I quit my job and broke up with my girlfriend.

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.

Pain Avoidance

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.

Rewind…

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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.

New destiny

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.

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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.

Clarity

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.

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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…

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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?

  1. Play – What do you enjoy?
  2. Skills – What are you good at?
  3. Bills – What pays the bills?

I enjoy

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.

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Personal Training

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.

…It 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.

Fast forward…

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.  ;)

santa-monica-pier-sunset

How to Align Your Life for Success

I want to do the work I was put here to do.

I’ve been researching what my favorite bloggers do and recommend.  Jeff Goin’s best advice on blogging is to be yourself.  Steve Pavlina says to let your audience see the real you.  There’s no debate about getting personal.

I’m tired tonight.

I’m tired tonight but not sure why.  I didn’t get enough sleep Sunday night but I made up for it last night.  I worked all day but work has been boring as usual.  It’s a great time for research, coding, and thinking about what to write about tonight.  But I feel too tired to get excited about anything tonight.

I feel a bit depleted and I’m concerned that I may not have the resources to refill this part of my soul faster than it’s being drained by my job.  I’m an engineer that wants to be a web developer that wants to be financially free so I can write, travel and change the world.  There are so many things I wish I could do with my time, but I’m stuck at work for most of the week.

What do you want from life?

Life is about discovering yourself, embracing your true purpose and doing your life’s work.

Anyone that seems like they’re happily living an aimless life is a good actor or accomplishing absolutely nothing with their lives.  It’s not that I don’t want to work anymore.  I want to do the work I was put here to do.

I remind myself that my circumstances are intentionally chosen steps on a path towards my vision for an ideal future.  My future has never been more clear than now.  And I don’t mean I’m stuck.  I mean I finally know exactly what I want.  I finally know how I’m going to get there.

Self Discovery

We’ve all achieved and function at different levels of self-awareness.  All of us can benefit from time alone, but those just beginning their journey will benefit most from experience, isolation and self-reflection.  If you’ve lived a sheltered life it’s time to break away from your parents, get out and see the world and try new things.  Your assumptions will be challenged, your ignorance exposed, and in learning about the world you will actually be discovering yourself.

For those with a wealth of experience, it’s time to get in touch with yourself.  Find time to be alone and get sensitive.  Block out the world for a while.  Turn off the TV, tell your friends and family you’re going away for a while, then don’t go anywhere.  Be with yourself.  As the constant barrage of propaganda and imposed assumptions fade to distant echoes you will be left undeniably with yourself.

You will feel empowered with a confidence that comes from knowing yourself.

When you return to your normal routine you will feel anything but normal.  You will feel empowered with a confidence that comes from knowing yourself.  This is your first step on the path to discovering your life’s purpose.

Alignment

Now that you’ve developed a sense of true meaning for your life, your real work has just begun.  You will be confronted by challenges and demons but you will be motivated like never before.  You will face opposition and upset.  Now is more important than ever for a healthy lifestyle, personal development and support from your friends and family.

I’ll spare you a million cliches about sharpening your axe and preparing for battle and invent one about a lab.  You’re a scientist and you’ve discovered your life’s work.  It’s time to acquire the tools that you need for the job.  You’re going to need capital resources and suppliers, lab assistants and a plan.  So much to do, so little time.  Invest wisely.

Now that you’re more in touch with yourself you may be less susceptible to distraction and social pressure.  You may notice that you feel more connected to some of your friends and less tolerant of others.

Some people may energize and inspire you while others leave you drained.  It’s time to recognize that you have a calling and not everyone is going to support your dreams.

Positive Influence

Never is it more important to surround yourself with positive people than when you need the reinforcement.  Most of us already have jobs and responsibilities and habits that fill our days.  Embracing your calling and transitioning into alignment with your purpose will involve a lot of changes.  It will be stressful and tiring.  You have no time for vampires, nay-sayers and toxic personalities.

At this point in my journey, I’m spreading myself too thin – I admit it.  I have a full-time job, a part-time consulting gig, web development coursework and projects, a committed relationship and now this blog.  The friends I’ve left behind would say I’m crazy.  The close friends I have commend and support me.

It’s nights like these when I’m feeling overwhelmed that are best for self-reflection.  I make sure my priorities are in order.  I consider my habits and the people in my life.  I align myself with my purpose.  And the article writes itself.