It's been a while since the last post. Two years and a handful of days. And my what a journey it's been. Let me prepare my TV announcer voice... *ahem*... PREVIOUSLY, ON "TONY V WRITES":
Let's see. I was working an insane amount of hours at my job, but happily doing it remotely in the comfort of my home. I was saving and investing as much as possible on my quest to retire early, and by January 2022, I was nearing another major financial milestone. If the stock market and I had kept going at that rate, I may have been able to reach Lean/Partial FIRE (permanently leaving full-time work and optionally supplementing with part-time income) in about seven years.
Ah but as they say, the only constant in life is change. I knew the remote situation wouldn't last forever. The CEO repeatedly made that clear and inevitably called everyone back to the office in April. I pleaded my case for the company to consider a permanent remote option for employees that had proven themselves capable. I took it to the regional VP, the highest person up the food chain I knew. I argued how the two years of data showed that my performance as well as the department's had improved, and listed a slew of points how the remote option made sense for employer and employee. He agreed, however it wasn't up to him. The CEO made the call to return. No exceptions, no further discussion.
As I illustrated in my previous post, working remotely was absolutely life-changing, and after two weeks back in the office, I knew I couldn't fall in line and "go back to normal" as so many bosses demanded of us worker bees. I had already been researching other opportunities in which I could establish a remote career permanently, and the path I decided on was Salesforce. Thanks to my diligent saving, I was able to take my leave and make the career transition my full-time job. I resigned after a month back at the office, had a lovely farewell from my supportive colleagues, and got to work.
All right, I decompressed for about a month. Then I got to work. It's incredible how much your mind and body demand rest after working full-time and then some for 20 years.
I joined a Salesforce career development program, Talent Stacker, and began studying toward a Salesforce Administrator certification. By October, I earned both my Associate and Admin certifications (passed on the first try 🤘🏼). In November, I completed my first project for my portfolio. December I mostly took a break due to family obligations and holiday plans.
Do you recall that intense winter storm that hit the southeast US right at Christmas time? Like idiot Californians, the wife and I drove my 20-year-old Corolla right through it to make it to the mother-in-law's in Memphis. In fairness, we had no idea it was going to be that intense. No one did. We made it, the car made it, and we had a lovely harrowing sliding-off-the-highway-and-being-rescued-by-a-kind-truck-driving-stranger story to tell. Wacky fun!
Since January I've been actively job searching, breaking only to study for and pass a third certification exam. This journey has taken longer than anticipated, but I have a good feeling it will be paying off soon. For an introvert who'd never touched LinkedIn before, I've amassed quite a supportive network of Salesforce colleagues, both seasoned veterans and newbies like me working to get our collective feet in the door. It's been a tough but rewarding road, which is exactly what I expected as I drove home from my former office on the final day, swinging wildly between thoughts of "this is going to be the best decision in my adult life" and "I've made a huge mistake".
At this very moment, I'm in the candidate process for a dream company. My next post may be wildly victorious or markedly less so. Regardless, I'm not giving up. What I can say is those "I've made a huge mistake" thoughts have long since quieted. Because no matter what happens, I am truly proud of my decision to take the leap. I have nothing but gratitude for my former career. It served me well for quite some time, and I was lucky to work with a great team. But I felt in my heart and my gut that there was something better out there for me. A better fit. An opportunity that would allow a greater balance, a better quality of life such as I had achieved in those two years working from home. I listened to what I knew was right for ME, not anyone else. I listened and took action. That may be the most adult decision I've ever made. A far cry from the childish characterization that so many opinion articles utilize to paint Millennials and Gen Zers as lazy and entitled people who just "don't want to work".
Furthermore, this time around I will not be running myself into the ground with non-stop 11 or 12 hour days. The goal is to work hard, but in a fashion that allows me to enjoy both a successful career AND a fulfilling life. What a novel idea, yes? Achieving that, well, the frantic race to early retirement would no longer be necessary.
"Tony, none of this has to do with writing."
You're right. I would love to say I carved out time this past year to write the next Dax Harrison book, or at least do something creative. But alas, it's difficult to focus on creativity when the critical mission of landing a new career before you lose the roof over your head is dominating all your thoughts 24/7.
I pledge to you this: Once I am established at a new job, finances are stable, and I can evaluate my level of free time, I will absolutely rededicate myself to creative pursuits. At minimum, I plan to republish the first Dax book, make an audio version, and have the sequel near completion within the year. Speaking of which, I shared on Instagram yesterday that as of this week, my publisher has ceased distribution and transferred all rights back to me. Understandable, due to sales being pretty much at a standstill for some time now. I never continued any long-term marketing after the first big push, and per several author advice articles, "the best marketing for your first book is your next book". So that's on the to-do list.
In the meantime, Dax is now a collector's item! Get rich on eBay and give me a cut! 😁
Love to you all,