This is only part of my story from the Corporate Rebel Series. Check it out if you are a corporate rebel looking for ways to live more like how you want your life to be!
I was 25 years old when I got laid off during a merger during the great recession. I knew it was coming. I welcomed the severance and unemployment. I was done with the corporate world.
Truthfully I’d been done with the corporate world since my second day in the office. I never felt at home in a cubicle. I never felt like I could be myself at work. And therefore I was constantly living disingenuously. I constantly felt that pang from slowly switching off my soul.
Years before I was laid off, I would stand next to windows in the conference rooms during meetings just so I could stare out at the beautiful blue sky and palm trees (I moved to Los Angeles for a 'great gig’)… knowing I wouldn’t get to see the sun that day.
After a day when I literally sat in my chair clicking my inbox refresh button for hours, I realized I wasn’t living my life. It might be a first-world problem… but it’s still a problem to live a soulless, feeble life for nothing but a paycheck and a future raise (that I felt deep down would never materialize for my generation). That is what they mean when they say money can’t buy happiness.
A line from Hamlet came to my mind about 6 months into my job… "To be or not to be. That is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them?"
To rebel. To take arms against. Even if it’s just in my mind. To really BE.
I began doing little things to rebel. Wearing clothes I thought fit my personality. Putting funny quotes on the wall next to me forcing passers by to giggle. Starting a company dodgeball team. Taking long walks at lunch without my work phone. Just generally BEing more myself.
It was innocuous at first, but it was a test of the waters. Soon I was writing a novel and playing logic games and studying for a wine certification in my free time. Oh, I was still getting work done… it just wasn’t my priority anymore… I was. I became my priority.
And then I began to see that maybe I was simply a seed in the wrong soil. I was learning, growing, and building things… but not for the benefit of the company. The company didn’t care about me anyways (this is the “attitude” problem millennials have - but can you blame us after the corporate D-Day we’ve witnessed? Companies sink and the “leadership” usually don’t care about the employees who have been rowing below decks… yes, that’s a Ben Hur callback, thank you very much).
So in 2010 I became a refugee and a rebel from the corporate world. It took me several years to learn what I needed to know in order to survive out here in the resistance as an entrepreneur, international keynote speaker, and finder of personal freedom.
Here are the top 3 things I would do differently if I knew then what I know now.
1. Go to grad school overseas, immediately, for anything. It’s mostly free in Europe, it’s a great way to see the world, and you walk away having invested some time and money in yourself during a recession.
2. Invest your money in land/property where people like to visit. The leverage from property ownership is the most powerful to have and the most difficult to liquify.
3. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, don’t build content first, build powerful PRODUCTS first. Learn how to build online courses, practical workshops, high-end service offerings, and books. Content is King, but with no products to sell, your content is like an emperor with no clothes.
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