This is the question that quite a few people I’ve met recently are mulling over:
An airline CEO doesn’t know whether to continue his well-paid career of many years, an advertising pro isn’t sure whether her successful career is making her happy, an investment banker in London is dreaming of a start-up lifestyle and can’t quite get around to leaving his job. Money vs passion. Lifestyle vs freedom. Security vs spontaneity.
The internet is full of advice for those wanting to follow their passion and quit everything. Right away.
The last proper job and sense of financial security I had was in 2010, so I’m not really the right person to dispense advice on such a question. I made the decision early on to risk everything (which was nothing, really, because I had nothing – the privilege of being in your 20s and refusing to climb any career ladder).
But speaking to the aforementioned three people – who are absolutely inspiring and the most creative people you could hope to meet in a corporate world – I began to understand that the question of whether or not to stay corporate has a side to it that I’d never considered:
Who would I be if I quit my career of 20 years?
What would I call myself?
How would I present myself to people?
Eckhart Tolle sees this as an issue of identity and, subsequently, as a sense of loss. It’s no longer a question of money or achievement, it’s much deeper than that, it’s the question many of us dread asking:
Who am I?
A structured job with holidays, bonuses and overtime is a framework for life. There’s not too much empty space left to fill in.
So, the question is whether the framework suits and fulfils you – I’ve met several people who were thriving in the corporate world. If you, on the hand, are already questioning it, that’s something to think about.