Why did I quit just like that? Is there something wrong?
“You can’t always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes, you have to dare to do it because life’s too short to wonder what could have been.”
After I graduated from UPLB in 2009, I’ve always wanted to travel and just explore but didn’t have the chance since I had been working six days a week, 8 hours/ day for four years… working hard to get promoted and faster advancement in my career and getting a higher pay as soon as possible. My ex-bosses in Kuwait were very supportive; I could take a vacation whenever I wanted (at least three weeks notice), but it was usually just a maximum of 5 days. I’ve been traveling and have been to 15 countries so far… but I was a tourist – not even an inch closer to my idea of a true traveler.
So here are my five major reasons for giving up my current job for a planned nomadic backpacking lifestyle
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1. I need to be ready to be in the corporate world.
I’ve noticed that my career life has a pattern: I will get a job – get promoted – more responsibilities – will be burned out – then work on a routine/no challenge – I will resign – they will not let me go – I will still work – I will be unhappy – then finally file an irrevocable resignation – then get a new job and so on and on… (This is my 3rd resignation since I’ve started working… but the best thing is I’m in good terms with my previous bosses, and some are even hiring me back!)
“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold, and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.” ~Kahlil Gibran
Since 2009, I had already been working in Kuwait. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or what career path I wanted to take. I was just working because the society dictates that we should be working. I got promoted, worked less but was under more pressure. I only realized what I wanted to do with my career when I decided to move to Iraq. I moved here because I wanted to get into the Oil and Gas Industry. Shifting a career from Healthcare experience to Oil and Gas is tricky and risky. Most of the O&G people are Engineers, old western men, 10 or more years of experience, etc. I knew that even I if had a Mid-level position in the Healthcare Industry in Kuwait, I couldn’t get that same position in Oil and Gas. I found a job in Iraq, and it seemed that the same work pattern was going to happen.
Now is the right time for me to travel, I just entered the Oil and Gas Industry like I wanted and learned the ‘basics’ of how it works, what are the companies, who are the people (established my connections) and most importantly I have it in my CV! Now, working in the industry but not with the position I’ve wanted, I can just afford to leave it and come back since I don’t have that big of responsibility yet. Then why not now? Should I still wait until I become a higher ranking officer and indispensable where I can’t afford to even take a break from job cuz of the pressure? Not unless I will be working Offshore or in the Drilling Sites where I will be on a 28/28 rotation… which is my goal that’s why I’m gonna take the Specialization Exams after my backpacking trip!
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UPDATE: After almost two years of being on the road, I decided to take a course to become TEFL certified so I can become a Traveling English teacher. If you want to take your TEFL course, you can do it with MYTEFL.net and use the Discount Code: 2MONKEYS to get 40% discount.
2. “Because I’m still too ‘naive’” – I knew it! You don’t believe me.
I just realized that I need to be more exposed to the real world. I thought that four years living in the Middle East was the “great life,” until I met an Italian guy who just told me something during a party at the British Embassy. The conversation goes like this:
Me: Wow, this is happiness! This life is good!! Fantastic!
Him: This is not life Katrina, this is a normal thing in REAL life.
Me: Stared at him, blank-faced, and thought about it.
Because there are only a few events such as this in Kuwait and you know alcohol and partying were illegal unless in the Embassy or any Diplomatic functions since they have immunity.
This conversation is one of the eye openers that eventually became one of my reasons to leave Kuwait. Moving to Iraq independently was fun as I thought in the beginning. But when I got there, only then did I appreciate how lucky I was having my parents with me in Kuwait and how my father and mother protected and guarded me. I started to believe in goodness when I observed Law of Attraction in my life. I have a strong personality and have always been very opinionated, though I try to let at least only positive words come out of my mouth. But in this society and industry “goodness” is just an illusion, maybe it was even in Kuwait or anywhere else; I just didn’t notice since I was shielded like a baby. Just like the Mr. Big song saying that: “But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware…”
However, my Mom always reminds of this quote: “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” Therefore, I will remain optimistic and will not ever be cynical since it is absorbing vibrations of hatred and negativity.
I hope that after this backpacking trip, after meeting tons of new people from all walks of life, I will either prove to the world that goodness is not just an illusion but a reality. For me to learn how to handle things, be vigilant and learn the Virtue of Prudence. If not, at least I had a dynamic and well-earned life lesson to be inculcated by the “bad” people out there.
“Sometimes on the road to acquiring wisdom, life will beat you down, but you have to stand back up. Because nothing is more beautiful and powerful than a soul, who has weathered and grown through life’s difficulties. Don’t regret your time, even the moments that were filled with hurt. Smile because you learned from it all and because you gained enough strength to rise above it all.”
3. I’m just 24! I’m young, carefree, healthy, no commitments, not in a relationship, no dependents, no enormous amount of debt. Do I need to say more?
