I Escaped the Ratrace and Gave My Briefcase to the Cat

Cat sleeping in my briefcaseWhen I got my first management job, my wife gave me a briefcase.  It was the biggest one Samsonite made at the time, and I liked it because I could bring work home from the office every day.  That briefcase went along with me on business trips overseas, to corporate headquarters and other regional offices in the U.S. and to meetings with clients.  It was handy for popping into the overhead on the airplane, and I could retrieve it during the flight so I could work.

I was a workaholic, leaving for work early and returning late.  I even enjoyed going to the office on some weekends because I could get more done.  Not being paid for the extra work wasn’t an issue with me.  I was never a 9:00 – 5:00 guy.

The promotions kept coming, and I had less and less family time.  My unused paid vacation time began to mount up.

Gradually I came to to realize how my job had taken over my life.  I had money, but no time to enjoy it or to spend with my growing family.  The companies I worked for controlled my time and my income.  Sometimes I was knocking myself out while others in similar positions were paid exactly the same while putting in minimal effort.  Frequently, I wondered if my superiors even knew what I did, and I felt more like a number than an individual.  I began to be dissatisfied and my briefcase got heavier and heavier.

It seemed to me that I had stepped onto a conveyor belt when I graduated from high school, carrying me through college and into the rat race while the years flew by.  Worst of all, despite all of the heroic mission statements of the companies I worked for as Operations Manager, General Manager, Regional Manager, and Managing Director, I didn’t feel like my efforts had added any true value to others’ lives.  At heart, we had been profit-driven, not purpose-driven.  Continue reading I Escaped the Ratrace and Gave My Briefcase to the Cat