Why I Left My Job: To Start Again

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I left for a number of reasons, but the main one was because I was leaning too heavily on the gym to provide me with work. Instead of building my own personal training business, I was simply waiting for clients to come through the gym and covering classes assigned to me. This was a lot easier than going out and finding my own clients to train, even though in the long run it provided me with less money. The result was that I was becoming reliant on the gym environment.

While this might have been a fine situation for anyone else, I was struggling with the arrangement. I know that many people would have been perfectly happy dedicating all their time to another's business without the need to be building something for themselves and being able to stand alone. After all, the vast majority of people in the world work for other people, and they are fine with that. They don't have to take the risks, and while they may not have as much freedom, they are assured of at least some degree of security.

Gnawing Doubts

While I tried very hard to be happy in that situation, I could not see myself working like that for very much longer, and the discomfort created by that prospect started to eat away at my life satisfaction. It wasn't that I didn't like the job. Instead, it was more that I wanted to be the guy on the front lines, taking the risks, setting my own course. Money had nothing to do with it. The sense that I was not living up to my potential drove me to get rid of the safety net and put myself in a situation where I'd be forced to build my own profession instead of working off of someone else's.

So here I am, unemployed again. The only projects I have in mind are not guaranteed to make any money, but I have the freedom to apply myself to anything I want right now. And of course I have the option of personal training to keep myself afloat. Am I scared? You bet! There is a very loud and obnoxious voice in my head telling my what an idiot I am. I worry that I'll end up even worse than before, that I'll never find another job, that I've just lost all the friends and community that gave so much meaning to my life for the past year.

But you know what? I've heard all that before. I know that voice very well, and I know that it is wrong, because it was wrong the time I turned down the job at Forbes, and it was wrong the time I graduated college, and it was wrong when I took on my second major in the my third year, and it was wrong when I went for my instrument pilot rating.

Every opportunity of growth in my life has required me to risk something secure and stable. I risked my GPA by going to a tough school instead of one I knew for sure I could handle. But if I had, I wouldn't have grown intellectually. I risked my confidence as a pilot when I went for my instrument rating, because I was perfectly happy flying visually up until then, but then I'd never get any better. I risked my sense of belonging, and all my relationship networks when I came home after college, when I could have stayed in Chicago where I had several job offers. But I wanted to start from scratch, since I didn't want to be a researcher or stay in academia.

So, while I am scared, I am also excited. The price of admittance in the arena of fate is your past accomplishments. You can win big or lose it all and start from scratch. But even if I have to start from scratch, anything I've built from the ground up has always been bigger and better than that which I tore down. To illustrate, I will close with a lesson every writer goes through once: a computer crash.

A Very Determined Geek

When I was 14, I had begun work on a masterpiece of roleplaying literature: a compendium of all the races that populated my imaginary world. It was 40 pages full of detailed racial histories, roleplaying statistics, and character descriptions, for dozens of different types of elves, humans, dwarves, and other creatures. It had taken me months to write. And one Sunday afternoon, it all disappeared into a mess of unicode characters, gone forever. I was crushed and heartbroken. But I had put so much into that document that I couldn't let it just vanish.

After the appropriate mourning (an hour or so), I simply sat down and started writing from scratch. Six hours later, I had written a 70-page document, that contained more races, a much more detailed and coherent history, and far better quality of writing. I typed so hard and fast that day I broke my spacebar. I liked the new version much better than the old, but I would never have had the chance to write it if I hadn't lost everything the first time. Even simply editing the first wouldn't have produced the second.

Sometimes we want better, but we are scared to give up what we have, simply because we put so much time into it. I'm ready to take that risk. With knowledge gained from experience, and a better sense of what I want my life to be, I am confident that Khaled.post-college v2.0 will be bigger, better, and more awesome that the original. You can be assured that Warrior Spirit is a big part of my plans.

Thanks to everyone at CFS for the great opportunities to learn and train. I will always remember you fondly, and will be around to get my butt kicked in some of your WODs.

Stay tuned.