Why I Fired Myself Before I Got Fired By Somebody Else
Last week, I did the craziest thing an ambitious 28-year-old could. I quit (no, I fired myself from) my Fortune 50, high-paying job with great benefits without having another official job lined up.
Some have called this a corporate suicide. Others applauded and secretly envied my audacity to pursue my calling in life.
The truth is, I felt like a mindless zombie at work, drowning in the currents of purposelessness. Every day was a daily grind where I felt I was consigned to monotonous, set of thankless tasks. For the last several years, I asked myself, “Was this what work amounted to?” “How I can work under a toxic environment where my strengths were under-utilized?” “Why did God put me here?” “Should I quit my job?”
Over the last four years, I experienced an epiphany, a paradigm shift that completely transformed my outlook in life. Like others I was a driven, ambitious youngster hustling to climb the corporate ladder, vying to make it into the elite echelons of the C-suite society.
However, God started to inject His truth in my life. He started to correct my perspective. In fact, it felt as if scales fell from my eyes. I began to grow in discernment and started to uncover my true self.
For a majority of my life, I lived under my false self and experienced the devastating effects of self-hate. In Brennan Manning’s “A Glimpse of Jesus”, he describes false self as “the dominant malaise crippling Christian people and stifling their growth in the Holy Spirit.” All of us have grown up with cultural biases and parental pressures that constantly bombard us with messages like we’re not good enough, smart enough, or disciplined enough to acquire the virtues that would make us what we think we ought to be, torturing us spiritually and emotionally with “intense feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, and self-punishment.”
The outcome is a pernicious one: a debilitating, unhealthy, and negative self-image.
The false self deceives us by living a life of constant comparison. Instead of looking within, we are looking outside. We have bought into the lie of finding joy in external matters such as wearing the latest fashion, getting the next promotion, buy that new car, or even on our spouse’s and children’s success.
The false self stands in complete opposition to the biblical idea of being made in the image of God as His workmanship. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” It is a beautiful thing to know that we are known – known by our very Father, Creator, and Author in life.
As someone who wrestled with “inferiority complex” in my formative years, living with my false-self resulted in a life devoid of meaning and joy.
The more I grew in intimacy with God, the more I discovered my unique wiring, talents, and desires. It was a spiritual DNA God imprinted since my birth.
Over the last few months, I felt an inner prompting in my heart. It felt as if God was whispering, “Paul, will you continue to live in a place of complacency? Are you not going to SOAR when I created you to be an eagle? Will you choose me or the world?”
I am reminded of the scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice comes at a crossroads. The Cheshire cat asks, “Where are you going?” Alice responds, “Which way should I go?” The cat then says, “That depends on where you are going.” Alice confess she doesn’t know. The cat says “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
I may not know all the paths God may leading me in my life, but I know what my final destination looks like – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That’s why I fired myself from this job because following His calling is incomparably better.
Whatever it takes, choose His calling. It will make all the difference.