why i quit

Original link: https://weichen.blog/cz/

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Yesterday was my 6th anniversary at Amazon. It was also the day I left my job.

Things like this naked resignation from high-paying jobs always attract a lot of attention. But I think there are subtle and complicated reasons behind the decision-making, and it is often not clear at once.

I am not writing this to persuade you to quit your job too. I just wanted to clear my mind through writing while reminding my future self why I made this decision. If you find it helpful after reading it, I’d be happy to chat with you.

If you’re always asking “what’s the point of this?” then it probably doesn’t make sense to you.

I used to love programming and look forward to going to work, but then I lost motivation. I’ve spent a long time trying to get back my passion, but I can’t find it. For me, the only meaning of work is to make money.

I realized later that the constant questioning of meaning meant that it no longer meant anything to me. Just like if we are full of heart, we don’t care what the meaning of life is.

So the question I need to answer boils down to: Is it worth working just for the money?

Might be worth it, it would allow me to save more money for the future. But what if the imagined future never comes? Seneca reminded in “On the Shortness of Life” (On the Shortness of Life) two thousand years ago, “Things that may happen at any time may also happen today.”

‌You can always make more money, but not more time.

We all know that time is more important than money, but it is not necessarily true in behavior.

One reason may be that our understanding is distorted by monthly salary – money feels more scarce, because only a fixed amount is available each month, while time feels unlimited, with a lot of free time after work to spend at will. 1

What is a better life? A bigger house, a more expensive car, a fancier restaurant?

These are not bad in themselves, but the problem is that if you upgrade your lifestyle too quickly, you will always feel that you need to earn more money. If you can’t answer ” how much is enough “, it is easy to mistake getting more for real happiness.

We only have one life, and work is part of it. Any separation is false.

I remember a friend who graduated with a Ph.D. told me that he prefers working for a company to working in a laboratory, because “I can forget about work after work.”

We like to separate work and life, as if they are two different wooden barrels, always wanting to pour more water from work into life.

But what if we actually only have one barrel?

When I was a student, I asked my professor whether I should do a Ph.D. His answer was more practical than I expected: “If you wake up every day and you don’t want to do anything but get a Ph. D., then go for it. Otherwise, don’t.”

I realized later that this advice isn’t just for PhDs. When you have a full-time job, no one questions you. But that’s just the default path for most people. Does it suit you? This choice should be approached with the same care as any other choice. 2

The world is full of opportunities, and our eyes need time and space to adjust to see them.

Another commonly heard worry is that without jobs, we won’t be able to support ourselves.

It’s like someone in the 18th century saying that human progress is quickly coming to an end as exponential population growth inevitably overwhelms a linearly growing food supply.

But we don’t know what we haven’t discovered yet. 3 When the field of vision is limited by the established structure, it is difficult for us to see other options. 4

The recent layoffs are a good reminder that a seemingly safe job can be taken away in an instant. Many people have worked in a position for more than ten years and seem to have a lot of experience, but it may be just a simple repetition of a year’s experience a dozen times. 5 Such work is fragile.

I believe that as long as we continue to learn and try, we can develop the ” special knowledge ” defined by Naval Ravikant, skills that cannot be replaced at any time. This reduces competition and allows us to discover opportunities we hadn’t imagined before.

The problem is that doing so requires free time, and progress is unpredictable.

But do you want to live a life where you can see the old at a glance? I know I don’t want to.

Build long-term relationships and do win-win things6

As to what to do next, I don’t know. But one thing is clear to me: I want to live a life of constant creativity driven by curiosity.

I always thought that work was about sacrificing something. It wasn’t until I wrote publicly that I realized that while doing what I like, I can help others at the same time. I also met fellow travelers that I would never have met in real life.

When you open up and keep creating and sharing, you will be driven by love, not fear. When you avoid the environment of competing for fame and status, you will see a more positive and enriching world.

I think we all have creativity – whether it’s writing, creating art, building great companies, or coming up with scientific theories – the world would be a better place if we could all focus on what we love and share it .

The real value of money is not in exchange for more expensive things. Its value lies in giving us the freedom to do what we want, who we choose to do it with, and for as long as we want. 7

For me, such things are learning, creating, exploring and making connections.

  1. Nassim Nicholas Taleb has an interesting quote: “There are three worst addictions: heroin, carbs, and the monthly wages.” ↩

  2. Not only the way up is the best way: Climbing the wrong hill by cdixon ↩

  3. The Beginning of Infinity greatly increased my understanding of science and progress. ↩

  4. There is an article that I have read many times, and each time I read something new: Quit Your Job by Wolf Tivy ↩

  5. This statement was heard from Shane Parrish . ↩

  6. Also from Naval Ravikant: Play Long-term Games With Long-term People ↩

  7. From Morgan Housel, highly recommend The Psychology of Money ↩

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