The Attraction to a Life After Cubes
by Jason -- November 6, 2009
Looking at our older posts, I realized I may not have fully explained why Sharon and I quit our Silicon Valley jobs and are now planning on spending a year (minimum) traveling around Asia. I wanted to take this opportunity to explain further.
In my inspiration post I wrote about how my once-a-year 10-day vacations just weren’t cutting it. During these excursions, the people I met were often traveling for 6-months to a year and some even longer. Most of these people were from other countries, but it led me to believe that long-term traveling was something I had to try…and sooner rather than later.
So, why now?
The first factor was that, frankly, I began growing tired of my cubicle job. I thoroughly enjoyed the people I worked with, but working for a large corporation where my hard work at the end of the week really did not mean all that much, was something I realized I needed to change. If I worked my butt off and did a really kick-ass job, what did that mean for me? Not that much really—perhaps we’d sell a few more units, make a few more bucks, causing our stock price to rise a half-penny at the end of the quarter. I was ready for a career change and this trip will give me an opportunity to try my hands at working for myself. Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos.com, recently tweeted that work life balance is for people who don’t love their jobs – I agree. I want to love my job. I didn’t love my cube job.
The second factor – putting my MBA on hold. In April of 2007 I began attending Santa Clara University in pursuit of my MBA. My company paid a good chunk of the tuition, so I figured it was worth the investment. I was nearly done with my 2nd year when, because of the recession (and poor execution), my company gave us a 10% salary cut and also cut our tuition reimbursement benefit. Santa Clara is a private school and was too expensive for me to continue.
Sharon was also interested in a career change. She was working a corporate cubicle job as well, and again she liked it, but she’s always known that her true calling in life was working with kids. She had the opportunity to do that prior to the corporate job, but alas making the big bucks was too tempting and she quit and went off to cube-land. With this current transition she can now use the time to begin thinking about becoming an elementary school teacher. I’ve even encouraged her to look into getting her credential online while we travel.
The last reason we’re making this happen now is that we’re still pretty young—we have no mortgage and no kids to feed. There’s no better time than the present!
Final thought for this extremely long post: I have nothing against large corporations. Working in a cube for a large corporation certainly has its perks — I may very well end up back in one. However, for us, right now, we’re trying to start our life after cubes, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited.
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