It’s really funny, a few months ago I kept telling my mother that I really wanted to get married soon so I can have a partner, start a new life, save together, travel together as long we will both agree not to have a kid nor even a dog. lol. I’ve been looking and looking, but I was in a situation where I wanted a serious commitment/relationship. Now, I just realized that it’s really a good thing that I didn’t. Thank you (you know who you are) for letting me go even though you knew that I was so much into you. UPDATE: I’m now with my awesome partner, Jonathan Howe whom I met while backpacking in Laos! Now I know why it didn’t work out before!
4. I’ve been too materialistic and realized that money and power were my only source of motivation to work!
“Waste your money, and you’re only out of money, but waste your time, and you’ve lost a part of your life.” ~Michael Leboeuf
I know the saying that money can’t buy happiness but I’m not a hypocrite to say therefore I will not need money. Well, I love money! I super love it, and I know I have and will have tons of it!! (Please bear with my mantra, this is what I’ve learned from my Law of Attraction and Law of Abundance. You can also read this in Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad)
I need money as it helps me to have freedom and choices, but money being the sole motivation will not bring me inner and long term happiness. I’ve been living frugally and know the worth and value of my money and been handling it well, but just working in the office 8 hours a day/ six days a week will likely burn me out anytime soon. On the contrary, I didn’t resign ‘cuz I was burned out, not at all! I am at the calmest or peak happiness moment of my fantastic life!
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5. My mother said Go for it!
“I got to grow up with a mother who taught me to believe in me.”– Antonio Villaraigosa
I remember asking her and telling her about what’s happening with me: “I’m fine and I’m doing well.” She mentioned that she’d noticed the improvement on my personality and way of thinking, telling me that Iraq helped me to become “less of a brat,” humble and be more spiritual! I admit that moving to Iraq is one of the best decisions I’ve made in life that really helped me improve myself spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally and socially!
I remember asking her last December (before moving to Iraq) if I can just go to India and Maldives to go for a soul searching/yoga thingy for few weeks and from there go backpacking. Her reaction and explanations were like saying ‘what the heck are you thinking? You’ll let me die worrying about you…’ Good thing I didn’t follow my stubborn and rebellious self because she was right, I wasn’t ready to go (in all aspects of my life especially my mentality).
But last week when I told her about my plan, she just said, GO FOR IT!! But when I’ve told her that I planned to go to South America straight from Iraq, she then said ‘hmmm, think about it… pray for it… then told me to talk to my father… lol. She knew I didn’t want to talk to Papa about this stuff because he treats me like a baby and he will not allow me to go anywhere. But in the end I also talked to him; I mentioned South America and then told me indirectly that “he will disown me.” lol
I meditated about this decision. Prayed to know if I’m making the right decision since I already packed my backpack like two weeks ago even before I talked to my parents and officially filed my resignation. God made things very smoothly for me! I knew it; He’s supporting me!
Remember: Mother knows best and good things come to those who wait!
Why resign and not just take an unpaid emergency leave?
My boss even offered me this option, not to resign and he’ll give me a one-month emergency leave then come back with the same job and salary. I’m lucky, aren’t I? Everyone, my age would have taken that cuz it’s already secured… but I didn’t! I even said with my cocky and stubborn self, “It’s an irrevocable resignation.” I didn’t want to burn the bridge by saying that I will come back though I knew that I would not be coming back at the time they wanted me to since I’m planning to be on the road for at least three months.
And I practice law of abundance, there’s always an overflowing opportunity for everyone, and I know that when I’m ready again to be back in the corporate life, more opportunities will be there for me. Law of attraction and abundance works… proven and tested!
Why now? Not next month, next year? You just started.
All because I knew it, I felt it, and prayed for it that this is the right time! Everything is smooth sailing! And another thing, I will be traveling with my younger sister and brother for 40 days, this is the best time for them to travel with me cuz it’s summer vacation! Yay!
REALIZATION: If you see it in your mind, you’re going to hold it in your hand. – Law of Attraction
Sad but the truth, I have to admit that I’m a quitter. I thought I wasn’t, I thought I was very strong but when the situation comes that I become bored, pressured, insulted or anything that will hit my ego and emotions… I’ve realized that I’ve been doing it for years in two of most important aspects of my life, love relationship and career.
I never faced the problem, I was just running and leaving it without taking any actions; moving to create my new world and establish a new comfort zone. I know I’m a good person, a good friend, a good employee but yeah this is my weakness. I have to put an end to this cycle… When I go back to work and enter a new relationship, I will make sure that I will not quit anymore.
(UPDATE AUGUST 2015): I’m still traveling, two years after I wrote this article!! I’m currently in South America with my business-on-the-road, not a corporate girl anymore but an Ayurveda Massage Therapist and English Teacher! I also found my true love on the road! Thanks for following my adventure!