For those who don’t know me, I used to have a more traditional career. I worked in sales, as a key account manager for big international companies. I did so for about 10 years, jumped on the wagon right after graduation.
The last 3-4 years I’ve been getting really bored at work and I started to wonder a lot if this was IT. You know, if this was what I really wanted. What made me happy, what motivated me to get up in the morning. Why I was earning money for other people (the shareholders) and not putting more effort in earning my own money? And as time went by, the idea that my current career choice was maybe NOT the best path for me, started sticking. A small tickle in the back of my head was born. Or maybe it has always been there, but I started to listen 💡
I had created a small start-up with a friend back in 2011, which we sold about a year later. It wasn’t particularly successful, but it was very exciting and we did manage to get our money back from it. However we never actually quit our 9-to-5 jobs (that’s part of the reason why it didn’t grow to be successful IMO). And as they say:
The longer you work, the bigger your golden cage becomes! 😮
The ‘golden cage’ is a metaphor for all the benefits and comforts you’ve earned/established for yourself in your corporate job. The security of getting paid at the end of the month, the nice car, the cellphone, meal vouchers, insurances etc …
However this system is designed to keep you inside the cage. It becomes so shiny, you don’t actually feel it’s there. But it’s there. Defined by your employer and polished to perfection by the system surrounding you. 😐
As an example, just image being fired from your job. No more salaries, no more car, no more benefits. How will you continue to afford your apartment? How will you put food on the table every night? FEAR COMES INTO PLAY 😮 Outside the golden cage is a big ocean of clouds of fears. So you want to stay inside, where it’s safe and warm! And so you continue in this endless cycle 😀
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy the comfort of a steady job. I’m only pointing out that it takes a lot of courage to break that cycle and see beyond the clouds of fear. And I lacked that courage for a long time 😕 I’ve always had ideas and loved watching YouTube videos or TED talks on entrepreneurship, but in the end I was still looking for excuses to stall my decision. Changing jobs to earn even more money. And so my golden cage grew with it.
Until one day I came across a book called “The 4 hours work week” by Tim Ferriss. First published back in 2007, it topped the New York Times bestselling list for a long time. I was a late adopter as I only read the second edition in April 2018. Now this book grabbed me by the balls from page one. It felt like it was written especially for me. Of course it wasn’t 😀
It’s very addictive though and while I was reading the last chapters, I was on a sailing trip in Croatia. Great trip btw! 😉 The other guys were laughing at the ideas presented in the book, as they couldn’t believe them. Golden cage and clouds, remember … now I was perhaps still a bit naive, my nose still glued to the pages, but the “4 hours work week” had definitely changed the way I looked at the professional world. And how things were done, traditionally
Our educational system is wired to teach us how to follow the rules and be a good employee. How to run in the corporate treadmills. We don’t learn how to start an actual business and fail big time – there is little room for failure in general 😳 , how to get back up and make some real money and how to invest that money. All of this goes against the system. And the system doesn’t like that. Haha 8) Luckily for me, I have a tendency of doing things my way, even if it means going against the system. My former colleagues will surely attest to that 😆
As of that moment, on that epic sailing trip, my mind had been opened. I’ve been looking online for more answers, everything you ever wanted to know is there. 2 months later, that pondering had led to the decision to quit my job and go on a world trip. Go out and explore, discover new things. With my girlfriend 🙂
I love traveling and this world trip would force me to get out and away from my golden cage. It would force me to think about myself and what I really like doing. It would clear my head of any excess baggage. A clear cut, just what I need.
Are you curious as to where this path is leading me professionally? SO AM I … 😉 😉