In mid-2013, after 15 years of working in the Information Technology (IT) Industry, I decided to cool off from my solutions advisor role and take a much-needed break from the corporate world. Like the majority of working adult population, I was working non-stop right after I achieved my Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering degree last 1997. It was my belief back then that having a full-time job is what I need in order to support my family, paying my rent, and settle my debts and bills. I can’t stop working and I have to climb the corporate ladder and that includes dealing with office politics.
And so it was, until 2012.
After I settled down and got married in September of 2012, like many high-achieving women in the workforce, family care was placed in my top priority. A month after my wedding, I was contemplating of “opting out”. If I continue my corporate role involving frequent travels, I believe my marriage may not work out. It is my personal conviction that the first year of marriage is highly critical as it’s the era of adjustments, understanding, compromise, and acceptance. I’ve learned it from my past failed relationships due to my lack of “quantity” of time. My ex-manager Ashok was surprised when I handed my resignation letter; I was saddened too, as he was a good and caring boss.
Leaving the corporate world especially when it’s your dream company is considerably heart-breaking. But weighing the situation, facing a failed marriage will be more traumatic.
I am considered blessed as after leaving SAP, I was offered to be a flexible delivery consultant by Claylogixtech Malaysia. I didn’t realize that it’s the kind of flexible time focused on project implementations and customer’s maintenance with a little of presales role is the type of spur I needed at that point.
Me and my husband tried to conceive. However, factoring the age and realizing blood RH incompatibilities lead us to the practical decision that having kids on our own will be dependent on God’s will unto our marriage. Somehow rather, it lessened the marriage stress and just be ready to respond to family relatives questions during gatherings. We belong to the norm of Asian culture that having our own children (meaning, own flesh and blood) is a must during the marriage.
Now, here are some of my practical derivatives of life lessons learned in the last four years:
- Time management
Time is the most precious commodity that we shouldn’t afford to waste. As I was surrounded by humongous amount of choices, I saw myself doing all things at once since you know, my own time is in my hands. I had a hard time finishing the projects that I started. It’s definite that some trusts were broken due to failing to deliver. I realized that when you are working for yourself, it is utmost critical to learn to prioritize, delegate minor tasks that I feel isn’t worth my time, and of course, learn to say no to those requests or business opportunities that isn’t my expertise or I’m lacking of knowledge. When you’re in your 40s, it’s best to focus on those activities that will value your time and self.
- Every penny counts
Being prudent is one of key factors that will determine a person’s success. When I was paid every month and bonuses coming in, I put in savings for the rainy days. Though at times there’s that want to overspend to satisfy the thirst for shopping branded items, I still make it a point to have some money in the bank. Well, that attitude came handy in the last four years. I had the courage to leave the corporate world as I didn’t have home mortgage to pay, we decided to rent room instead of whole flat, personal and credit card loans were manageable.
So, being prudent served me well in the long run. The only change I had to do is to shop less and not to be mindful of the fashion trend. I slowly changed my wardrobe to less clothes but quality pieces.
- More Friends
It is normal to disconnect with corporate friends when you’re no longer working full time. I realized my circle of friends have increased. As you venture entrepreneurship, you will be surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs just the same. I still keep in touch with ex-colleagues through Whatsapp and social media; having coffee and dinner from time to time. Basically, you will have mixture of friends, from ex-colleagues to new found friendships and connections.
- Be grateful
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 5: 3 NIV
My spirituality deepened during the last four years. I’ve finally ventured to one thing I’ve been wanting to do since I was 26 years old. That is, to serve God. Every year, me and husband conducts outreach program(s) to Philippines. We’re privileged enough to be supported by our church, Moriah Assembly of God, to be missionaries for a month to the northern part of Thailand. It’s not an easy journey but God is truly awesome! So we’ve named our business EL Hannora (which means Awesome God).
Serving God has been my most rewarding decision.
I will always be grateful to God, my hubby Gnex, my family and in laws, friends, biz partners, customers and Mr. Hew Keng Woon, and the staff of Claylogixtech Malaysia and Positive Domain.
Jumping out of the corporate band wagon is scary to death. There’s a gigantic worries and uncertainties because it is a make it or break it moment. With the binge of time, we cannot deny the unspoken norm that you have a slim chance of getting back your position and compensation when you hit 40s and above. The workforce competition is higher and employers prefer the older millennials due to focus, energy, and drive.
Opting out from the corporate and workforce isn’t easy. You will need tons of courage and faith to get by. However, if you survive the adversities, it’s one of the unforgettable milestones in your journey of life. I do not know what the future holds. However, one thing I can say is when you serve God, everything is uncertain. That’s where your FAITH kicks in. If God can feed the birds in the sky, why not us? It only takes us our humility and obedience.
Here are some of the motivational songs that helped me get by for all the ups and downs of life.
‘Til next time. Au revoir.