This is a very honest, insightful & contemplative article by Ellen Huerta on Medium.com. In August 2013, I read this article along with the Bill Watterson illustration that I shared here earlier. And though I had been thinking on these lines for a long time, I felt instant resonance when I read this article. I could relate to this article closely and instantly knew what she says – “I felt strongly that it wasn’t getting me closer to where I wanted to be, though that destination was largely unknown, and I had to get off that road.”
For me the most impressive thing about the article is the honesty with which she shares this – she hasn’t yet found what she wants to do, yet willing to quit what she didn’t want to do; despite the obvious monetary benefits. I like the way she is describing her journey/exploration today, not retrospectively after making it big with a successful venture/start-up!
And this is so beautiful, recognizing and accepting the inauthenticity within is the first insight, and if one decides to act on it instead of masking it, the journey of self exploration begins! That’s how she puts it in her article –
For the first time I was recognizing inauthenticity in myself. I couldn’t stand it.
I am including few excerpts from that article here. As she narrates why she left..
About 6 months ago, I decided to quit my very good job at Google to explore a different way to live life. I had a loose plan of how I wanted to spend my time, but the main reason I left was that I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t put it into words at the time, but something inside of me was telling me I shouldn’t continue down the career path I was on. I felt strongly that it wasn’t getting me closer to where I wanted to be, though that destination was largely unknown, and I had to get off that road.
And honesty about why it was difficult for her to let go. Besides the obvious monetary gains, for most of us the external rewards/recognition serve as the main motivators.
When I sat down and really thought about why I was resisting, I realized something about myself that I didn’t like, something that I’m ashamed to even admit now. The main reason I was resisting was because I would be giving up the safety and prestige associated with life as a Googler. When I reflected more, I realized that external recognition had unfortunately become a primary motivator for me.
In fact, the need for recognition was still so engrained in me that I leaned on my start up as a crutch during my exit from Google. ‘I’m leaving to work on my start up idea.’ That was shorter and more palatable than ‘I’m taking time to slow down and better understand myself and what I want out of this life.
And as she talks about her own realization under the stars…
It was that moment that I realized I was truly free to do whatever I wanted in this world and it was completely up to me to make it happen. It was my life, and I had to stop caring what people thought about it. If I wanted to bake, I should. If I wanted to write, I should. If I wanted to start a company, I should. If I wanted to do nothing, I should. If I wanted to fuck up for once, I should.
Please read the entire article and read her experiences and reflections after leaving Google, managing money, some realistic adjustments, relocating to another city and enjoying small pleasures of life after her decision.
You can also see her interview on YouTube video if you’re curious –
And here are her answers to few questions about her article