Two years ago, I did the craziest thing an ambitious 28-year-old could. On March 15, 2015, I quit (no, I fired myself from) my Fortune 50, high-paying job with great benefits without having another official job lined up.
Many of my friends called this a corporate suicide. A few applauded and secretly envied my audacity to pursue my calling in life.
What most people don’t realize is that I didn’t just quit my job out of a whim. In fact, it took me nearly four years to make this life-altering decision. Punching fear in the face doesn’t sound so easy when you can’t afford to pay next month’s rent let alone find a new job.
Everything seemed to be going perfectly except for one thing: I was actually miserable.
Of course, I never admitted this to anyone, even myself. How could I? All my life, I had gone all-in with the hopes of reaching a dream, so much so that my passion and determination actually started to fade. The harder I worked, the more I felt disconnected and disenchanted with my work.
The harder I worked, the more I felt disconnected and disenchanted with my work. I felt like a mindless zombie, drowning in the current of purposelessness. Every day felt like a grind. I wondered where my life was leading.
These frustrations led me to face some fundamentally inconvenient questions about my life: Is this what all my hard work and planning amounted to? Why am I here? Does the work I do matter to God? What’s my calling and purpose in life? Is this simply a temporary feeling? What is the true meaning of success?
I came across the words of Trappist monk and spiritual master Thomas Merton, and they seemed to express exactly how I felt: “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”
Finally, I called a timeout on life. Enough was enough. Nothing was working. I turned to God and raised my white flag.
“The two most important days are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
My mentor once quoted Mark Twain: The two most important days in life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. He handed me a book that literally change my life, helping me find my why. This book showed me a radically different concept of life and success, in which meaning and purpose are gained by discovering and stewarding God’s calling in life.
Over the next several months, I felt an inner prompting in my heart. It felt as if God was whispering, “Paul, will you continue to live in a place of complacency? Are you not going to SOAR when I created you to be an eagle? Will you choose me or the world?”
This led me to reprioritize my life, ultimately leading me to quit my handsome job.
In hindsight, I am reminded of the scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice comes at a crossroads. The Cheshire cat asks, “Where are you going?” Alice responds, “Which way should I go?” The cat then says, “That depends on where you are going.” Alice confess she doesn’t know. The cat says “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
I may not know all the paths God may leading me in my life, but I know what my final destination looks like – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That’s why I fired myself from this job because following His calling is incomparably better.
Whatever it takes, choose His calling. It will make all the difference.