felt great but after a couple of bonuses it all felt same-same.
In my last job in tech, I did twelve times my sales target. I should have qualified for a big bonus if I’d perhaps stuck around. Yet I quit.
I felt bored. There was no real challenge. There was no mission.
The worst part is I felt so damn comfortable. I was using about 3% of my true capability and knew it. If I’d got to the end of my career on auto-pilot like this, I felt like I’d have huge regrets.
The voice inside my head kept saying “you can do more.”
That voice got louder in the final months.
What I’m doing now and how it’s going
Before I quit my final job in tech, I had an online business on the side.
At the time it was an unproven online academy. I had some data that told me I was onto something, but it was still a big risk.
Now I don’t have a job, this is what I work on full-time. The money side doesn’t matter to me as much. What matters is I get to build the business the way I want without having to ask for permission.
The direct contribution I make produces clear results. I set the mission. I interact with the customers. And I have to deal with the daily challenge of feeling uncomfortable.
It’s hard work. It tests everything I know.
I have to use skills such as sales, leadership, software procurement, recruitment, web design, social media, writing, graphic design, affiliate marketing, community management, email management, etc.
Instead of being across one tiny component of a business, I have to be across everything. The learning curve is steep and there’s no one to blame. I either fail or I succeed.
At the end of every work day I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I sleep better because I’m not being a lazy ass corporate employee.
Even if my online business fails, I will have so many new skills that my value in the marketplace will have risen significantly.
If I ever have to do another job interview it’ll be piss-easy.
“What did you do in your last job?”
The answer to that question will come loaded with case studies. I won’t have to make up nice examples or take credit for someone else’s work. No.
I can explain what I’ve done in clear terms and demonstrate an enormous number of valuable skills. I can even show screenshots from my online business to tell a story that screams “I know business, hire me biatch.”
Maybe my luck will run out. Either way, everyone should try focusing on more than money and feeling uncomfortable every day.
Perhaps that’ll produce the feeling you’ve been missing for far too long.