Jobless and Searching, for Myself.
It’s not everyday you come across another person with the same career path as you when your job involves being jobless and searching for yourself. It’s kinda magical when you do. It’s like dog food for my ego just knowing that there are other people out there just as foolish as me with the same job description. There’s something exultingly enjoyable watching my bank account drain as I live life like most people would feel ashamed to do so. No I’m not ashamed, I’m proud of this decision.
I originally wrote this as a post to help you find yourself but something felt way off. I’m in no position to tell anyone else what to do, all I can share is what I have done and my experiences and feelings there from. I’m not here to preach to you what to do with your life, but if you’re curious to explore what you could do if you left your job then read on.
Finding my Compass
The first few weeks of being jobless were exciting just as the first few days of summer after the final school bell rang signaling freedom. Like all stretches of ecstasy, whether brought on by summer break or ecstasy, they wane with time and just like with having 3 months of no school you find yourself confronted with the eternal question “Well what do I do now?” I took upon starting another project immediately upon leaving my previous one which kept me busy 40% of the time. And I still had too much time, no compass, no pressing activities beyond my hobbies which included: reading, studying Russian and exercising all while smoking pot…
I was jobless and searching. One morning I woke up early, as I usually did, and started reading articles on the toilet recommended by Pocket, as I usually did. I came across one in particular – How to Invest In Yourself. This one article taught me how to build my compass for the next 26 years. 99% of the time when an article tells me to take out pen and paper, I say “yea, OK”, too lazy to force my body to follow instructions, but this time I was jobless and truly had nothing better to do than to spend 3 hours creating a list of 104 things that I am dying to do in the next 26 years (technically you’re only supposed to think up 100 but I overshot).
The TL;DR; of this article is:
Sit down with pen & paper -> Spend a couple of hours writing down 100 things that you want to do/accomplish in the next 25 years categorized by: a) Things you can do immediately like sky dive or try ayahuasca. b) Things that take a while like learning Estonian, and c) Things that require a skill like build a treehouse or win a salsa competition. Once you have your list, refine it over the next 2 weeks and if you can do 4 a year then you’ll have time to make a new one in 25 years!
No Job Doesn’t Mean No Job
It just means I’m not earning money. I’m lucky that I’m not stupid to the core. I have some money saved up that I didn’t earn via begging my parents, though I won’t turn down a free meal when they offer. I think it’s important to stay busy with work even if I don’t have an income. Who knows maybe someone will read this blog a decade from now and fancy it enough to donate a donut, but I’m actually writing because it’s on my compass list. Also to spite my adolescent self which never-ever got a good grade on a paper, I want to learn to write not poopily (I think that’s a word).
My job right now is survival and until I accidentally gamble away all my money and apartment on a gerbil race in the streets of Colombia, I have at least a half-year no problem. With that said my mind is on making a buck but not the way that way my parents and professors recommended after graduating college. I’ve had quite the opportunity to experiment with making a money/starting a business.
Since then I built Living Lesson and earned more money testing that business model in 2 weeks than I did in 17 months with my last startup. Next I got into Amazon FBA and tried private labeling bluetooth speakers from China and selling them via Amazon until I realized the deals you get for electronics from Chinese factories are shit compared to what well established retailers are selling. Hence I’m using the knowledge I got from that experience to work with T-shirt factories in Poland to produce shirts with my designs which I’ll soon release in Lithuania (where I currently am).
Still Jobless and Searching and Curious…
You’re priorities suddenly change when you have all the time in the world. It’s true you don’t appreciate it as much as when 60% of your days consist of either sitting at work, or commuting to & from it but I have time to explore new career opportunities and dark caves all the same!
As a one-time developer I can say that web developers are naturally curious, about web development, especially when your surrounded by them. When you’re in the mix, it’s hard to open your mind to what’s outside of the mix. It reminds me of a comic I recently heard that goes like:
A starfish asks a sponge “If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?” The sponge things long and hard “Anything? I would be a barnacle.”
I can relate to that sponge when I was working full-time and for all I know now I’m no more than the figurative barnacle. Now that I know that I was in a box and now I’m in a slightly bigger box, I’m dying to know what I’m failing to see. I’m grateful because this blog is an excuse for me to go out and do what I haven’t done before. I’m in a feedback cycle of my choosing.
I recently got into the book Stumbling on Happiness which goes into detail about how we perceive happiness in ourselves and misperceive how two twins adjoined at the forehead could truly be happy. Or how them getting a birthday cake could give them as much happiness as you or I winning a $100 gift card. Happiness is immeasurable as far as I can tell. With that said I’m not going to bother convincing myself that I was unhappy at my last full-time job working at Thrillist since it’s impossible to accurately convey that. I was earning a butt-ton of money but we all know the saying
It’s been a long summer break for me and my new jobless friend and we’re still jobless and searching but there’s one thing that we can certainly agree upon. We’re both happy and I for one cannot remember a happier 5 months of my life. I don’t expect to have found myself anytime in the near future but it’s never about the finding but the journey.
Your outer journey may contain a million steps; your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now. – Eckhart Tolle