work diary: dips and quits

Interestingly the blog about my decision to Quit my job {read HERE} had stirred and irked some individuals.
Some of the comments left – borderline bigotry – were just not worth publishing.
Frankly, it saddens me. It’s an insult to our education system {or lack of}, and our failure as a collective society to create progressive and open minded human beings who respects and wants to preserve the right to opinion and speech.

But anyhow since I don’t exactly conduct life in shades of grey, none of it really bothers me much on a personal level but I am touched by friends who had called and the ex- who thought:
…………..(a) it’s cool that people are reacting – re.ACTION is good, like public relations
…………..(b) I was withering and sobbing away in a fetal position
…………..…………..………………..……..………………..…………well, I suppose I did grow up a lot in our 5 years plus apart!

For those who are wondering “what’s the BIG deal?”
Well, it wasn’t just about me quitting a job on Friday and jumping into the car on Monday, driving to another direction to another job.
Now, that’s not a big deal.
But it’s a big deal when the quit is about a career switch. A change in lifestyle… what I’d term as: Penelope’s re-entry re-start of 2012 

Fact is {especially for ex-colleagues and friends contemplating the same move}, I had given myself 3 months, or perhaps more accurately 20 weeks if I were to factor in the moment the fleeting thoughts came into mind and the time I had to put in the mandatory corporate sector notice period, to plan for my Penelope’s re-entry re-start of 2012 and worked towards them.
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Though what’s really crucial about this Penelope’s re-entry re-start of 2012 stage was the ability to recognise early on the descending slope leading to the ‘dip’ and the strength and ability to sort out the clutter {and ego – we’ll talk about this “ego” thing shortly} to objectively assess if the ‘dip’ I was heading into was worth sticking it out/ through.

The answer back then {and now} remains: NO 
If my previous blog entries were not enough evidence of how dark the place was, and how low I had recognised I was sinking into … well, listen, it was a bad ‘dip’.

Bad. Not fatal. 
I could have persisted and did my best, and I will come out of it good or even better than good.
In fact, every single person who stood by me and mentored me through it had said:
………..“you know, you chose not to bother or make an effort. You chose to quit on it/them. You’d fly if you put your mind to it.” 
They were right.
I made the choice rather early on… but gave due time for consideration and adjustments.
I had decided rather early to put my mind “where it mattered” very selectively to proof a point {that’s an areas of flaw/strength I will have to revisit later on}, and mostly it was based on relationship rather than impact or importance.
And admittedly most of the choices were to spite some key people.
But making the choice was the easy part:
……rationalising the QUIT was easy. 
……the act of QUIT-ing is really a totally different animal to be reckon with.
Here’s where ego comes to play.
The “what will people think?” considerations. 
The “safe face” DNA we Chinese and Asians are cursed with!
The brain washing Vince Lombardi did to our parents that: “Quitters never win. Winners never quit” 
which makes it all the harder to say: “thanks, but I am giving up. Yes, you heard right, I am a QUITTER!!!” 
or worse still…
……………….hey mom dad, listen, I am giving up on your dream”
Yes. The heart breaking one is really the last bit … and that’s what I had to do.
It didn’t help that in addition to my own family, I am blessed with another set of high achiever “extended family” who had dreams of me being at the corporate helm {or nearly at the top} like them. Them who appears on countless of public companies annual reports. Them who owns and runs public companies.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Like I said, quitting a job and embarking another one is not a big deal. 
And that’s not the nature of quitting I’m talking about or done.
To put into perspective, it’s like moving on with a relationship – quitting on a marriage – kind of quitting.
And here’s where courage is needed. Lots of it.
Let’s face it. 
If I’m doing the best at whatever it is – the mom and dad dream that is – only mom and dad cares. 
If I am the best at what I am doing, now the world listens {and I get one heck of a lot of negative chi from envious folks} … and if it so happens is also something I love best … and it makes some {not necessarily one hell of a lot} of economic sense … then, BINGO! sweet spot.
So, until and unless I quit and keep quitting at ‘dips’ that aren’t worth my time and effort to sit through, I ain’t gonna be closer to my sweet spot. So, I must QUIT! {and so should you} but some words of caution:

Be sure you see the ‘dip’ way ahead 
{i.e. do not have your back pushed against the wall – that’s the worse time to give up as your head will be fuzzy}

Be sure to have a workable plan way ahead … and yeah, pilot test it first
{i.e. it’s a solid re-entry . re-start. an impartial and objective one that gives you a shot to be the best}

Be sure you have a clue as to what you can be best at
{i.e. screw all-rounded-ness. This is as hollow an advise as that by Vince Lombardi}

Be sure you will enjoy it for a very long time and can recreate euphoria repeatedly
{i.e. your current exciting and the best ever thought about idea/ plan is not another option you came up with when you are at your lowest, or something new … hence (appears) exciting (for now)}

Be sure that you are self reliant and have the mental and emotional strength for the journey
{i.e. whoever said ‘I’ll back you’, ‘You can count on me.’ etc… well, wake up! They are the most pretentious “friends” who would clear your contact off their iPhones and iPads to make way for another hit song or YouTube video the moment you are a loafer/ pauper/ struggling to make ends meet while pursuing your dreams}

Be sure you hear out the naysayers … but keep your solid plans close to sight
{i.e. in the haystack of negativity, there’s a gem or two that may be useful ‘flags’ to tweak your plans}

Be sure to follow this guiding principle of: everyone lies
{i.e. ego overshadows humility and no one is going to admit mistake or defeat … and why do you need to ask if another person’s decision to quit was right? you are different. you are unique. you know you the best; what works for them, don’t necessarily work for you and vice versa}
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6 thoughts on “work diary: dips and quits

  1. You always knew the "slides" and rough patches are la … even back when we were selling our souls in Kuwait you knew how bad it was gonna be even when the writings were not on the walls yet. What I truly admire is your truthfulness about it to yourself and everyone.What's really stupid is no one takes you seriously and when you are sitting on your suitcase to shut it, it only hits people that you really meant it. By the time most people ship out and move on, it's too late. But you remain a source of inspiration for many and a reference to draw courage to finally act.You do change and impact environments around you, you know?As you know, I loved and hated you as a colleague. Maybe envy is the word. Fear. Insecure. Helplessness. But you know, I loved you as a person and friend. :)See ya in a few weeks – soooooooooooooooooo excited! It's been > 1 year!!!!!

  2. It's not as bad as you think Ben.I gave up my boring IT job in a MNC during the good times and everyone was against it.It's tough in the beginning and doubts creep in but always go back to Principle #1.Only you know yourself best and how to sort it out as Penelopoly has said. Keep the hedgehog mentality with the thing you are good at and want to pursue. Great sharing and well written Penelopoly.;pOh Ben, I still don't make what I used to make at the desk job but I am healtier and happier and richer in so many other ways.

  3. Most of us adopt the hedgehog for fear of insecurity and need for stability.Most of us can't get to greatness anyways… so it doesn't matter my dear.All the best! We should totally catch up and I must totally stop using the word totally especially when I am totally not a GenY.Ben

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