Sunday, April 8, 2018

How I Ended up in India After Quitting My First Job

How I Ended up in India After Quitting My First Job

Today I'm gonna take you back in time, to the experiences that led me to my first trip to India. This happened more than 10 years ago! I'll share with you the biggest life lesson I learn from my first job, and why I decided to follow a different path.

My first real job

When I was a kid my parents used to tell me: "The moment that you grow up and start working you will learn the value of money."

They had to say this because as a little child I constantly asked for things without knowing how much they would cost. Did that ever happen to you?

Eventually I grew up. I started working in a consulting firm while I was still studying at the University. I was working as a financial auditor for PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC). This was back in my hometown, Ecuador.

You won't believe it. I used to wear suit and tie. I even carried a suitcase with me! Lol.

This was definitely not my dream job, but there were some things that I did like about this job. On one side the learning curve in a consulting firm is exponential. That makes the work exciting and stimulating.

I worked with great seniors and managers that challenged me constantly to become an excellent auditor. Thanks to them I learned a lot about finance and business.

"Is that the best you can do?" That's the question Alfredo, one of my seniors, used to ask me whenever I was about to show him the work I had done.

Working for PwC also helped me to develop my self confidence.

I have always fallen on the side of being introverted, quiet and shy. As a financial auditor I had no choice but to overcome my insecurities, even from day one.

I remember my first day at a client site. After receiving instructions from my senior I had to go and meet with the accounting manager of the company, on my own. I had to ask him questions that I could barely understand myself.

I was not really satisfied

A few years passed by and I became an audit senior myself. Thanks to the coaching that I had received from my seniors and managers, I was actually pretty good at it.

I had my own clients and my own team. I also became specialized in one industry; in insurance companies.

In a way I felt successful. I was doing a good job. I received many positive evaluations and I was appreciated by my managers and the partners of the firm. I felt very confident, but at the same time I was not really satisfied.

The working hours in a consulting firm are insane. Forget about life work balance. During the high season we typically worked Monday to Sundays, including evenings.

A typical day started around 8:30 am. If you were studying at the University you would typically leave between 6 or 7 pm to class, but then return after class to keep working.

I was lucky. When I was still an assistant I had really good and efficient seniors, so that never really happened to me. But it happened to pretty much all my colleagues.

I still had to work many weekends, many nights and even during public holidays. Weekends at the office was like a Monday in a normal office.

I remember a few times I wanted to take my little brother to the movies, on the weekend. I couldn't even tell him my plans because I had to work on a financial report for Monday.

Can you imagine how that made me feel? I'm sure many of you have been in a similar situation.

And although this was definitely not my dream job I would still do my very best.

That meant that I also needed to dedicate some time to my ongoing education. I had to study the International Accounting Standards (IAS) to be prepared for whenever I had to meet with the partners or the clients.

This was definitely not my favorite thing to do, but on top of that the only time that I had to do so was during my free time. That would be late at night or on the weekends.

But at that time there were many other things I wanted to learn about. Even back then I remember staring at my yoga and meditation books, with the corner of my eyes, while I was reading the IAS on my laptop.

I had to learn about depreciation and amortization while I actually wanted to learn about yoga and meditation! Lol.

The biggest lesson in my life

This experience became the biggest lesson I learned at PwC. It actually became one of the biggest lessons I've learned in my life. It was eye opening and it has impacted every decision I have taken from that day on.

My parents prediction never became true. It didn't matter how hard I work, I never learned to value money. Instead I learned to value something else. I learned to value my time.

I learned to ask myself what is really important to me. I learned to ask myself what do I really want to do with my precious time.

Why would I spend my valuable time doing anything but the things I really want to do? Why would I deprive myself from doing the stuff that I love to do just to make a career working for somebody else?

Sure, I learned some skills, I gained work experience and I developed a good CV. But, is that really important to me? Is that really what I'm meant to do?

I wanted to follow my own path

After I became an audit senior I also asked myself, "What's next?"

I knew exactly what was supposed to come next.

Keep working my ass of. Get an MBA. Get employment on a multinational. Keep climbing the corporate ladder so that eventually I can buy a big house, a nice car, and spend two weeks holidays with my family somewhere else.

In other words, that meant keep doing the same things over and over again. It was a very clear path with a very clear destination. The same path that so many others have taken. Where was the challenge? Where was the excitement?

Sure, I could keep learning and developing by working for different companies, in different industries, and by managing people. But from my perspective that was still all the same.

I felt I had already achieved what I needed to achieve there. I'd had a good career. I knew I was a good employee, and wherever I would go next I knew I would do an excellent job.

I wanted to do something more challenging instead. I wanted to dive deep into the unknown and follow a different path. I wanted to follow my own path, instead of following the path that others expected me to follow.

Your path will unfold as you follow it

I wasn't sure though what exactly I was supposed to do.

That's the thing about following your own path. For many of us the destination is never really clear. Or perhaps you might have a blurry vision of the life you want to live, but you'll have no idea of how to get there.

Since it is your own path there are no previous footsteps to follow. You gotta make your own trail, step by step. You'll never be able to see more than a few meters ahead of you.

Your path will unfold as you follow it. What you are meant to do becomes clearer and clearer as you walk in the direction that your path is taking you. All you know for sure is what you want to do right at that moment.

And at that moment I knew wanted to have an international experience. I wanted to live abroad. Luckily I had found an organization that was going to help me to do just that; AIESEC.

India was calling me

AIESEC is a non-for-profit organization run by students and recent graduates. They organize internship programs around the world, or as they like to call it, they create "opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges."

As soon as I finished my university studies, somewhere in January 2005, I went straight back to AISEC. I didn't became a member though. I simply applied for an internship abroad.

But where could I go?

