here are many young people in their 20’s asking themselves a question – what will happen after I come back from my trip around the world – be it six months, one year, or even more?
In my case there were two important factors.
Before leaving I was working as a real estate rental agent for foreign clients. I quite liked the job, and the money too.
I came back because my ex-manager was asking me for it, and I didn’t like China
So I came back – full of energy, without the need of sending Curriculum, etc.
I lasted exactly 3 months in the job I was happily in for 18 months before. Why, one would ask? What happened?
Well, after the amount of freedom, not being pushed around and generally living on my own terms (more or less, since Visas and budget were limitations) I just… couldn’t stand being pushed around, having to come to the office at 9.30 am each working day, and even more important, taking shit from clients. Everyone who was in sales/works with people knows the amount of shit that has to be handled. Especially if your salary is mostly commission based.
I started thinking, how can I make a living eliminating as many above mentioned factors as possible.
The conclusion was working remotely for chinese company (where I was working before).
Pros: After initial 2 months of looking for new leads, the only thing I had to do was to log in at 9 am, put some ads, launch skype and send the information on our daily stock to key clients (I converted the new leads into recurring clients).
Not having to deal with any type of corporation bullshit (attending the unfruitful meetings).
Not having to deal with difficult ones within the organization (the only person I was contacting with was my boss, whom I liked and respected, and vice-versa). This leads to the fact that I didn’t have to fight for power/position/political influence, whatever. I had one job – sell. And since the produkt was well known (Cisco), and we had proper pricing policy, all I had to do was seal the deals – the easy way with rather few competitors that could match the price/service quality.
The months were passing by, and I was turning out to be the most efficient account executive in terms of sales figures, while effectively working less than 3 hours per day. Sounds like a great deal, isn’t it? Well, it was even though the money wasn’t too high.
So what happened? Long story short, the company has changed the profile to sell altered serial numers (which makes double, instead of single digit profit), and I was offered to continue working selling those fakes. I had to decline the generous offer.
Fast forward few more months, when I started running out of money (see the Brazilian episode HERE) I had to look for a “real” job. Which meant sending tons of Curriculums, going through recruitment processes (and explaining everytime why I have such a big “empty space” in my curriculum). This, together with my expectation (the boss that would be a true leader, good team to work with, flexible working environment) and previous experience of travelling tons (during my studies I spent almost 2 years abroad) leaded to the conclusion of potential employers that I would quit the job in short amount of time.
After ticking the proper boxes the series of interviews, I had 2 choices.
First, was being an HR representative for the real estate field ie. searching for candidates to fill major corporations managerial positions.
What I liked about, it was a newly established yet growing company, with good office location and decent salary.
What I didn’t like was the absolute must of being in the office at 9 am sharp everyday, having to dress up everyday (suit and tie, regardless if outside was -20 or +35 degrees). What I didn’t like the most was the open space, where I was described that attention divisibility had to cope with writing on the board, typing at your keyboard while speaking to the client. Absolute madness.
Second option was the already established company dealing with diet supplements and creams. Their aim was to start operating in South American markets, that included Brazil and Mexico.
Atmosphere was laid back, there was no fixed time when you had to be in the office, and money was satisfying. Common room with 5 fellow workers in newly created logistics department sounded acceptable. What sounded appealing was that I didn’t have to sell anything – in fact I was representing client who was willing to use the services of third party providers. The boss seemed to be the person I would get along well with.
So, on paper the job ticked most of my requirements.
As I’m writing this, 17 months on the job has passed.
In the aftermath – do I think that travelling for such extended period of time was a good idea?
If I had a solid previous working experience, such a gap wouldn’t be too suspicious for potential employers.
If I had a field I specialized in, the comeback would be much easier.
But there is one thing that couldn’t be changed. The crawling for freedom. I can rationalize all I want about the tranquility, stable job, influx of money etc, but deep down there I believe that each job that I provide for 3rd party is like being a salary slave, thus making it sadly similar to Dilbert work experience.
Fortunately or not, travelling a lot opened my eyes, made me less eager to deal with bullshit, but the saddest of all, I realized that the grass isn’t greener elsewhere – ie. each country has its big problems – be it weather, political system, job market. What’s more, I don’t believe anymore in the “perfect place” on earth after living in 7 countries (Poland, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, US, Thailand, China) and visiting dozens more.
What were the problems in the above countries, by many claimed to be among the best to live in?
Poland (not too representable, since I only lived in Warsaw – where I come from): Bureacracy, weather, stiff to the rules, no matter how stupid they would be
Spain: fucked up job market, terrible quality of girls
Argentina: unpredictable job market and political system together with ownership rights, poor quality of girls
Brazil: absolute bureaucracy making it extremely difficult to make any sort of business there if you are a foreigner, unstable political situation
US: Feminazi and police state, BMI of population
Thailand: not into asian girls (but won’t argue that quality can be high), learning the language to become a part of the society, yet as a Farang it will take a loong time (or might be never) to mingle
China: horribly devastated environment, very bad food, mingling with locals from what I heard easier than in Thailand, but still not easiest.
So the question is – was it worth to destroy the ideals, or would it be better to live with non-verified utopia of the greener grass on the other side of the fence?