Our employment system is so erm backward that I’ve had to actually write about this. I mean is this what people associate freedom with? Having to leave your job, the only source of income to fulfill your urge to travel and explore. Is that how unforgiving society is, that you can’t extract one or two months at a stretch out of your life just for yourself? And then when Independence Day arrives, we head out with flags to celebrate independence! If you think you’re free, then you’re either fooling yourself or you’re not aware of the real meaning of it. Or, you just have a totally false perception of it altogether. Frankly speaking, I don’t know if the colonial rule has ended in India, it has just glorified itself. In the actual colonial rule, the pillars of culture, self confidence and sovereignty were first shattered so that for us to come up again, we’d need foreign interference. In the process, our definitions of freedom, concept of a living, ways to earn money were totally manipulated. It was easy to do so to a sheep like population that believed in the concept of ‘anything that is foreign must be superior’, be it food, clothing, ideology, entertainment or even AIDS and Cancer! You can see the effects even today and in fact, they are penetrating deeper and deeper to spread the dirt.
When I noticed and researched all this, I was awed but later on, I wasn’t. Nobody talks about this, nobody raises a word here, people have gotten used to such oppression and take orders blindly. What’s easier than brainwashing a population not capable of critical thinking using fear, media in the interest of corporate greed? Sharpening a pencil would be more difficult! And, I also believe that if you’re in misery as a result of your brainwashing, then you probably deserve it because that might do the job of making you realize about how brainwashed you are. You may not completely understand what I’m saying now, you may do in a couple of years though. But if you do understand it completely, well then congratulations to you.
Coming back to quitting you job, well the concept of ‘career’ to me is quite blurry and non-sensical. If it was a real thing, then a lot of the uneducated people wouldn’t be billionaires today. It’s like the concept of time that’s created by humans, it doesn’t really exist but people think it exists. ‘Career’ is one of those false notions created by corporations and institutions that people take so seriously and compromise a LOT in their life. People anyways take anything illusionary too seriously but we can keep that subject for another day. The first rule of getting a job is whether or not your really like doing such stuff. It’s a bit weird to be working according to someone’s plans that don’t make sense, especially if the action is backed by ego. Secondly, it is highly important to have a good employer. In my 3.5 years of work life, I’ve reported to a male manager afraid of women, a woman frustrated with her personal and professional life so she treated everyone similarly and a couple of other managers who just loved pleasing their ‘foreigner managers’. A lot of workaholic people believe in having a work-life balance for the sake of it. I’ve met some who think of having a work life balance as celebrating festivals and holidays with family and that’s it! They don’t like doing anything else. And yes, a lot of those do not have a passion in life. I think such people would be really lucky to live long.
I’m not against hard work and I’m not against development. But it would be great if we could revisit the definitions of both those terms. Hard work is important, it is okay to stretch sometimes but not all the time at the cost of personal and family life. Period. Development is not building bus stops, airports and toilets! Development is not just about coming up with more apartment complexes and concrete jungles, what are you going to do with all that? See what’s happening in the so called developed countries? That’s what happens when you only focus on materialistic requirements and behave like sheep. I see India headed in that direction too. All that I see when I travel is forest land being converted into agricultural land, agricultural land being converted into industries and apartment complexes and there seems to be no end to this. Why can’t we be like Bhutan, feel proud of our diversity, differences, culture and languages while only focussing on things that make our lives happier, than looking up to developed countries, focussing on stuff that makes our lives more complicated, expands our ego and turns us Into psychos? I feel development should be such that it helps you identify what’s important in life and what’s not, how much of onus needs to be given on materialistic ambitions vs things that you really need. We need to stress on having experiences that move people than having things! In addition, something that ruins the ecological balance of a nation as a result of ‘developmental activities’ cannot be termed as development. Killing in the name of profits would be a better caption!
The thought of quitting my job came up when the moment of doing my dream trip from Bangalore to Ladakh had arrived, a trip that I dreamed of doing for many years. When I had all resources in hand to do begin this journey, I didn’t have enough leaves in hand to spend on a month long adventure. I could not afford to postpone the trip either since the odometer reading on my motorcycle would have got too high for a long adventure tour and another reason being my unwilligness to wait for another year. When the mountains calls, they ensure you arrive quickly. Consequently, the only option I had was to resign from work, which I did a week before the motorcycle tour commenced.
