In the midst of a really busy January and February I sort of forgot that it’s been more than five years since that day that I quit my job back in 2006. You know how people always say “it feels like yesterday”? Well in this case, it feels like a different life to me. It feels like it was much longer than 5 years. In a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve always run Pure Adapt.
Anyway, I know there are a lot of people out there who have quit their job recently or are considering doing so. I figured it a worthwhile exercise to sort of step back and look at how life has gone since that day in January of ’06 when I turned in my two-week notice.
I’ve always, out of respect to my former employer, made sure not to mention them by name when blogging or tell any stories that were overly specific. Now that it’s been a while and I’ve seen all of my “secret” projects come to market a long time ago, it seems rather pointless to keep up. I was a Quality Control Engineer in the R&D department at Schick, the razor company. As my friends always liked to say, I was the guy working on whether or not we could tack on a sixth blade safely 🙂
While I had only been a full-time engineer there for one year, I had been there for nine months as a co-op back in 2003 and had continued some of my projects once back in college. So in reality I had really been there for almost exactly three years when I left. They had been very good to me, so in a lot of ways it was hard to leave. There were a lot of good people there. However, I’ve never ever regretted leaving, or even really thought about it, so there is no doubt in my mind that it was the right decision and that the timing was right.
I think in almost every way I’m better off than I would have been had I continued on at Schick. I feel like I have more “job security” than I would working for a large corporation that could be suspect to sweeping layoffs. I have a flexible schedule that allows me to make sure that I never miss out on something I really want to do. I feel like I’m a healthier person because I’ve been able to use that flexibility to ensure that most of the time I’m sleeping well, eating right, and exercising. Maybe most importantly, I get to wake up every day and work with great people on something I believe in and really enjoy. Not that it’s always easy or that every little task is always fun, but on most days it’s pretty easy for me to see how good I have it and how lucky I am.
I’m also glad that I’ve moved back to NY. It took me a while to fully be content with that part of it, but I’ve been able to spend far more time with my close friends and family than I ever would have. My little sister is a junior in high school and I’ve been able to watch her grow up and hang out with her a few times a week. That just wouldn’t have been possible if I was living in another state, even if it was only a 3 hour drive away.
I *may* have been better off financially had I continued on the corporate career path. Schick was going to pay for me to go back to school. I was contemplating getting a MBA from Yale, NYU, or Columbia. Had I done that while continuing to work I most definitely would have made more money than I have these past five years. Then again, I wouldn’t have been building a growing company that I had equity in, which I hope will end up paying off in the long term. And even if I somehow end up making less than I would have on that career track, it doesn’t really matter to me. I wouldn’t have had the quality of life that I have now.
I also feel like I’ve learned more about myself and money, and how little it matters to me by having to scrape by on next to nothing for a while. I used to spend pretty freely on stuff, just because I thought it was cool, only to not use it or to resell it a few months later. I was a big time collector of stuff I didn’t use or need (I guess being into sports collectibles makes you that way by default). Now, I live in what I consider to be the nicest place I’ve ever lived, and it’s very simple, clean, and neat, which is what I like. When I buy something, it’s something that I really think I’ll use and benefit from. I can’t remember the last purchase of over $100 that I’ve regretted a few months later. I used to do that all the time in college.
I’ve written before about how excited I am for what we’re doing in 2011 so I’m not going to rehash that, other than to say that we’re off to a great start, February was a killer month for us. This business, as it stands, wasn’t exactly what I envisioned when I left – in a lot of ways I didn’t know what to expect – but it’s been an incredible five years that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I used to think that I was busting ass to “trade” my twenties for a “better” life down the road. In the midst of that I’ve learned to really just enjoy the journey, to enjoy putting in a good solid days worth of work.