Career Suicide? More Like Career Liberation! (And Why I’ve Made the Decision to Quit … Yet Again)

Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness. – Shakti Gawain

Can I tell you something? Are you ready for it? …

I’m quitting my day job. Again.

Nearly 2 years ago in November 2008, I left my posh day job working in the Human Resources department for Walgreens corporate headquarters (the major retail pharmacy in the U.S. and Puerto Rico). I gave about 3 years of my life to Walgreens, starting off as a retail management intern while in college and then being hired right out of college into their HR department as a campus recruiter. Sweet deal! Handling the entire Western division of the United States, I traveled across the country, presented at countless colleges, universities, and career fairs, and held the power and esteem associated with working for a Fortune 50 company. Life seemed good.

Then I got promoted to a Diversity Strategy Specialist position handling companywide diversity projects for over 225,000 employees at the time. Wow. Major responsibility for a 23-year-old at the time. I had my own office (not a cube), brand new company laptop, a pseudo-secretary who’d take phone calls for me, and a huge, fat paycheck. I was living it up. One of the many bright faces of the company, literally.

So what made me quit?

I wasn’t happy. I started to feel empty inside. That all my hard work, life energy, and dedication was for naught.

I didn’t know what would make me happy until the light bulb turned on in my head and I started to listen to my heart. This all happened this summer. But before I get to some great juicy stuff, some realizations to be had:

I Just Brought In Over $1.5 Million In Sales Today And What Do I Get

“Great job; remember, keep on pushing!”


I get paid $15.62 an hour (take home) so that I can make others rich? Toil away using my life energy so I can ensure you have plenty of money to fool around with? You have got to be kidding me.

But that’s how the way of the corporations work … most employees work to make the big bosses rich. We, the little people, furiously work at a frantic pace just to make nickels and dimes while those who have more power, leverage, and authority get away with taking home $100 per hour or more!

Before you go and say how I’m starting to be negative or focusing on all the wrong points, do understand I believe myself to be a great employee and love to be positive (there’s so much negativity in this world as is, why add to it?). I just find myself to be an even better entrepreneur and artist, hence why I am going to quit my corporate day job.

Back in July, I wrote a powerful manifesto on My Dream for Freedom. There, I proclaimed my quest for independence, by freeing myself of the corporate gridlock and chokehold it has on me. I announced to the world I am going back to my roots, where my childhood ambitions of being an artist and writer will inevitably come to full fruition. I am the only one holding myself back. No one else. And I am the only one responsible for my own life, for my own happiness. I announced I will leave the corporate world next summer 2011. Let’s fast forward that a bit, shall we?

I’m quitting very, very soon. As in, by the end of November, this year. (Ironically, exactly 2 years after I quit Walgreens.)

“Whoa there, Nina … why are you posting that up for the world to see, including your bosses and coworkers?”

I am being true to myself and want everyone to see that it can be done and my life will be the example. If, for some reason, my managers get a wind of this prior to my leaving, I will just have to be satisfied that what’s done is done and everything happens for a reason.

How I Reached This Decision To Quit My Corporate Day Job

Realization #1: School has taught us wrong.

The point of school is to not teach us to be better citizens, smarter individuals, productive and creative artists, free thinkers, and ambitious go-getters. They taught us to be obedient, to memorize everything by rote, to not “color outside the lines,” to listen and then do as instructed. Basically, school has taught us to become productive zombies for the big wigs at the top.

School oftentimes has nothing to do with how well you will perform at a particular post at a company. Your education won’t determine if you have integrity, are ethical in business dealings, will follow through on project assignments, are friendly to your coworkers and managers, and basically, are competent enough to do a job-well-done. Your education will provide certain foundations but that is all. Everything else is taught outside of school. The willingness to learn, make mistakes, take risks, and to be pro-active are major indicators of whether or not you can do any job successfully.

Realization #2: If I’m not happy with what I’m currently doing, I need to take action to get to where I am happy.

No brainer, right? But you’d be surprised at how many folks look at me with a queer eye or a glazed over look when I proclaim, “I want FREEDOM!!!”

