Ok, I hope you appreciate the title. Took me the best part of ten minutes to come up with something bordering on interesting. 😆
Actually, I rarely spend two days in a row blogging but the reaction and aftermath of yesterday’s post somehow calls for it. Hopefully, things would get even clearer and I would be in a better position to reply most of the comments there after this post.
1. No ambition, no compass?
Firstly, I would like to defend my friends. They received quite a bit of stick from the readers and I am partly to blame since I wasn’t quite coherent in my post yesterday. That’s what happens when you want to get stuff off your chest quickly and minimal vetting was done, and well… that was if there was even any to begin with. I was just ranting off…
Let’s start off with a theoretical and the most cliche of examples to hopefully, gain some deeper perspectives.
My friend, who is a doctor, is currently working 15-hour shifts everyday, and maybe lamenting a little about the lack of balance in his life. As financial bloggers, most of us would suggest downshifting, becoming a GP and yes, maybe working a 15 or 20 hour work week as a GP. And that was what the Mrs did.
But what if money wasn’t an issue for my friend (i.e. he’s pretty frugal and comes from a well-to-do family) and he’s working on some ground-breaking research into cancer treatment. His life-long ambition might be to create a cure for cancer one day.
In this scenario, is he wrong to say that switching to be come a GP that would be lacking ambition? Would you encourage him to downshift and do something that is “easier” and “less taxing”?
Christopher (a fellow financial blogger whom I hold in high esteem) actually wrote a post commenting on my write-up. In all honesty, I was quite surprised by his views.
Afterall, this is a man who has accumulated enough to retire on his own terms. But there he is, pursuing a law degree at the age of 40. Spending money to study in a law school when that amount of money could be invested to grant him a higher margin of safety for his retirement. I definitely wouldn’t accuse him of lacking ambition.
Same for AK. He’s obviously not comfortable revealing his identity. And when you consider his passive income relative to his frugal daily expenses, there’s really no need to. There’s really no incentive for him to blog just to earn another extra buck. But he still is and he even organises speaking events to try to help and guide readers. His goal to help others probably encouraged him to step out of his comfort zone.
So when I heard my friend’s comment, it probably got me thinking subconsciously.
Was I lacking ambition and horror of horrors, a compass or direction in my life?
2. Limiting Myself For Sake Of Stability
I ain’t a risk-taker at heart. Because of my upbringing, I crave and yearn for financial stability. And this prudent behaviour spills over to life choices in general. Even the 6-7 month sabbatical that I took was meticulously planned and expectedly, it didn’t have a large negative impact on our finances. Hopefully not coming across as arrogant, but I was quite confident of being accepted into teaching the moment I applied for it. And I knew they took ages to revert.
It’s been six months and it’s quite incredulous that I have not blogged anything about it. Maybe some irrational fear about my identity being exposed to my reporting officers restrained me (talk about playing safe). To keep things short, I do enjoy teaching in a classroom and have performed well enough for my SH and HOD to want me to come back to the school after my NIE training.
Another organisation, another role but the same unhappiness about “a job” is starting to seep in. I think I am pretty good at pretending to be enthusiastic, especially about being a team player at some projects whose outcome I feel is going to be marginal at best. But the mana burn to the soul is fast becoming way unbearable.
Understanding myself better and better, I highly doubt that I can stay in the same organisation for an extended period of time right now. Or that I actually want to belong to any big hierarchical organisation at all. And interestingly, in a perverse sort of way, that’s what makes teaching so suitable for me.
The only reason why I didn’t quit my first job earlier was due to a bond with the organisation. Although the monetary compensation was definitely a deterrent, I really didn’t want to become a bond-breaker (fact: a local bond isn’t that expensive to redeem).
And hey, teaching does come with a 3 year bond. Talk about commitment devices and being cruel to myself. All for the sake of accumulating more money and of course, more stability. 🙄
3. Professional ambitions ≠ Life ambitions
Many readers and fellow bloggers made this point which I truly agree with.
It’s perfectly ok to have little professional ambitions. Obviously, I don’t deny that job titles like being a HOD or a Director would inflate my ego but I think I have gone past this. One simply can’t avoid the responsibilities and corporate bullshit that comes along with that title and that’s not a price that I am willing to pay.
And I do have enough other interests to occupy me. Becoming a better runner, swimmer, writer and husband etc. To have more time on this, I need to waste less on frivolous pursuits like engaging in projects in which the main objective is “showing your sups that you have the ability to take on more workload and responsibilities”.
As for making a living, I know what I enjoy and can do well in. When the supposed cons of the role can be a qualified boon to me, it’s time to make the move. Furthermore, I have had some positive experience with it in the past.
“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”
It’s hard to dispute with old wise Warren on this. 🙂
I guess one of the biggest risks I took was in setting up this blog and spending precious time maintaining it (sometimes during working hours). It’s paying itself back many times and more, judging from the slew of encouraging comments I have received in the past two days.
Thank you everybody!