It’s difficult for me to tell you a coherent story about the events of my life without sounding like a madman. So let me start by telling you that I’m insane. I just resigned from a well-paying job that offered me the chance to work with a lot of talented developers. It was a sudden decision too. Last week I had no intention of quitting. But this Monday I had what can be described as an epiphany. On Wednesday I informed my boss, and today was my last day. I have nothing but praise for how professionally the company handled everything.
So why did I quit? The short explanation is: I don’t know what I want. The slightly longer explanation is slightly longer, and it starts with me explaining you about my split personality. There’s two versions of me. Boring-me is the me from five years ago, from before I went to Japan and my whole life changed. Adventure-me is who I became while in Japan, a person who is generally more adventurous, social and outgoing than the old me. At least, that’s the explanation I’ve settled on to explain my behavior, because whenever I’m in Europe I feel like a completely different person from when I was in Japan. It’s probably the main reason I’m always complaining about Europe to my friends: I don’t want to be reminded of the old me. I’m still surprised how easily I got back into being boring-me after being back in Holland. I’d hoped that being in London would change that, but no.
This Monday morning I was walking to work. British people will realize there’s something wrong with that sentence, because Monday was a bank holiday. I realized that soon after I left the house, slowly waking up as I walked to work. I decided to take a random street and explore a bit when the thought got stuck in my head: my life would be better if I quit my job. I don’t usually give a thought like that a lot of time to play itself out in my head, but since I had plenty of time that morning, I explored the possibilities. What could I do if I did not have a job right now? I could try to make a living for myself on the internet, programming remotely for money, or building websites, or traveling to (less-Europe-y) countries to see more of the world, perhaps working as I go along. Each of those ideas seemed more appealing to me than my current life. On that day Adventure-me took over, looked at my life and asked me what the hell I was doing. Having nothing to hold me back I made up my mind that same day. I talked to some friends, thinking that they might talk me out of it, but they all told me to do it and tried to persuade me to join them to start a company. A pleasant reminder of why my friends are my friends. 🙂
I am not pretending that I will suddenly do great things. I know it won’t be glamorous, and I fully expect to be slacking off as much as I can. Part of the reason for quitting my job is because I want to spend more time pursuing my hobbies and personal interests. A lot of those do involve being online and being involved in programming-related things, so I think I’ll improve myself as a professional, but on my own terms. I’m going to create the perfect environment for myself to thrive in. Hopefully, as a side effect, I will make some money. We’ll see.
The future is blank again. Even next week is blank again. I managed to get out of an apartment rental contract which I was supposed to sign today. I need to get out of my current apartment on Saturday. My buddy Kamil has kindly agreed to host me while I scramble to find a cheaper place to stay in London. I intend to stay for 1 or 2 months in the UK, getting ideas for things to work on, learning things online and hopefully working on whatever idea enters my head. I dread the idea of going back to my parent’s place. Even though I spend a lot less money there, it’s too easy to let my guard down and do nothing at all when I’m there. Perhaps the pressure of renting an apartment in London will keep me on my toes. Another friend once told me to do exactly this, and I told him that staying and working from my parent’s house wouldn’t be a problem. How wrong I was. Brian, you may mock me if you read this.
The most important thing I’ve learned from this experience is that I am a lot less tolerant than I thought about what I spend my time on. Money was already pretty low on my priority list but now I learned that time is in fact number one. Not working full-time means you have 40 additional hours to spend every week, and that’s excluding the commute. Working for yourself means you can work whenever you like, wherever you like. Think of the things you could do if you had full control over your schedule. My goal is not to increase the amount of money in my wallet, it’s to increase the amount of experiences in my head. So that’s what I should be working towards. And quitting my job was the right thing for me to do.