Last week a co-worker of mine announced his resignation. After nearly seven years of working in the IT industry he was bored, burned out and looking for change. I wasn’t surprised by his announcement. He told me about his plans to leave the company over lunch one afternoon a few months ago.
Our company made him absolutely miserable. He tried to find ways to make things better, but in the end he decided to give up on the IT industry and head out on a new adventure. He didn’t just wake up one morning and quit his job. He spent a good deal of time formulating a plan that would enable him to live for a year without a paycheck.
He moved out of his solo apartment and into a cheaper place where he shared rent and other living expenses with a roommate. He found ways to cut back on every day expenses and saved the remainder of his paycheck. He plans to travel outside of the United States, so he estimated how much he’ll need to live abroad and announced his resignation after he felt like he’d saved enough money.
Over the next year he’ll fly from one continent to the other, exploring the world and journaling about his experiences. He may take on small paying positions, like teaching English in foreign countries, but for the most part he plans to live on the money he saved for the last year and a half.
Like many of us, he suffers from the ‘what am I supposed to do with my life’ syndrome and he plans to take this year to consider the possibilities and find something to do that really excites him. Honestly, I can’t believe he’s following through on his dream to travel the world for a year.
I know so many people who are absolutely miserable in their lives. People who talk constantly about finding new careers, making major life changes, doing something exciting with their lives, but somehow or another there is always an excuse not to take action.
In fact, when my coworker’s resignation was announced the room lit up with naysayers and sourpusses. One woman said, “Of course he can take off. He has no responsibilities. He’s not married, he doesn’t have children. He doesn’t even have a mortgage.” With that one comment the rest of the room exploded into one negative comment after another. A list of excuses as to why all of my fellow coworkers can’t follow their dreams.
I really admire my coworker for throwing in the towel on the IT world in an effort to find a job with more substance and meaning. Over the years I’ve met a lot of people who talk about leaving the rat race, but he’s the first I’ve ever known to walk out the door. When his money runs out he may return to a similar position at a new company, but for at least a year he can think about anything and everything other than computers.