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Why I Left My High-Paying Corporate Job

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Do you need a change in life and feel scared? Life change is hard. But you can take experimental approach to life to minimise risks. Work on changing your lifestyle gradually. Start by identifying main areas of life you are seeking to change and take it from there.

A women thinking about life change outside the cafe
Afraid to change your life? Taking experimental approach might be the answer
If you quit and leave everything behind now, you still have a chance to live a happy life.

In my previous post, Introduction to life experiment, I made a parallel between my experiment and what businesses do when they innovate. They run experiments to test whether something is worth investing in.

I have a few ideas about how I want to change my life that I am going to test in a series of experiments over the next 12 months. I divided those in 3 main life buckets:

  1. Country & physical microcosm – this one is about ‘having’

  2. A career or a portfolio of careers that brings fulfillment, income and satisfies my level of ambition – this one is about ‘doing

  3. And last, but definitely not least, what truly matters to me and who do I want to be – this one is all about ‘being

Those 3 buckets are pretty generic and I am sure everyone has been there – trying to figure it all out. I decided to look at it all in one go.

My goal is to figure out what exactly matters to me as opposed to what I am trained to believe or what those around me expect.

I am then looking to design the kind of life that works for me. Again, as opposed to the templates that are available to the masses (aka go to university, get a job, get married & have kids, game over).

Here are my considerations for changing my life by area.

1. Bucket Country / Culture

I know London (where I am currently based) stopped working. I work 60+ hours a week and spend over an hour commuting every day. I live in a small studio apartment which costs me half of my way above average London salary.

Gail's bakery in Hampstead in London
While London is a wonderful city, it's expensive, crowded and it's easy to get overwhelmed

Transport, food and other ridiculously high costs eat away the rest. It is crowded, loud and generally crammed. I am in a constant ‘flight or fight’ mode and a few months ago I just stopped sleeping. For a month. Up to a point where I started forgetting about very important meetings or paying for my morning coffee at Pret.

Not fun. ‘But there is so much to do in London’, my friends say. There is indeed and I love London. It’s one of my favourite places in the world. But when there is no time or energy to enjoy London, it stops making sense.

Maybe later in life with a different set up it will work again, but for now I want to explore what else is out there.

2. Bucket: career

I knew my Company (large consulting firm the name of which I don’t believe I can disclose) although great money – didn't really fulfil me either.

I was a strategy and innovation lead and did really cool projects.

Like helping multimillion-dollar companies figure out their strategy and direction or what products and services they should be offering. My job was high-status, intellectually stimulating and well paid. ‘What is wrong then?’, you will ask.

Here I have 3 main reasons (I love things in 3’s, don’t I).

1. Firstly, it’s lack of personal freedom.

There are plenty of rules, hierarchy, useless meetings and so on. You are expected to be a certain way and behave in a certain way. While this one is understandable, it is daunting. Especially for a rebel like myself.

2. Secondly, although the pay is above average, it is not a place where one becomes a millionaire. And I want to give myself a chance.

3. Lastly, and most importantly, it’s against my core values. What we did at a Company is help large rich organisations become larger and richer. This is the problem with modern capitalism – we work more to produce more to consume more to work more and so it goes.

I fundamentally disagree with the notion of continuous growth (which is all of my clients were obsessed about).

We are not limitless – we, human beings, have limits.

Our planet’s resources are not infinte either. I fundamentally believe we should consume less and work less. And hence I want to explore what else is out there that will fulfil my intellectual curiosity, my level of ambition and income potential.

3. Bucket: who do I want to be.

Ok, I am not going to get all existential here, but I want to learn how little do I need to be happy. I have a hunch that the more stuff (material and nonmaterial) you have, the more you hold on to them. Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful clothes, furniture, good food, luxury holidays and all that.

But I want to see for myself – if I don’t have a fancy job and all of my stuff with me all the time, I can still survive and maybe even thrive.

Then when I do have all the stuff back in my life, it’s out of choice, not necessity. Will I succeed in getting somewhere better than where I am now? I might, I might not. I accept that. What I don’t want to accept is living my perfect little life with the nagging voice inside my head asking – ‘What if?’

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