What Comes Next?
Posted by Michael Vacanti
This is the first post from a personal blog I started when I quit my corporate job. I think it details my thought process and outlook on life at the time fairly well.
Originally published 7/3/2012
Last Friday, four days ago, I acted on a decision that I had been wrestling with for three years. I spent three years talking about this decision – hell, I’d tell most people I came in contact with – friends on road trips, coworkers hunched over laptops, girls at bars and guys in the locker room – anyone who would listen.
Then back in April I realized that a man’s word is only as good as his behavior reflects, and I spent half my days spewing out trash with no action to follow. I recorded this in a voice memo on 4/26/12:
“ …I just don’t like my job. So I am going to do something about it. I’m not going to continue to talk about doing something; I am going to do something. Check back July 15, 2012, and if you are still working this job then you are a loser because you are all talk and no action.”
I put in my two weeks notice on Friday, and my last day in public accounting will be July 13, 2012. I could write pages about the factors involved in this decision, but the decision has been made. I spent 25 years making decisions primarily based on doing what is “right” or “normal”. I did what I saw other people doing. I acted to impress my parents, and to ease my own mind knowing that society perceived my actions at “right” and “good”. Well guess what, I was f***ing miserable.
Further, after expressing to my parents my deep unhappiness with the path I was on, I was met with overwhelming support to go find happiness.
My dad has always encouraged me to act on my instincts and follow my dreams. He is an open-minded, free-thinking leader who taught me how to work hard and probably has more faith in my ability to execute than any other human. His support of my decision, one that society may label as irrational (leave a solid paycheck at a secure job with a top firm that provides excellent resume strength… without any real plan for generating future income? WTF!?), came as no surprise to me.
But when my loving, conservative, kind-hearted, worrier of a mother – who is the best person I know – supported my decision to pack up the 10-key and move to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico by myself to play poker on the internet, I knew I had the full trust and support of both parents. Their opinions are very important to me because unlike the faceless, nameless masses who I have never met yet whose opinions I let impact my decision making process, I dearly love my parents and greatly value both of their opinions.
Ironically, I found this applicable Schwarzenegger clip on “Success” the day after I put in my two weeks notice:
At that point, the only thing holding me back was me. I began making moves. I wiggled out of my $1.2k/month high rise condo lease six months before its expiration. I made a few logistical, poker related moves. I tore through books on start ups and entrepreneurship while racking my brain hours a day for an idea that could provide me with enjoyable work and a livable income. I projected personal spending into the future determining that if I earned $0 income I could live comfortably for 27 months (including two modest vacations per year) before I’d be begging for cash and eating out of garbage cans.
I prepared myself extensively to leave public accounting, but there is uncertainty involved in all major decisions. I knew that perfect planning didn’t exist and I would have to take the leap. A new lifestyle of higher risk than my current one. I had to put the faith I have in my own abilities to the test. Sink or swim.
A favorite quote of mine from Shawshank Redemption which almost caused me to snap quit my job around midnight in early February 2011, only 6 months into my esteemed career, after grinding away on the same mindless work for 16 consecutive hours:
Arguably the best movie of all time, by the way.
Why Blog? I started my first ever blog because I feel more motivated to succeed when I track my thoughts and am able to reflect on them – likely the reason I have journaled in the past. I’m not sure if anyone will ever ‘follow’ my blog posts. I wouldn’t expect anyone to. It seems like with finite time and seemingly infinite possible activities to engage in, one wouldn’t spend their valuable time reading about the life of a complete stranger. But if anyone does, I hope my actions and decisions will motivate and inspire that person in some way.
What comes next? The answer is that I don’t know. I know that I want to be happy. And I know that I want to (and am obligated to?) do good in the world. To be honest, I’m not sure how much there is to life that can’t be classified under one of those two buckets. I am going to focus on poker and my start up. I’m going to do what makes me the most happy which is spend time with my friends and family. After all, when we die and are just a memory on earth, our relationships and the people’s lives that we touched are what we leave behind. I’m going to lift weights. I’m going to chat up random girls. And I’m going to try to live my life on purpose – the best I can every single day.
As I say goodbye to a chapter of my life, I look forward to what comes next.