John Muir, Quitting Jobs, And Unemployment

“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”
-John Muir

I own my decision to quit a decently paying job. As you all may have discerned from earlier allusions in posts, I was most recently working at the University of Maryland in an administrative position with some adjunct professorship thrown in here and there, as an sunsetAssistant Director with a little slice of heaven called the Center for Social Value Creation. It was nice in moments, but certainly not a long-term career solution and not a position with the sort of mentorship I desired out of a workplace. When the most inspiring people around you are the students you work with (who were awesome) you better be damn sure you’ve peaked in your career development- I think the phrase is “those who don’t do, teach.” I knew I hadn’t. So I saved up some money, got all but finished with Hurricane Camp Stories, put in my two weeks in early March, and left the East Coast at the start of my ramble. Simultaneously, I resigned from board positions with both the non-profit I co-founded (Evacuteer.org) as well as the DC Net Impact Professional Chapter. It was a fresh clean slate into the great unknown with my dog at my side, and after 42 days I landed in Seattle.

Since arriving on April 30th, I have lived in three different places. I lived with Aiko for a week and a half in Ballard,  with Grant for a week and a half in Capital Hill, and now am in a month-to-month sublet in South Seattle wherein I cut a deal with my roommate to clean her house and mow her lawn in return for paying the water bill every month.

Since then, I’ve submitted application after application to jobs around the city while simultaneously attending the sorts of networking events and happy hours that seem like they may lead to something more fulfilling. While I’ve been able to quickly ingratiate myself into the community of social entrepreneurship in Seattle, it has not brought anything in the way of job opportunities as of yet.

I refuse to believe that something better won’t come soon, even as I get by making cash  through landscaping and manual labor jobs I find on Craig’s List, receiving rejection after rejection from companies, and looking hard into the mirror each day. As I do have an MBA and a BA from two distinct Ivy League schools, one might think that I felt some sort of entitlement or expectation of ease in this career transition. That could not be further from the truth. On the contrary, I feel that such a gilded path can often times lead to a sense of security or privilege in one’s post-education life that is frankly unearned. I’ve seen this attitude in some of my peers over the years, and I don’t think that when our forefathers created the great universities some of us attend today that they thought those men would be lacking in the gritty fortitude that comes with earning to live. I value the courage in seeking one’s path over subscription to a day-in day-out that isn’t building up the experience of our one and only life. My tune might be different if I had a partner or family or financial obligation beyond my quickly accruing credit card debt and omnipresent business school loans- fortunately, it is how it is, pocked with C’s and G’s and Em’s and D’s. Cowboy chords, you know? Cowboy chords.

In the coming months, we have a lot of exciting content. I’ve been taking this Coursera course on the History of Rock in preparation for launching a tournament beyond even the bounds of our first tournament- the most influential song in the history of Rock and Roll. Our good friend Crispus Knight is set to release his watershed novel Three For Ship within the week, which we will be heavily promoting in solidarity.

For now though, I thought to write a post that may read more like a personal journal entry. I’ve never, for better or worse, been one to keep my sentiments to myself. Life’s a bit rough, and I’ve got a sunburn from cutting grass at 13 houses a day on Tuesday. That’s ok- to make it all sane, I’ve started a singer-songwriter duo with a friend in town from Alaska, I’ve taught myself how to code HTML and Javascript, I am retaking a finance class online to make sure I remember how to do NPV’s, I walk Helicopter, I joined the board of Social Enterprise Alliance- Seattle, and I’m taking a class on Human Centered Design in Pioneer Square. Gotta fill up the days, you know?

Live the dream. It’s not always easy, but settling is 100% worse.

g-mo

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About g-mo

The day I was born, Michael Jackson's Thriller album was at the top of the Billboard 200. I've been trying my best to live up to that expectation ever since.
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