Sunday, March 28, 2010


I've made the decision to leave my job. There's a cultural expectation at my company that senior members of the team will leave in a managed fashion, with a transition plan. I've never done things this way before, but I'm in the process of negotiating my exit. It's an interesting experience, to say the least, to be leaving without having a job to go to.

I know I'm very good at what I do, and given the right fit, my next employer will be lucky to have me. But still, the economy isn't great and this approach places much of the risk squarely on me, rather than on the company I'm leaving. As I said, it's interesting.

It's also really exciting, despite the question of risk. Getting real joy from what I do every day is incredibly important to my well-being, and it's been a while since that expectation was being satisfied. Even with the uncertainty, the prospect of change feels incredibly good.

All of this has me thinking about independence and flexibility. One of the down-sides to the suburban bliss track, as I've been calling it, is that for those of us who are mere financial mortals (as opposed to the apparent financial demi-gods that I occasionally see pass in a Ferrari or Aston Martin, here in Southborough), there is an incredible amount of leverage associated with that lifestyle. For all the satisfaction that comes with being able to make the payments on a nice house full of nice stuff, there's a tremendous amount of risk that gets created in the process, and an incredible drag on your net worth.

As I extricate myself from the house and the stuff, I think back to some of my marital stress, and about what has kept me at a job that wasn't bringing me joy every day. And a big chunk is really inescapable: the need to service the financial burden that came with the lifestyle.

So as I leave that behind me, I'm toying with a new vision for myself: Create a life with as little leverage as possible. Focus on building capital, not equity. Experience through doing, not acquiring.

The outcome of that change could include a large dose of of personal satisfaction and achievement, mixed with a degree of independence and flexibility I haven't had in years. If so, if the joy stops again, I'll be better positioned to move on, rather than lingering. Not because I can't commit to something, which my track record shows I certainly can. But because once a relationship doesn't work anymore, it's best for both sides to find a better fit as painlessly as possible.

All for now,


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