  • They think I’m some foolish kid that’s about to destroy her career.
  • They think I’m making the biggest mistake of my life … again.
  • They may think I have loyalty issues and can’t commit to one company/organization and instead, need to bounce around, like some church-hopper who attends a different sermon at a different church every week.
  • They think I have issues.
  • They think I’m throwing all this potential down the drain.
  • They think I’m stupid.
  • They think I am just letting the stress of the times get to me.
  • They think, they think, they think …

Well, they’re wrong. I know exactly what I am doing. Listen carefully people: I am following my heart and doing what I was made to do. I’ve tried the corporate world a few times, all with the same end result: it doesn’t make me happy, no matter what company I’m in, what position I hold. What does that say? It certainly says I wasn’t meant to be in such an environment!

Also, let me tell you something. I am certainly not hating on those who absolutely love their corporate jobs. For some, that is their dream. Awesome!! If you love what you do, by all means, keep on doing it.

But as I already have mentioned before, nearly 80% of people who have jobs dislike it or nearly hate what they do. If you fall into the vast majority, can you do anything to get out of it? Anything at all? Before you become mummified while you’re still alive?

List 5 ways you can start to take action to get out of something you hate.

I’ll give you a starting point:

1. Research some areas in which you absolutely love to do or wish you could do.

See if you can start doing that on a part-time basis, at nights or on weekends. If you’ve always wanted to host mountain climbing excursions, research the companies or tour groups that are always in need of hosts for such adventures. See if you can talk to someone there and get more information.

2. Write down where you see yourself a year from now. Now, write down where you want to be a year from now.

Hopefully, these two scenarios will be very different from one another. For instance, where you seeing yourself a year from now could be: “I got another raise and another promotion. I’m now leading a small team of 3 employees.” Versus where you want to be a year from now: “I am leading a small group of mountain climbers up the Himalayans and getting ready for the ascent!” See the difference? It can be a big one if you dream it to be.

Earlier this summer in June, I wrote down my goals. I had two concrete ones at the time:

  1. By 12/31/2010, to have self-published and sell my first ebook through Castles in the Air. (Is this foreshadowing for a new ebook to come? Yes, why yes it is!)
  2. By 06/2011, to have freed myself from the corporate chains of living death. Or, if you like a farm animals analogy better, to be free from The Trough Effect.

By admission of the power of writing things down, by holding yourself accountable to your own goals (as realistic or unrealistic as possible is left up to you), and keeping your eyes, ears, heart, mind, and soul open to opportunities all around us, these two above goals will indeed get done, and with a much more advanced ship date than estimated. Not everyone who writes things down will have it come true. But I’m just letting you know that it has worked for me more times than not. It’s powerful. Quite powerful.

3. Speak with someone that has done exactly what you want to do and see what you can learn from this person.

For instance, if you really want to be a Yoga instructor teaching in the studios of China (I actually know of someone who does exactly this – and is living her dreams!), then try and see if you can talk to someone who has done that! See what that person has done that led them up to that point. What mistakes did they make that you could possibly avoid? What tips and tools of the trade do they have that will make your process a little bit easier? Ask questions.

4. Read valuable books that will change your mindset of an employee to that of an entrepreneur (or whatever it is you want to be).

I cannot stress this enough. What you read will truly change your thought-process and way of thinking over time. It won’t be an overnight change, rather, it’ll be a gradual one. Better to start the process now.

A year ago, I was working at Starbucks part-time making minimum wage. (Before you say I am now hating on those who work minimum wage jobs, know that I have many friends who are wonderful and bright individuals that love doing work that serves others, literally.) Once I started reading more books on positivity, getting started in the direction of your dreams (but first realizing what those dreams were), true stories of people who have been exactly where I was at and who have failed time and time again in order to finally succeed, etc., my mindset started to change. I realized I could do it. In fact, I needed to do it. I had to for my own good and sanity. And once I made the decision to, I feel much more liberated knowing that I will finally be free.

5. Just up and quit.

This option will not be for everyone, and most likely, it won’t be. My friend Steven did that with his job last year. He had worked at his company for 3 years, and one day he was stuck in morning rush hour and felt he needed to quit. So he walked into his manager’s office and put in his 2-weeks notice, right then and there. All his coworkers were giving him a hard time but he knew he had to do it for his own good.

Now I’m not advocating foolishness and an immature approach to leaving one’s day job. So don’t say I told you to go give your boss the middle finger (unless that’s what you really, really want to do)! Or to trash your cube on your way out the door as you’re escorted out after giving your boss the middle finger. Okay? Don’t do that. It’s not very nice.

