After more than 10 years of being a corporate worker, I finally decided to quit corporate life for good (hopefully). And I resigned from my job as a Manager in HSBC.
HSBC is not my first job. It is my 5th job.
And it wouldn’t have been my last if I had continued as a White Collar employee.
I started my career as a Software Engineer in Accenture. Then I became an IT Business Analyst, before changing industries and moving to Private Equity as an Analytics consultant and then to Banking as a Financial Analyst.
And I have had a pretty good career by conventional terms – regular increments, promotions, foreign trips and a comfortable life. All this despite working in 3 different industries, and all big organizations in their niche. Not bad, even if I say so myself.
Yet I was thoroughly dissatisfied.
In almost each and every organization.
And so I kept on changing jobs. But to no avail.
Corporate peace was a myth.
To quit corporate life was the most obvious answer. But do what instead? I couldn’t go on changing jobs indefinitely.
To quit corporate life for good is an easy decision on the surface. Entrepreneurship, crowd-sourcing and freelancing – they all sound sexy. But it is hard to implement in reality.
In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the lessons I have learned during this journey.
1. The Biggest Bottleneck is You.
All these years I had been blaming everything else. The job sucks, my manager sucks, IT sucks, Banking sucks etc.
But all along it was I who sucked. Because it was me who did not realize that I was not cut out for corporate world and its inherent bureaucracy. Some people thrive on bureaucracy, some people shrivel up and wither.
If you want to quit corporate life, you must realize that the biggest bottleneck is staring right at you in the mirror.
2. Your job does not suck. You do.
Hundreds of people are doing the same job without complaining. Some may be dissatisfied, but most people are quite content.
You need to understand who you are. What do you want in life? And then you need to answer the crucial question, Will a job help you achieve your goals?
As a typical Bengali middle-class Engineer/ MBA, I never thought beyond jobs. Career meant a nice cushy corporate job. Whether your job was boring or mundane or mechanical was foolishness and besides the point.
Anything else apart from job was unthinkable, especially ridiculous notions like how to quit corporate life.
3. Step out of your comfort zone.
A 9 to 5 job, regular paychecks, yearly increments, and promotions every 4-5 years. Plus your chair also swivels.
What more could somebody ask for?
Yet that was exactly what I dreaded.
Comfort Zone deadens the brain cells and numbs the intellect.
Stepping out of the Comfort Zone is the only option. And that is a very difficult thing to do, as long as you are not sure as to what you want. The thought of leaving this comfort zone fills one with dread.
But when knowledge dawns, immediately all delusion (maya) is gone. In the same way, when we know who we are and what we want, the notion of Comfort Zone drops away.
4. Family support is very important if you want to quit corporate life.
Unless you come from a business family or community, do not expect any family support. Your friends, family and relatives, will have no idea why you are doing what you are doing and will try to convince you of your folly.
Elders will ask you to think about your wife, husband, kids etc. People will assume the worst situation and paint a grim depressing future where you are penniless and going door to door begging for money.
Especially if like me you belong to a (joint-ish) family where almost everyone is a government employee. Changing jobs is something unimaginable for them. Leaving a job, a sacrilege. To quit corporate life, unthinkable.
You need the support of at least one family member or relative if you decide to quit corporate life.
Remember: A majority of entrepreneurship ventures started by non-business first timers fail even before they start because of lack of family support.
Read this great article from Tinybuddha on things to remember when people don’t support you.
5. Have a support group of like-minded people.
A close group of like minded friends or colleagues is essential if you decide to start your own venture. You don’t have to partner with them, but just knowing that you have close friends or colleagues who are thinking along the same lines as you is comforting.
In my case, I am lucky to have a close circle of similar minded people at work, and we appreciate what each other is doing. While what we may end up doing could be completely different, and while our working styles may be varied, our core philosophy is the same.
That is it then. I have no idea what the future holds as I quit corporate life and move on to other pursuits. I have some vague idea on what I want to do. Have to see how things work out.
Ultimately, man proposes and God disposes.
Do share your comments and let me know your thoughts. Thanks in advance for your comments and likes.
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