From the Top Bunk

What made this happen

While you read the below thoughts, please remember that it is just an overall opinion of things.� I appreciate everything that my many great friends have done for me. I also appreciate all the opportunities that Lands� End gave me.� The thing that caused all of this was an internal change for me, which I hope to clarify with what I wrote below.

People have asked me what made me decide to quit my �good� job to leave everyone & everything I know behind. � Everyone is looking for a one word answer or some event.� There really isn�t one & it is really tough to explain, but it was a change that grew from within my soul.� After working jobs and/or being in school since I was around 12, I felt like I have been following the normal path for a long time. I was following the societal norm of getting an education & getting a job. � Don�t get me wrong I don�t think that�s a bad thing & I am not complaining about my education or my job. � However, until I stopped to analyze my situation, I didn�t even notice how engrossed I was into a situation that wasn�t what I wanted.

The biggest single problem was the lack of room to grow socially. I have matured & became much more confident, especially in the past 2+ years, but I had hit a ceiling there as well. I knew most everyone around town & at work. I was not forced to go out & meet new people. Plus the people I would meet would be very similar, because people from similar areas typically have similar attitudes & backgrounds. � Another problem in a small town is that everyone knows everyone else.� When you stop associating with certain people it makes social situations difficult. � Small towns are very friendly which is nice; however, everyone has to know each other�s business. � When you stop associating with some people it also cuts you off from other people. Another contributing factor to my social boredom was that most people I knew didn�t want to do anything differently than they ever had. � They were married & had kids or may as well been married with kids.� I don�t think this is bad & I don�t hold this against them because everyone gets to make their own choices.� It just made it tough for me to get out of the everyday grind. I originally thought I might fix this all by relocating to a different city (Madison).� But when I thought about it, it seemed like that was just giving me a little bigger fish bowl to swim in, but not getting me to the open water.� I would still have the comfort of most everything & everyone I knew.

Next, I don�t want to sound over-confident, but I was about as big as I could be in the situation I was in. � I was not living life the way I wanted, I am a person who needs frequent new challenges. Just as there was no room for me to grow personally, professional growth was also slowing substantially. I was 2 promotions from the top of where I could be & was not receiving any new training.� I was completely into the everyday rut of work life, with only retirement to end the cycle. � I know that sounds extreme, but it is what I felt like.�

I know that I will have to work again. � However, banging your head against the same wall everyday for a company where you really don�t see anything from your work is not the way to live life. The really sad thing is that I got more from Lands� End than most people will get from their respective companies. It just still isn�t enough. In my life plan I never had it that I would work anywhere for 6 years. �

It has always been set in my mind that I would open my own company & be a millionaire by 35.� I plan to be able to retire my parents & brother. � I just needed my idea to get things rolling & it was not happening where I was. You may laugh when you read that & think yeah right everyone wants to be rich & retire young. The difference between most people & me is that I have a general plan to make it happen. Now a good question would be �How is taking a year off from work going to make you rich?� � The answer is that when you are going in one direction as hard as you can (like I was at my job), you typically can�t back up & see thing for what the possibilities. �Tunnel vision�, keeps you from seeing other better opportunities. � I believe having different experiences, meeting people from other cultures & getting a more international perspective may wake me up to opportunities I have been missing.

Another thing that most people don�t realize is that I graduated from high school in 3 years.� In my mind I have always had that extra year to use as I saw fit when the right opportunity came along.� I think this is really the right opportunity during the right point in my life.� I would not have been mature enough even 2 years ago, to do this. The timing is not going to get any better. I am not tied down to a family or anything that I can�t leave. � While I am 25 everything is cheaper, after my birthday this December things would have gotten a lot more expensive. �

People need to look inside them to see what�s really there. I am still trying to find the answer to that question. I strive for constant re-evaluation & try to make the needed modifications to create a better me. This situation all came together as a right time, right place situation. � Hopefully all of this has helped to give you a little insight into what I am thinking. I know people are struggling with this situation & I have not had much of a chance to explain it to most people.

- Wrote from the top bunk bed in a dorm hostel in Noumea, New Caledonia.

2004/09/29 - Brock Waterman