Working in the corporate world never felt right
David was born abroad then moved to the US at a young age, all while being raised to believe that the path to success rests solely on going to school and getting a “safe” job with a big company. For the last 11 years he did just that, and by traditional measures of success, it looked like things were going well. Unfortunately, starting on Day 1 of his first job, he could never shake one, recurring feeling:
I really, really, really don’t like this
In December 2017, after a lot of saving and planning, he worked up the courage to quit his job, build his retirement house in France, and focus on building a life around a freelance career.
Forget the big house and fancy cars, his new measure of success is the amount of control he has over his time.
He is using his time to explore his passion for learning new things, particularly in technology and programming, as well as helping others who are also looking to forge their own path away from the cubicle farm.
2017 — a year for big decisions
In 2017, he made three major decisions. First, he got engaged and got married. Then he invested in his retirement home in the French countryside and then third, he finally took the leap to quit his job.
To David, the idea of the “retirement home” is not as much about not working as much as having the freedom to spend more time with people that matter and having the freedom to explore his dreams. His father had intended to live in the home in France before he passed away right after his career was over and David wasn’t ready to wait for a traditional retirement.
Time is a big thing in his life
David thinks about time a lot — he started a watch company a couple years back that helped him gain confidence that ultimately led to his leap into the freelance world. He also uses time to project forward what his life looks like in the future back to make decisions now.
He thought about who he wanted to be at 60 or 70 and realized that his current situation wasn’t going to get him there. Also being impacted by the loss of his father at a young age, he knew he had to make a change now.
12,000+ Likes on LinkedIn — His Message Resonates
I found David through an article he posted on LinkedIn. As someone the same age and with a similar career path to him, I noticed a lot of similarities in our recent leap into the gig economy.
What struck me was how much attention his article got. This seems to mean that his message really struck a chord with a lot of people and many are likely feeling similar pain in the working world.
One thing he would change in the corporate world
He struggled in his career with companies claiming that they are “meritocratic” when in reality, people just defaulted who was the most senior person in the room. He would embrace an idea closer to what Ray Dalio embraces — an idea meritocracy — where the best ideas really rise to the top.
He also would push organizations to enable people to take responsibility for their ideas and be willing to let people fail. Increasing the ownership raises the bar on what people actually want to create.
Links & Books:
Just published! The Pathless Path is Paul's book about walking away from a "perfect" job with a promising future and starting over again. Through painstaking experiments, living in different countries, and a deep dive into the history of our work beliefs, Paul pieces together a set of ideas and principles that guide him from unfulfilled and burned out to what he calls "the pathless path" - a new story for thinking about work in our lives. Learn More & Buy The Book Here