by Emon Hassan on August 19, 2009

This post is looong overdue. I’d actually written a big ‘philosophical’ post about the recent changes in my life and never got to post it.

So…I’ve quit my day job as of July 31st and I’ve been sober for almost 3 weeks now. Half-joking aside, you can say I’m on a career rehab. Working at a job for 3 years can make you almost become something you’re not. You start to get comfortable with the false sense of security and your mind starts to be convincing to your body that “it ain’t getting much better than this, so let go of yourself”

For 3 years I’d been working that day job during the week and night and weekends on things of my own – blogging, photography, videos etc. The commute itself was dreadful, getting up 7 am, hurrying off to take the subway to 42nd street and then taking the NJ Transit bus to the job. Every day was a race to just be on time. After a while that process became normal too. Some nights would be a struggle to stay up and blog, or edit photos or just watch a TV show. But I’d force myself to stay up most nights, which resulted in a fucked over sleep schedule. I’ve gotten somewhat used to sleeping 5-6 hours a night. Don’t know what the long term consequences will be but how else would I keep going?

The job wasn’t hard to do, but hard to take, and hard to commit to. I’ve never complained about working long hours when the work is fulfilling, when the work teaches me something new, when the work means something. Most people are perfectly fine doing mundane things and they’ve developed an internal switch they can turn on and off. I couldn’t. I can’t.

But hey, I did last 3 years and I managed to change some things in that company. I still gave it my best whether or not my heart was into it or not. I cared for people I dealt with, people I worked with, and people I got to meet. The challenges have been from minor to extreme. I learned a lot from them both.

I learned what NOT to do, mostly. You see, no amount of business school, school, teaching, theory, and advice prepares you for the real world of jobs. Going to school makes you think the job and business world is run at an orderly, practical fashion, and most of all, with common sense. My friends, that does not exist. The only thing that follows logic in an office is the elevator that takes you up, or down, and the lights that come on every morning to watch you wither day after day. Remember, people who built these business empires are not perfect, do not follow order, and do not compromise on their behavior, the very one that made them money and built them the office.

There could be volumes written about office culture and volumes more on politics. But I’ll share some of my thoughts anyway”

1. 60-70% of office resources (from working at one and observing others) go to waste because of retarded thinking, such as:
a. more hours mean more work done.
b. co-workers are like family members.
c. sales is more important than marketing.
d. setting monthly quotas will create healthy competition
e. endless number of meetings and brainstorming sessions
f. create ‘me too’ products but do it better.
g. popular votes on everything from copy to product design will create a better product.
h. fancy luncheons and parties for clients – “no problem”. Invest in customer management software – “how dare you in this economy!”

Oh, these are just tiny ones. There are bigger ones.

2. It’s fascinating how many ‘big’ companies get away doing business without any decent research on their market. You get to meet people from other companies and it boggles my mind how some of them got hired in the first place.

3. You can play office politics all you want but the best companies make you feel you are an equal player in their game. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know and who you can have by the balls.

4. If you think talk is cheap, you’ll never succeed in business or office jobs. Because let me tell you, your bullshitting will take you far and wide.

5. And the most important of all – remember, nobody knows shit about anything. They don’t, you don’t, all of us combined don’t. Success and failure in companies both occur because of someone’s stupidity. Every step of the way is bound with rules someone pulled it out his/her ass and they expect you to follow it. Because that’s what they followed to get to nowhere.

Larger corporations mean larger rules, mean longer ladders to the top. Climb to the top, is that what you dream of? You’ll never get there with clocking in man hours or following rules. If you’re small fish, the harder you work the more disappointed they are in you if you don’t increase your hours of work. Sad but true.

I could go on and on. It dawned on me couple of months ago that I needed to also take a break from things I loved to do. For years my nights and weekends would also be my second set of work days. I’d feel guilty taking the weekend off to do nothing, hang out, go places, etc. because a day taken away from those precious weekend hours working on projects are opportunities missed. I’d push harder. That resulted in several minor breakdowns, for lack of a better term. I’d crack and be depressed for days, feeling miserable, lonely and angry. Loneliness is a tough one always.

I didn’t want to go on feeling that way anymore.

So here I am. I still don’t sleep well at night. Some nights I stay up lamenting what I’ve lost these past few years and wish I could have them back. I wish I could have _________ back. But _________ is long gone. It was my fault. Time leaves you but leaves you with the regrets. I don’t do well with regrets and I tend to beat it to death.

We’re here today, gone tomorrow. Time will never be ‘right’ to do what your heart wants you to, if you ask. Don’t ask permission to live your own life, because you’ll never get it. What about money, then? It will come to you when you’re not looking any more.

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