"I think that the ultimate way you and I get lucky is if you have some success early in life, you get to find out early it doesn't mean anything. Which means you get to start early the work of figuring out what does mean something"
- David Foster Wallace
I applied for a job recently. I interviewed. I became really excited about a potential path.
And I got a job offer.
It was somewhere I've wanted to work for years. Cool. Interesting. Startup'y. Well known. Fun role that I could do excel at. A manager I knew and loved. A team that I knew and loved.
Really and truly, this role ticked all the boxes I could conceive of when evaluating a corporate job.
I wish this decision felt simple - in the past it has - I've never turned down a job. Really never. How would I even do that? This offer included, I've been lucky enough to elicit attention from companies that I was excited about deep down.
Never-mind the mechanics - can I even emotionally turn down a job? Its the kind of situation where I could have so much fomo (fear-of-missing-out), and could let those thoughts dance me right into taking the job.
Change happens in bursts and starts. There are times when you are open to big change and times when you are not. Seize opportunities.
Shhhhhitttttt, which opportunity do I seize?
(+) Time On to date I'm warmed by the whirlwind
(+) I'm actively looking forward to the plans ahead (living in Toronto for a stint, the Mongol Rally etc)
(+) I really want to increase amount of autonomy* in my work life, ideally starting my own business
(-) Sometimes I feel like a lone wolf, and that gets, well, lonely
(-) Not making any money can't last forever (though I'm sticking to my budget just fine)
*for the curious mastery, autonomy purpose concepts are via Daniel Pink - here is a great video explaining the trifecta of motivation
(+) I feel like this job is special, exciting, and unique
(+) I know so much about the team, the company, the industry that it feels like I can't lose. I would be successful in this role.
(-) I'd have to stop time on, and I don't feel like I'm done with it
(-) It feels in-line with my existing narrative, and big part of my purpose with Time On was to grow in new ways
Ok, time to make up my mind. This was a really tough decision for me. I was restless at night dreaming about it. I was restless during the day dreaming about it.
I tapped all the resources I could - I spoke to my parents, mentors, friends, read quora threads etc etc
It began to feel a bit like groundhog day from when I decided to leave Google...pummeling my brain with all these questions about what I should do. But now I had 3 months of Time On in hand. I felt deep down that I wanted to keep going. I specifically made this decision to enter a new section of my life's narrative, not just a new chapter. With a sense of that new path, I could now double-down, commit again to the exciting Time On journey, to all the great things I've got to do so far, and am going to get to do in the coming years.
I turned down the job.
Then I listened to When I Paint My Masterpiece by the Band (written by Bob Dylan)
Train wheels are running through the back of my memory When I ran on a hilltop following a pack of wild geese Someday everything is gonna sound like a rhapsody When I paint my masterpiece