Realization #3: Life’s too short to remain miserable.

Being comfortable does not equate to being happy. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the same thing.

So often you hear people sigh and mutter, “Same old boring routine …” about their day jobs or their lives or both. Yet what are they doing about it? Grumbling, complaining, whining, and spreading negativity like a virus doesn’t help them one bit, let alone make others want to be around them.

They’re staying where they’re at because they’re comfortable. Changing one’s life involves a great deal of risk taking. Of jumping. Of doing things. Of being looked at and ridiculed for leaving the masses (because secretly, the masses are jealous and wish they could do the same thing, too).

To opt for the entrepreneurial lifestyle means you have to do a lot of things yourself. “Aw, man, so now I have to figure out how to actually make a business run? Or how to earn money doing what I love? What about health insurance (if you’re in the U.S.)? What about my 401(k)? What about my profit-sharing plan? I’m almost 100% vested! I can’t leave now! What about jean days on Fridays? Or free breakfast on Tuesdays? Those are some pretty sweet perks!”

EXCUSES, PEOPLE. Say it like it is. These are just excuses.

I could easily say, “Oh gosh, I’m so Asian. I can’t possibly do that.”

Does that make any sense whatsoever? Didn’t think so. If it doesn’t make sense to you, think about what you’re saying to yourself. You’re just hindering your own potential for true happiness and freedom. Don’t be your own slave driver.

Whoa, cool! What Now?

So with these 3 realizations (and many others as I grow, change, and learn), I made the decision last week to not wait until next summer to quit but instead, do it soon, do it now.

I’ll be leaving for Taiwan next spring 2011 for an extended period of time, with a one-way ticket in hand, the clothes on my back, a small backpack with just the essentials, and my dreams, aspirations, and lofty ambitions within. As I haven’t been back in a decade, this will be awesome to go back to my roots.

The future looks promising, bright, and will be what I make of it. Thank you for joining me, watching me, and supporting me as I conquer the status quo to be the Nina I was meant to be! I hope you do the same for yourself in your life. You deserve happiness and freedom. We all do.

Subscribe to the and follow me on and  as I dominate my own world by freeing myself of the corporate chains! Countdown has begun to ultimate freedom!!!

  • Anonymous

    Btw it is Martin lol

  • Anonymous

    All I can say is wow! I have learned a lot of about you from this post. I never expected you to be the type to up and leave her job. nnDo you know where you’re going to stay in Taiwan?

  • Kristyna

    You, my dear, are an inspiration. n& you have given me hope. Thank you. ♥

  • Duff McDuffee

    “The point of school is to not teach us to be better citizens, smarter individuals, productive and creative artists, free thinkers, and ambitious go-getters.”nnActually that’s exactly what my schooling taught me. It was my jobs that taught me “to be obedient, to memorize everything by rote, to not u201ccolor outside the lines,u201d to listen and then do as instructed.”

  • Bo

    Congrats Nina! You’ll no doubt succeed in whatever you do. Can’t wait for the ebook!

  • Brian Pivar

    I love what you wrote…Its funny because as I’m reading the 5 steps to change your life, I’m seeing that I have already been taking these steps. I also have already planted in my head where I want to be a year from now…and what I want to be doing…nI would like to be trading the stock all day long, using my trading knowledge to outperform the market.nI want to be in Hawaii surfing as the sun is setting, a year from now…nnnI just read an article about goals vs. intentions. It was very interesting the main point was…nIntentions are set for the present whereas goals are set for the future. If you are in the moment of good intention, you will be more available to reaching a goal -However, goals can be disappointing and can fluctuate – if you reach a goal there is always a new one lurking in the future. Intentions need to be practiced in the moment.

