What a week…
Loss Aversion and the Sunk Cost Fallacy
We hate to lose something we’re invested in. It’s even harder to choose to walk away from a significant, complex aspect of our lives into which we’ve poured our hearts and souls.
We’ve stayed longer than we should in dead-end jobs and unhealthy relationships. I’m not opposed to perseverance but when you know it’s time to move on you need to make the tough call and cut your losses.
My girlfriend and I gave it our all. We learned a lot. We grew by leaps and bounds. I don’t regret a minute of our time together.
But after a while I realized that I was choosing the small downsides of staying in the relationship because I was afraid to face the monster of leaving the woman I loved.
I was going to change the world
A passion for learning helps but that’s not why I did so well in school. I worked hard and got top grades because I was going to change the world. Change the world by day and love the world by night.
Reality set in
But after college reality started to settle in. I was crushed under the useless bore of corporate pseudo-work. After a few measly well-paid years, I crawled home to live with my parents like the rest of my hopeless generation.
I needed to rediscover myself and redefine my destiny. This wasn’t your average goal-setting exercise. This was a desperate guess-and-check of total life-perspective overhauls by a deeply wounded soul.
I started my own company and considered becoming the world’s best doctor super-dad. I took pre-med courses at Harvard and dated a pretty pre-med student with an impressive resume.
At least I tried
In the end my business-partner screwed me and I realized that medicine was no different than engineering. It was just another path of challenging classes rewarded by a life-long career of monotony and under-appreciation.
After trying a few new dreams on for size it finally hit me. The tiny voice of personal truth spoke up inside me. It wasn’t loud but it was clear.
I want to live in Southern California.
I knew I wasn’t going to stay in my homeland ripe with massholes and horrid weather. I missed the sunshine, beautiful fruits and wild nuts of my birthplace and destiny – Southern California. But it took years for that quiet honest voice of clarity and certainty to whisper to a tired ear – it’s time to go.
Caulk your wagon and manifest destiny…
I need a job
So there I was in Long Beach with a Camry and half a dream. I was burning money and accruing massive debt. I needed a job.
I’m the first to tell you why you should never get a job, but I’m also a realist. We aren’t all starting our journey with no bills, debt-free and a trust fund from our late Uncle Moneybags.
Does anyone actually want to work?
It’s not that we don’t want to work. We don’t want to be useless lazy dropouts. We want to do what we want to do. We want to do the work we want to do.
You have heard this before in many different ways. What are you supposed to do? Do the work you were put here to do and you align your life for success.
How to choose a career?
I enjoy working out, chess and web development. That’s the short G-rated list.
I’m a great personal trainer and private sessions pay pretty well. I beat most of the guys at the local chess club but that’s not saying much. I’m a decent web developer and I love learning but I didn’t have any professional experience.
I got certified as a personal trainer and started training clients at LA Fitness in Long Beach. I loved the job and my clients loved me but it barely covered my protein shakes – even after the employee discount. I needed more money.
Engineering in the Desert
I got an offer for am engineering job with a big corporation in the desert. It couldn’t have been more similar to the job that crushed my soul just a few years earlier.
…I took the job.
This time would be different
I was careful to identify the key reasons this would be better than my last experience. At the top of that list was knowing that I wasn’t going to stay, but I would give it a fair chance. I could stay for a few years and get a free master’s degree. It couldn’t hurt.
I spent months waiting for a clearance that never came. On the bright side, I’m the best thumb twiddler you ever did see. Just like after my last corporate gig.
Passions don’t quit
During that time I never quit my passions. I stayed in shape, played chess on my phone, studied and worked on web development projects like 130words.
After a few months of fair chance and crazy boredom at my job, I updated my web development resume and started responding to recruiters.
I’m happy to announce
Today was my last day as an engineer at corporate.
Next week I begin my career as a professional web developer.
And I’m moving back to the beach.