It’s been 3 months since I walked out the doors of Intel for the last time.
I had always pictured myself flying out of the building at the end, shouting “FREEEEEEEDOMMMM!!!!!” But it didn’t quite go that way.
The moment I stepped out, I panicked. What have I done?? I wanted to turn around and beg them to take me back. I’ve made a huge mistake!!
I’d had an exit interview with my boss’s boss’s…boss’s boss. I kept wishing there was something he would do or say, to make me want to change my mind and stay. He asked me where I was going. I shrugged. I got nothing.
He couldn’t understand. My friends, coworkers, and family couldn’t understand. Why didn’t you wait until you had something else lined up? they asked. Because my time is worth more than that. I was scared, but I had to pretend that I wasn’t. I was surrounded by enough opponents that even the slightest falter in confidence would have left me susceptible to their rationales.
A number of friends confided that they, too, wanted to leave their jobs. But I can’t be unemployed, they lamented. I won’t be able to get a girlfriend/boyfriend/[who am I kidding? It’s always a girlfriend]. Unfortunately, this is true. Being unemployed does make it difficult to get a girlfriend. Being unemployed also makes it difficult to get a yacht. But why would you want a yacht? They’re expensive and require attention and maintenance, and you always worry about whether they love you back. Yachts are only fun for the first few weeks. At the end of the day, the best-case scenario is that you end up approximately as happy as before. More likely, the yacht will take your money and leave you miserable.
You don’t need the things you think you need. I learned from wasting my soul in a cubicle that it’s better to be time-rich and cash-poor than the other way around. People think that if they work hard enough, eventually they’ll have both. Only at 65. These days, I’m earning something between minimum wage and indentured servitude. I may never be able to get a yacht, but who cares?