  • Anand HS

    Nina,rnWhile you did make some valid points, I am really interested to know what did you mean by {quote}rnI could easily say, u201cOh gosh, Iu2019m so Asian. I canu2019t possibly do that.u201d rn{/quote} ?rnrnDo you really think there are no Entrepreneurs in Asia? rnrnAnd if your idea of Asian is everything that you said prior to that statement, about being employed and all that, you really seem to have had a very cocooned existence and don’t know too much about the real world outside America.rnrnBlogging about minimalism and quitting job and all seems to be the flavor of the season, and you definitely sound like you’ve been reading most of this stuff very recently in books and simply tried to regurgitate it in your own words on your blog.rnUnfortunately, there is no MBA subject that teaches maturity and I am sure in time, you’ll realize.rnrnGod Bless You.rn

  • davidd

    For previous poster Brian Pivar: you can make the Hawaii thing happen! I did it several years ago. The company I was working for had offices in Hawaii (I was in Oregon). Co-workers laughed at my plan to request a transfer to Hawaii. I learned what I had to do (keep a clean sick leave record, basically), and as soon as I had enough time in with the company (3 years), I put in a transfer request. Again my co-workers laughed. NOBODY gets a transfer to Hawaii, they said. Two weeks — TWO STINKIN’ WEEKS — later I got a call, asking “how soon can you be here.” And, dude: a dumpy little house ON THE BEACH ON THE NORTH SHORE cost me the same as a nondescript house in dreary, rainy Oregon would have! I’m with a different company now, wishing I didn’t have to work to make ends meet, but I get home in time to paddle out for a few evening sets (when I’m not too tired). This is pretty much the only time the “visualization” thing has worked for me, but it worked in a big way. Oh, and… when I moved here, the guy two doors down was making his living day-trading from HIS beach house for four hours a day. (He eventually sold his house for a cool mil in cash and moved to Texas where he could live cheaply and not have to worry about money ever again.)

    Didn’t mean to co-opt your topic, Nina. I’m wondering… how are you gonna afford to quit and travel in Asia? Some specifics would be useful… ‘cuz I’d love to do the same thing!

  • davidd

    Oh, and, Nina… I appreciate that your site allows us to edit our comments, so I can fix my all-too-frequent typos! ;-)

  • Monica

    Hi Nina.nnI did that. 31. August I told my boss I had enough, I quit. nnI had been thinking for a long time to do something about my situation, the energy at work was getting more and more negative, and then one of my co-workers got another job. Since I have a great responsibility but only 80% employment at least I hoped for an offer to get 100% now. But no, the bosses decided to get another 20%part time worker, because it’s cheaper (they didn’t say but I know thats why) n This got me to think a lot about my situation. I took it as a sign- I don’t take this crap – it’s time to move on. So 3 days later I gave my 1-month notice, I was terrified but still I knew this was right.. n nNow I just have 2more weeks to work before I must work for myself. I really had to get out of this coma and get my ass moving. I am starting a small assistant company (it’s not to many of them here in Norway) and now working on my website and my marketing plans. Reading about taxes and all that stuff needed to be done. Ready to really market myself in a week ;-)nnPeople have been responding very differently to my decicion. Most of my GOOD friends have been positive and supportive; ‘wow, that’s great, you’re brave, I know you can do it etc.’ I actually feel their energi lifting me even more. But I also have/had many negative reactions, I feel some people and co-workers and even friends think I’m nuts and they kind of like me to fail. Many people don’t even know that I’m starting my own little buisness, like I havent told on Facebook side for instance (as you see), because I know some of my ‘friends’ would be more critical than supportive. And I really don’t need this negative energy now. nnWhen I closed this door some other doors will open, that’s for sure. If I should fail, well, then I tried and learned a lot, but anyway this isn’t wrong! And I have to create a new income, because I have to teenage daughters to care for, so this pushes me even more. nnI can do it, and you can do it Nina! :-) It’s time to take responsebility for ones own life and happiness, and at least try to make a change. I hear so many people complain about their working situation (or the weather here in Norway), but you know what, – Norway is a rich, safe but cold and rainy country – feel free to move if you don’t like it :-)nnKeep on beeing brave, it feels good to share this!nnMonica

  • Namrata

    Hey Nina,nnInspiring move! nnI was just nodding and smiling throughout the post. I abs agree with your realization #1: School has taught us nothing. So true! nnKeep posting and good luck for life ahead! :)

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Thank you, Kristy! So glad this has inspired you to do whatever you set your heart and mind to. :)

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Awesome, thanks Bo! It’s going to be a good one. :)