I wasn't sure then, so I applied for an internship in Kraft Dubai. Luckily that didn't work out. Instead I got an internship exactly where I needed to be. Can you guess where?

Well, I got accepted in a company in India. I was supposed to start my internship on Feb 16, 2005.

At that time I wasn't sure about going to India though. First I couldn't believe I could get that far, but also I wasn't sure I would like it. I imagined the traffic, the pollution, the chaos... How could I ever live there?

All I knew about India came mainly from reading Autobiography of a Yogi and the Bhagavad Gita.

And that's exactly why I needed to be there.

Traveling to India, the birth land of the great Indian yogis that I had read about in books, was an unconscious desire that was manifesting by itself. I didn't realize it back then, but India was actually calling me.

It's never been about the money

As soon as I got accepted for this internship, with joy in my heart, I put my resignation at PwC. I walked into the office of the firm's partner and said, "Roberto, I quit!"

No, actually that's not true.

I can't remember what exactly I said. That was a long time ago, you know. But I wasn't rude at all. Basically I thanked him for everything and I explained him what I was about to do.

While I was having that meeting with Roberto, after telling him my plans, he said something like, "Marco, lets work things out. We need you here." He offered me a salary increase so that I would stay.

But it has never been about the money.

I was actually going to earn even less than half of what I was making at PwC, which is already a low salary employment in Ecuador. He could have offered me all the money in the world but I would have still left, without a second thought.

It was such an exciting moment for me. I wanted to do something different, and I was doing it. I was giving everything up and I was going to travel to the other side of the world.

This was going to be the first time that I was going to travel that far, on my own and for an indefinite amount of time. I had no idea what to expect.

Little I knew how this experience was going to change me. Living in India was going to become one of the greatest experiences in my life. I will never be the same person again.

To be continued 

I will tell you the continuation of this story on my next blog post. I have so much to share about that first trip to India.

Updated 18-04-2018: This story continues in Why I Didn't Expect My First Trip to India to Be Spiritual

Actually, I recently decided to share a lot more about my personal path with you. I'm sort of connecting the dots that lead me to where I am today.

It's been such an awesome journey. Perhaps you might find some inspiration to follow your own path.

So let me know if can you relate to this story in anyway. Have you ever been in a similar situation? Do you have any life lessons you would like to share? Feel free to write your thoughts in the comments below.

20 comments:

  1. Marco, I like this story, can't wait to read the next blog to know how it unfold from there. I'm also struggling with choosing my path. Do what I should be doing. I love yoga and want to spend my time going deeper and doing just that, but I feel like I have other dharma in this life.Anyway I'm learning and flowing.... Namaste.

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    1. Thank you J.Rahmi for your comment. Finding our dharma and then doing it, that's to follow our path, and our greatest duty ;-) Namaste

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  2. I spent a year in S. Korea teaching English and have saved up my money to enable myself to travel and live abroad for months at a time. I understand you. Fortunately I enjoy my work as a hospice social worker. Kudos to you for being so brave!! I attended International Yoga Festival in India last year in India on the Ganges and completed a Buddhist pilgrimage. Lastly, I trekked Annapurna Circuit. Thank you for sharing your lifeπŸ™❣️

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    1. And thanks for sharing a bit of your own journey Pamela :-) It sounds great. And also thanks for taking the time to read my stories, I really appreciate that :-)

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  3. Great blog, loved reading about your first trip to India, can't wait to read the 2nd part, hugs πŸ˜™πŸ˜™πŸ˜™

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    1. Gracias Lorena! Espero publicar la continuacion durante la proxima semana :-) abrazos desde Cambodia :-)

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  4. Great blog Marco, you have come a long way since we were classmates at Ipac.
    Luis Leon

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    1. Haha, we all have Luis. Gracias amigo, saludos a la distancia

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  5. Very inspiring Marco! I went through the same, I had a good job for my country’s standards but something was calling me abroad. I quit and this has been almost 9 years. There is nothing that makes me feel any regret. Bless you πŸ™πŸΌ❤️

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    1. Camilla! So happy to hear from you! and happy to know that you've also followed your calling :-) Now let that calling bring you to Siem Reap :-)

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  6. Thanks for sharing your career journey..was worthed

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    1. Thanks for reading Ibrahim! πŸ˜ŠπŸ™

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  7. Thank you for sharing!
    I'm doing a similar thing myself as I left the corporate world and am now studying ayurveda and yoga in India. I'm looking forward to hearing the next part of your adventure and how you made things work - the picture is still a little fuzzy (although exciting) for me!
    Lu x

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    1. Oh that’s awesome Lu! Where are you studying yoga? Good luck with everything 😊

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  8. Hey Marco,
    I am so grateful for you sharing your experiences. You're a real inspiration. I am also trying to find my path and see all the seemingly wrong directions as the means which will lead me to the right one. Experiences are the best teacher. I've been to India, to the sivananda ashram in madurai thanks to you.And I had a great time, it was absolutely the right thing to do. So it's really great that you're sharing your experiences here, I am sure it will help and encourage a lot of people.I am looking forward to the next part:)

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    1. Really? You’ve been to Madurai? Oh I love that place, and I’m happy to hear you had a great time there. I’ll be sharing the next part of this story probably next week. So stay tuned πŸ˜‰

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  9. What an amazing story. I am so happy that you decided to share it with all of us so that we can learn from your courage and also take the steps into the right direction! can't wait for part two!

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    1. All thanks to your encouragement Lakshyaji πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜˜πŸ™. Second part coming soon.

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  10. Yes, Marco, you asked in your email notification about this post, whether it was an interesting direction for your readers. And, yes, I do think so; looking forward to hearing more!

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    1. Hello Tehre! Oh thanks for letting me know, and thanks for being one of my loyal email subscribers :-)

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