Before your thoughts shift to a sentimentalist state of being, you ought to know that I did not quit a six-figure ($125k) salary for altruistic reasons.
My decision to leave my job was neither centered on leading a minimalist lifestyle nor to pursue my dream of being a full-time entrepreneur. I wish I could tell you that I left my six-figure job to embark on a divine calling or mystical or spiritual journey, but that is not the case.
My leaving was a matter of loyalty, which I imagine involves giving and receiving in mutually beneficial ways and also having integrity to elevate another’s interests without prompting.
Prior to July of 2018, my family’s combined income (based on tax returns) hovered around $60k. That’s it—a modest sixty-thousand dollars, which by modern standards do not go very far with a family of six. But my family and I survived and thrived on sub-standard earnings because we lived within our means.
Other than student loans, we avoid debt as one avoids getting the flu. In fact, because of our experience with debt, meaning my wife and I, we guide our children toward living debt-free lives. Our eldest two children (twins) graduated from college with zero debt. And the younger two kiddos are keeping the debt-free tradition alive.
As a unit, we have visited two-thirds of the contiguous United States and have been to a dozen countries in Europe and Asia. And yes, we did all of this while earning ~$35-55k a year. Even so, fiscal responsibility is not the theme of the story—loyalty is.
Now, here is the story. A few months ago, my younger brother thought it would be a great idea to offer me a job working with him. Upon receiving the phone call, my initial reaction as it had been for the last decade was to immediately rebuff his offer. I was an academician and my place was in the university classroom.
But this time around, for some unexplained reason, I listened to his proposal. Of course, like clockwork, he took the liberty of landing a few brotherly jabs and reminded me of how financially impoverished I was; notwithstanding, he extended the opportunity and gave me one-phone-call later to consider his offer.
It has been three months since I accepted my brother’s offer, and I do not have any regrets. Do I miss interacting and sharing sacred space with fellow learners? Indeed I do. There is something incredibly fulfilling about being in intellectually vibrant and vigorous environments.
At this point in my life, however, my dreams are my priority. And because my dreams are both ridiculous and impossible, they require adequate funding, which my salary increase provides.
But what happens when things don’t go as planned?
To be continued…(see below).
Well, things did not go as planned because the parties involved agreed that my brother and me would end the year working in California; instead, the principal, via text message, gave us a few day’s notice to report to Wisconsin to complete an existing project.
To add insult to injury, the principal engaged in ad-hominem attacks minimizing my brother’s person simply because he reminded them of their commitment. Upon learning of what had transpired, I, along with my brother, decided that the new development voided our contract—so we both quit!
By the way, this event happened on yesterday (26 Oct). Fortunately for us, within an hour, we had another offer to begin a new project that would keep us in California’s San Bernadino County for the next several months.
So, what’s the lesson here? To be honest, I am not quite sure. Perhaps the idea is to know your value. And loyalty runs deep.