The Attraction to a Life After Cubes

by Jason -- November 6, 2009

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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, 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.

Be awesome and help us share:

4 Responses to “The Attraction to a Life After Cubes”

  1. Jason, I think you and Sharon are very brave to take on the opportunity to explore Asia. In fact, your planning and execution to make it happen is incredible. I know lots of people want to do the same but would not take the action. You are truely admirable. I’m sure the travelling will give you the experience like no other, even if you have to go back to cubeland one day.

    As for work, I hear that China is always in need of English teachers. Sharon wants to work with kids, and you are both native English speakers. I might be able to find out more information if you are interested.

    Now I wish I had a chance to talk to you before we both left the company.

  2. hi,sharon&jason! glad to see your new post. bit worried when i didn,t see new for few days. hard to catch you on skype too!! enjoy!^^

  3. Hi mom! Sorry but our internet at this hostel has been terrible since Tuesday, so we have to struggle just to get online. I also was wondering if you could find out how much it would cost to send a small package (maybe even just one of those padded envelopes) to me in China? How much would it cost to ship it here within a week?

    Thanks mom! I miss you! I got homesick really fast and we have SO many mosquito bites that it makes me miss home even more.

  4. Hi Vivian,

    Thanks so much for the nice response! We have most certainly been thinking about trying our hand at teaching English. We were thinking about doing it while we’re in South Korea.

    Thanks again,

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