I just had in hand, money for the ride and a little bit of my savings that I used up after I returned. However, the time I had on this 7700 kms solo ride to the Himalayas cannot be compared to any other experience in my life. Probably it was the inspiration I received from the mountains to stand strong and stay still, no matter what came my way . I had no plans of what I’d do after returning from Ladakh as I was confident of getting another job. So I left it to the mountains to give me some ideas on what I could do in the future and focused on the ride. While on my way back from Ladakh, I got my answer on what I should pursue next while having a conversation with my cousin named Jay, in Mumbai. He could identify my strengths and hence suggested me to pursue something that I was already doing as a freelancer. He seemed very convincing too and made a lot of sense. Thanks to him for putting that seed into my head!
After a month of travelling, I reached home on 20 July and took nearly 3 months to get a job. I used up most of my savings in that duration but that period helped me in choosing the kind of work I should be doing, the kind of companies I should look out for and of course, the kind of employer I should be working for. I did improve my freelancing skills too in that period and added that to my work experience. In terms of company size, I refrained from working for big MNC’s because of various reasons, especially American companies. One reason being my unwillingness to help such companies earn profits, a chunk of which goes to the US government that uses the same money to bomb hospitals and schools in countries like Iraq and Syria. So I focused on searching in medium sized Indian companies and established startups related to my interests.
I spoke to a lot of the startup owners, understood their idea of doing business and whether they were ethical and matured in their thinking process. I advise a lot of job seeking people to be wary if they’re joining startups as it is highly important to understand the business concept, a lot of them don’t really work. Secondly, I suggest people to not get caught in the booby trap of growth and long term success that some of these startup owners offer since they themselves don’t know much about the course of business, hence take all factors into consideration before deciding. Also, there’s growth and success in almost everything today, just depends on how you look at things but getting a job is just another business deal, you need to treat it that way and stand your ground! The most important thing to not do when joining a startup is to agree upon a salary that is lower that what you’re earning. I did encounter one or two of them in my job hunt where they didn’t have the means to pay me but tried to lure me in by talking of growth and learning. They actually offered me 30% lesser than what I used to earn which to me is totally impractical and foolish. It would be an insult to yourself if you accepted such an offer, except under extreme circumstances where you desperately need employment.
I wouldn’t mind the same salary if there was a job I really liked doing, but never something so low. Being patient for nearly 3 months after my trip, I got a job in a company that’s a part of an industry I like, my job description is the same as what I wanted, I’m content with the salary I draw and most importantly, my employer is passionate and eco-friendly. I feel the most important factor that helped me quit my job, go on a ride, return safely and get a job that I wanted, was the fact that I believed all this was possible and all this would happen. The moment you don’t believe in yourself is when you lose the battle.
So is quitting your job to travel worth it? Of course it is! Especially if your heart has been pushing you for long to travel to a place you adore. There’s nothing like convincing your employer to approve your leaves, especially if you share a friendly and matured relation with him/her. I suggest you work something out if you really intend to keep your job and not look out for other opportunities. If not, then I suggest you take advantage of the situation and begin to plan your trip. There are of course other factors you need to consider like if you have a family depending on you or if you need to prepare your loved ones for such a step. Thankfully, my parents understood and supported me in everything I’ve done till date because they know me well. The same may not be with your case so be wise, consider all options, make necessary backups, save up a good amount of money and make the change
A lot of the people I know, want to quit their job for a while and do such trips but some got married eventually, some ended up continuing the same old boring job they hated, some kept procrastinating even when everything around supported them to quit their job and do their dream destination, some backed out due to fear. I’m happy and content though that I quit my job to travel because of the experience I received on my ride and also because of the place it has brought me to today in terms of work life! To others who intend to travel whole heartedly, consider the above options and do it while you’re young, you never know where it takes you. The best way I could express this to you is by quoting what George Carlin said, “take a fuckin chance, will ya?”
One last point- if somebody, especially from the older generation tells you that you’re being misled by taking such steps and are ruining your life by doing so then think about it deeply, ask yourself if a 30 or 60 or a 90 day trip can really put harm to your ways of earning money for the next 20-30 years. Then show them the finger, if required. 🙂
IF you’re still down on confidence and want to quit your job but are skeptical about what would happen ahead, well look at people like Donald Trump who beat all the odds and became president. One of the reasons I like that guy is because he is totally the opposite of what the society considers to be an ‘ideal’ president or leader. That just highlights the infinite amount of possibilities and opportunities that lay your way. It doesn’t matter what the world says about him, his son or his wife, Trump says what he feels like and does what he feels like and that’s a rare thing to see among today’s sheeple and fakes. Speaking of saying and doing, he is one of the few personalities I’ve seen who is actually doing what he promised the people a few weeks ago, regardless of whether it is right or wrong according to you.
Here’s a video that makes some sense: