I mentioned before that I quit my job (of 14 years) after my knee surgery(defective since birth) in order to figure out my life goals without any safety net (note to self: take a deep breath. Now!) Some might describe the whole (mis?) adventure as a mid life crisis. I won’t. At least definitely not yet.
So here’s the thing. Life goals are not as simple as they seem with the salary in place. At the time all you can see is static job, long commute and little time to do what really interests you. When you chuck it, all you see is no salary. And this is really weird to me because I got a gratuity that will last me a while. But I need the monthly top up like an addict needs his fix.
I also have another problem here. As long as I went out to work, I employed four people in various capacities. They are part of my household and it would be terribly unfair to kaato their pet just because I quit. So I have no work to do at home.
And this is driving me just a little crazy. There are voices in my head arguing like a courtroom or fish market or something.
Postive Me: Go write something. That’s what you wanted to do. Take piano lessons with the boys.
Negative Me: But everyone else is sweeping and swabbing and dusting!
Positive Me: Well you were overseeing renovations till like yesterday. And sweeping, swabbing dusting too! Besides, do you know Vikram Seth spent ten years writing A Suitable Boy? And all the time his driver and gardener were gossiping to the neighbours about him.
Negative Me: (Spotting the flaw at once) You are not Vikram Seth. And though he spent ten years at it, if you were to think in terms of his readers’ man hours of pleasure…
Self: Negative Me, shut up! Go get a PMP certification.
Negative Me: No, you go get a job!
A quick search on LinkedIn revealed that Amazon was hiring. Any IT people gulping in fear? Not me! With Negative Me breathing down my neck, I just dived off into the deep end. A few days before the interview they told I would be talking to a woman, let’s call her Wunderkind, who was their youngest Principle Engineer.
So Wunderkind has been working at Microsoft/Google type companies and doing research projects re-architecting the internet (you read that right), while filing patents for wrapping up expert-certified-impossible tasks on the side. Her hobbies include Quantum Field Theory and advanced mathematics. A quick search on quora and wunderkind was revealed as super-active respondent on Math and Physics questions of all kinds. There was one complicated algebra/calculus type thingie that she responded to thus (paraphrasing) I am ashamed to admit how much time I spent on this when I was fifteen…
Fifteen? What was I doing when I was fifteen? Practising swear words for shock value I think, and getting to hear such gems from my mother – Do you know when you call your brother that, who you are really insulting?
So anyway, that was when I gulped. What had I let myself in for? Clearly, I needed to work on my strategy. I spent the next two days trying to figure that out and finally came up with this. Walk in. Take Aashirwad. Ring imaginary bell. Walk out. I can think outside the box too, ok?
Anyhow, I went for the interview and before I knew what was happening, found myself babbling seamlessly about, for some reason, the architecture of WhatsApp. Which I know nothing about! And she didn’t even talk me into it. I just sort of started the conversation on my own. Negative me, who’d finally got her act together, was hissing, ‘Stop! Stop now!’ while Positive, no, Crazy Weirded-out Me suggested, ‘Next stop Facebook?’ Which at least, I do know something about.
Moving on quickly..
Here is my next takeaway. Go for job interviews. Like, as a hobby. On the side. Don’t worry about actually taking the job. You know, a friend of mine used to do that. She moved every five years or so. Mostly because her company had shut down – not because of her of course. She swore! The weirdest one was when she was with AOL and she quit and then found out they were shutting down anyway and she had lost all the layoff benefits! She was so upset she went and fought with her manager. Kinda like this I think ↓
And she got a used laptop out of it.
Meanwhile, life goals. The only way forward is with organization so here goes. Imaginary interview with therapist.
- Why life goals? I know two families that had early brushes with mortality. Life’s short and I need to do my thing now.
- And what you were doing before was not your thing? No! I want to do so much more. I want to spend more time with my kids. I want to turn my green ideas into a business. I want to spend time writing and do it better. I want to paint, I want to sing. What? Ok. No singing.
- Why can’t you do all this along with your job? No time.
- So you left the job. What’s the pluses? So many!
- The kids are happy to have me home! I am more relaxed and patient with them. I can supervise their homework and music practice and projects. On the flip side, they are less independent than they used to be.
- The home improvement could never have happened without me and while it was a
paintpain, the house looks nice now.
- The house runs more smoothly. There is less wastage. The kitchen garden is in good shape. We eat only freshly cooked food, nothing goes in or comes out of the refrigerator. Things are good.
- I get time to read the newspaper.
- I have been able to study. I know more about current tech than I used to. Even if I were to go back to my old job, I’d do it better.
- What’s going wrong with the plan now that you’ve quit? Go to Start and don’t collect any money ->
- What’s your plan B? Find a job, any job, close to home and cut out the commute. Salary is less important than time.
- Any risks with this plan? Any job won’t look good on my CV. And a compromised salary is a risk. Besides, will I be learning new things? I have Rip Van Winkled my way through one job for fourteen years and I don’t want to repeat that mistake. At the same time, an exciting job with lots of learning will take up all my time and I would be back to square one.
- What’s the solution then? I thought you would tell me!