Amid scarce fanfare and scant publicity, I’d like to formally announce my temporary resignation from engineering. “Temporary”, say you? Well…I suppose so. Could it be permanent? Perhaps. Likely? A shrug of the shoulders “I dunna know”. In a few months, I very well could find myself on the figurative corner begging for enough change to hail a cab to pay the professional succubus of engineering a late night visit. For now though, I’m a week and a half removed from the only career I’ve known for the past 5 years.
How exactly did this come about? Well, the professional reasons were aplenty (excessive hours, travel, etc.)…but…at the end of the day…the simplest explanation was that I just didn’t want to do it anymore. It is a difficult feeling to explain to others – especially to those enamored by the lure and glamor of financial stability. I’ve sacrificed the tangible for the intangible. The ends didn’t justify the means.
What exactly has driven me to this point? Why now? What the zippy doo dah will I do from here on out? The answers to those questions (along with innumerably many) are muddled with a fog of uncertainty that won’t dissipate anytime soon. The motivation to keep on keepin’ on with the daily grind had been exponentially diluted over the past few years (and especially the past few months). In the narrowest corners of my mind and in the furthest depths of my conscience, I knew that this day was bound to eventually come. There has always been a voice of dissent in my mind that’s constantly refused to be silenced by my rationality. Does this mean I’m off and jogging towards an unattainable dream? I don’t know. Truth be told, I went into this hiatus/resignation with very little expectations. I simply knew that I needed some time off to reevaluate where I am in my life. Like I mentioned, I’ve been engineering for nearly 5 years now and it has consumed me. I’ve consistently traveled at a 50% rate over the last 18-24 months. I can’t even attempt to naively recall how many 70+ hour weeks I’ve worked. I needed a break; an F5 refresh of my mental browser. Sometimes, you have to get away from everything you’ve ever known to really understand where it is you want to go. I believe that.
So…here I am. Unemployed and uncertain. How ironic is it that I know as little of who I want to become at 27 as I did at 7? I guess…it’s better I’ve come to that realization now than at 40 or 50. I’ve realized that the longer we rationalize our lives, the greater our inspiration diminishes. The longer we wait to listen to that voice of dissent, the greater that voice fades away with time – to the point that it is a faint, fluttering murmur. A murmur that’s drowned out by the monotony of a life you’ve never set out to live.
We find ourselves constantly grinding for whatever is in front of us. The rent’s due? Gotta work. I have a mortgage. Gotta work. I have a car payment. Gotta work. I want to take that nice vacation. Gotta work. Somebody has to break bread for the kids’ tuition. Gotta work.
Before you know it, you’re a geriatric fuck wishing that you took a chance at veering off the course of financial stability at least once. One of my greatest fears is becoming “that guy”. I’ve always felt that I’m capable of doing something of greater significance than engineering. Money has never motivated me…and…at the end of the day, my conscience just wouldn’t allow me to continue cashing that check. Money didn’t drive me then and it wasn’t enough to drive me now. It’s easy to become so obstructed by the obstacles in front of you that you forget that it is okay to second guess the decisions you’ve made in your life. There is nothing wrong with questioning where you are in your life.
In all likelihood, I’ll go groveling back to engineering praying to all quadrillion Hindu deities that she’ll take me back. You know what, though? That’s ok. It don’t make me but a hill of beans. If my hiatus ends up proving itself to be ill conceived, irresponsible, and absent of any appeasing results…I can live with that. Sin duda. I can live at peace with saying that I took my shot at a different life path…and failed. At least I won’t look back with remorse and regret that I never had the fortitude to listen aptly to that voice of dissent in my head.
The uncertainty is unnerving…but exciting. Liberating…even if only momentarily.