I quit my job earlier this week. I did so on Wednesday, the fourteenth. In hindsight, I should have waited another day and quit on the fifteenth, to coincide with the anniversary of the demise of Lehman Brothers. So for the fourth time in five years of career, I’ve quit a job without knowing where I’ll go next. The plan for the first month is to just chill and detox, and get back my sanity. Once that’s achieved, I’ll start thinking about where my next paycheque is going to come from (my employer promptly put me on Garden Leave, thus effectively giving me a month of “free salary”).
You know what I miss the most about student life? The annual vacation! That once a year, you are entitled to spend two months or more doing absolutely nothing. I remember that friends chose to do academic projects during that time. Others got internships in companies. A few others chose to travel then. I used to do none of the above. I’d just sit at home in Bangalore and fatten myself (to compensate for the weight loss during the semester), and that ensured I started each semester in fairly high spirits (no I didn’t indulge in those spirits back then). The only time I did something “productive” during vacations was when it was an academic requirement to do a project.
I seriously miss having that annual two-month detox period. Yes, I know that my last employer gave me over twenty days of paid leave per year, but it wasn’t the same. You knew that it was a rationed resource, and you’d try to use it effectively. You’d go on vacation and immediately get on to a flight. You would land in Bangalore and head back to office within the next twenty four hours. You would sometimes need a break, take a day off from work, and then feel supremely guilty. It was on one such day sometime in the recent past that I realized that I miss vacations.
There exists a reasonable chance that I might choose to be self-employed (if things work out the way I intend, that is) but otherwise I need to find myself a job that gives me substantial vacation days a year, which I can take without any guilt. I realize that is absolutely necessary for me to keep myself charged up, and that if I had access to vacations the way I did during school/college I wouldn’t have taken a career break so many times after I started working.
My other objectives for this vacation are to travel (but it’s a bit tough given that the wife works and is subject to the twenty-days-of-paid-leave rules) and more importantly figure out for myself what my tradeoffs in life are. During my last job, I realized that I’d grossly misunderstood between my tradeoff between time and money. The other tradeoff I need to understand is the one between money and perks. And I want to write more.