Man in the Mirror

I’ve noticed from my day job, a few of my colleagues have been quitting to (in a sense) find themselves. Some of them went overseas to get their Master’s. Some left to learn a new language. I even know of someone that left just because like in a soul-searching mission. Our society would say that doing a soul-searching mission is a great thing, but my question is “is it though?”

One of friends quit to pursue learning a language that he wants to teach. I was at first supportive of it because it seemed like he had a plan. He then quit and went on to learn the language and go to where his parents are at overseas…so I thought. I caught up with him, and he said that the plans have changed. There was no going overseas. There was no going to university to learn a new language. The only difference is that he doesn’t work for the company. That was kind of disheartening because I thought that he would go through his plan. It turns out that he was soul-searching to see what he wanted to do. He quit, but he didn’t follow through his plan, his passion. He had no backup plan to fall back on if that original plan fails.

Another friend of mine quit his job just because. He moved to a new city during the pandemic. I’m glad he loved the city he is in now, but he quit with no backup plan. He quit to find himself.

To my friends and to others in a similar situation, look in the mirror. There you go, you’ve just found yourself. This “soul-searching and quit everything” trend needs to stop. This is not a sustainable way of life. It’s chaotic and fruitless. I understand that most “soul-searchers” are privileged with old money (think trust fund and parents’ safety net). However, they are influencing people without such privilege to do the same which can be devastating. I have to be blunt. This can lead to financial ruin and wasted time that you could have used to save up or ironically enough devoting time to your passions because you are too focused on survival (most likely, just procrastinating and lose focus on your passion).

What is an alternative to dropping everything to find yourself? Have a backup plan. For example if you want to start a business, keep your daytime job for now and focus on that business outside of work. Work’s too much? Apply for a job that has a better work-life balance, so you can support yourself (and family) and give you the time to focus on your business. What if your business is successful enough to quit your daytime job? Then go for it, but have a backup plan. Be ok with working a part-time job if business is slow. Have a plan to gain more customers. Invest in advertising. Same thing goes for other passions like ministry, hobbies, languages, and going into the creative field like art, film, and music.

Here’s another example. Say you are passionate about writing novels. Would you quit your job to write a book when you know that you write a chapter in a month or two, and you haven’t published a single book yet? That would be foolish if you quit!

Don’t get me wrong. You need to know when to slow down or quit if you are exhausted. Proverbs 23:4 says “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” Sorry Sigma males but that grindset is not the way of life that is fruitful. However, this finding yourself craze goes to the other extreme, slothfulness. In Proverbs 19:15, it says that “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.” Remember a few paragraphs ago when you get into survival mode? Proverbs talks about that too. It says in Proverbs 12:24 that “The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.”

Let’s call this “soul-searching and quit with no plan” craze as it is: slothful. Let me conclude with Proverbs 13:4 which says “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” This richly supplied doesn’t always mean money. It means that you are provided for, in a sense, taken care of. If you have a passion you want to pursue, go for it! Just be calculated, discerning, and wise about your decision. Plus, have a backup plan!

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