I left my job in December 2013, and since that time, I’ve been living the good life, with combined cushioning from a generous payout and the support of my parents. I left not knowing what I wanted to do next. I had no plan per se.I don’t have any worries aside from my finances. I’m not married or in a relationship, I don’t have children, and I don’t have to pay a mortgage. The only thing I do have is some credit card debt, and two adorable creatures, my dog Victor and my cat Lucky, that bring joy into my home.
To be honest, I thought I would be not stressed, but bored, without having my routine 9-to-5. Well, I have to say that boredom is but a distant dream as everyday I have something to do, at a pace I enjoy, be it going to the gym and working out, meeting up with a friend or my mom for lunch, hitting the beach, or working on some coursework. Even writing here on a regular basis is something that I’m starting to build on. So despite a lack of boredom and a full-time appreciation of my life, there is this niggling feeling that I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m going to have to start generating some income soon.
This stresses me out so much - I do not want to go back to banking. I tell this to everyone I know and it may come back to bite me in the ass. I left that job thinking it was a good way out. I spent January to May voraciously job-hunting in London but when summer arrived in Athens, I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss – when will I ever have this much free time to enjoy the sea and sun in Greece?
So people ask me up-front what I’m doing and I’ve started being honest. I say I have no idea. I tell them about how much I love psychology, how much value there is in taking care in your emotional, physical, and mental self – I espouse the virtues of exercise, well-being, and meditation. I talk about how much I enjoy the online world and the value of good user experience – what that means for us, how it makes our lives easier. Then I think about what matters to me – film/TV, education, knowledge, mental health, the arts, the power of the written word – how much I value sharing experiences. And then I talk about how it would be a shame to waste all of my financial experience as using it means I would find a better paying job. I say this is the crux of the matter. I love money and I’m not financially independant, so no matter what, I do have to start working again eventually, either making enough money to support my current lifestyle, or with something less and living within my means. And then I end by saying “I have no idea what I’m doing.“
The first time I said all this to someone (a high-ranking project finance director at an international investment bank) I was expecting the conversation to end with a disapproving look, and an “um… ok.” I was expecting to be judged. Instead, she turned around and said “Oh my god, me neither!” I was stunned!
“But you seem so focused, so serious, so successful about what you do, so commited! I would have no idea!“
“Of course! I’m not even good at maths, and what I really love is yoga and well-being! But you know what they say – fake it ’til you make it!“
Several people have tried to drill this idea into me, and I’m starting to think they are right. And when I think of it like that, I don’t actually need to fake it that much – my interests and background are real. So what I need to fake is my confidence* about what I’m doing. It’s all about attitude. I don’t know exactly what I want to do next, but I know the general direction, and it involves technology, psychology, and maybe (maybe) some financial analysis.
In the meantime, I am blessed to be able to pursue side projects (like stress management training), and start caring for my own happiness, like eating better, exercising, and regularly meditating.
I wish it could all happen now, at once, with minimum effort from me. But that’s for another post, for another time.
*when I say confidence, I don’t think I mean so much in my skills and experience, but in my “alternative”-ness.
What about you? Do you fake it?