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Hi Anand,nnThanks for commenting. So as you may know, if you see the photo on the right side of the front page of the blog, I’m an Asian woman. The rhetorical sentence “Oh gosh, I’m so Asian. I can’t possibly do that.” was meant as a ridiculous statement of the absurd excuses we give ourselves for not doing/starting something. It’s absurd, isn’t it? What does being Asian have to do with anything? So that was what I meant when I wrote that. nnI have worked in Asia before, in particular, Beijing, China. I have studied in China for 4 months, thus immersing myself in the culture, work styles, nuances, etc. of such a vast and beautiful country. Please do not make assumptions that I do not know the real world outside America. It’s hurtful and just plain inaccurate. I don’t write my whole life story in each post, regurgitating every life experience I’ve had, because that’s not what I want to write about — and not what this blog is about. I write about such experiences as it pertains to what I’m currently experiencing or if it’s related to the topic at hand, and most especially, if it’s helpful to the readers at large.nnIf you have followed my blog the past several months, you’ll have noticed I am not doing things as the “flavor” of the season wills it to be. I have actually quit my corporate job 2 years ago, having followed only 1 blog at the time, with no blog of my own. nnThese life-altering decisions were not made on a whimsical basis and during an emotional crisis. These decisions were thought through, as much as possible without delaying action, because once it has been made, there is no turning back. I have hurt and upset many folks, some of my closest friends and my family, due to decisions I needed to make because I needed to be happy. I made the decision that I need to live my life, not live my life according to what makes others happy. It is a tough and oftentimes lonely road, but I know there are many out there who are extremely supportive. nnThank you for your feedback, all the very best to you,nNina

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Monica, how wonderfully inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story. I know it’s tough and many people, as hurtful as it is, actually want to see those who endeavor for more than life as they know it, fail. Fail miserably and then come crawling back wishing we didn’t make such a foolish decision.nnBut such folks, we don’t need. Their comments are meant to harm, not help us. It’s okay to let go or at the very least, ignore such comments. Responding and arguing back and forth will not sway one person to understand the other person’s viewpoint. Fact of the matter is, sometimes people don’t want to understand. Especially when it’s all so strange and bewildering to them, what we are doing with our lives.nnStay strong and you will no doubt have a wonderful beginning of the next chapter in your life. :)

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Hey Martin, right now, it’s a little ambiguous but there are a few places I can stay at. I have relatives in southern Taiwan, in the city of Tainan. And I have a family friend who lives in Taipei. Either way, it’s going to be awesome. I just know it!

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Ah, well I guess you must’ve went to better schools than I had! Thanks for sharing, Duff.

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Thanks for your support, Namrata!!

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Very true indeed! Our goals are continually changing and even once we have reached a particular goal, we may not be 100% satisfied and will yearn for the next challenge, the next goal….

  • David K

    nina, i adore you. truly and verily, i adore thee.nnthat said, keep up the amazing work. it is inspiring as i sit here in my cubicle pretending to work. i work for a private non profit university in southern california. i am biding my time, finishing my masters and then boom, im outta here.nnso keep being one of the many parts of my inspiration. i really appreciate it. ignore the haters and nay sayers. i know you will. so keep doing that. and when im out traveling the world for my extended year plus travels, i hope our paths will cross.nn:) be well.n

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    You are too kind, David. I really wish you well in your endeavors too. nnSoon, very soon, freedom will be yours. Stay strong and steadfast! I know you are. Living your life the way you want to live it, and not listening to those who just want you to fit into a pretty little mold. We are not meant to be like that. Is it any wonder why our heart and spirit longs for that which makes us intrinsically and infinitely more happier? nnThanks for being a part of this blog’s community; your encouragement is very much appreciated!

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Thanks for sharing, David! Glad to see it can be done, very much so.nnTo answer your question “how will I survive?” while traveling, first, I’m coming out very soon with my self-published ebook next month that will be available for purchase via Castles in the Air. I am not sure how well this will do, but I cannot say I have any regrets. Life is all about trying, failing, but trying yet again.nnA minimalist life is very, very key to lowering one’s overhead expenses to the bare bones. That is why I advocate minimalism to the utmost degree here. Everyone will have their degree of being minimalist, but as long as it works for one’s life and suits their budgetary needs, things should be fine.nnAn open heart and mind to opportunities that surround us is another reason why I trust that things will work out. I’m a dreamer, a believer, an optimist, but I am not immature, foolish, and ignorant in my life’s choices. That will get me nowhere and I will fail before I have even started.nnA fervent saver over the years, I have saved thousands of dollars through having multiple jobs that will sustain me as I go through my periods of growth, transition, and new beginnings. Basically, it means I can “ride through the tough times.” I’ve been in the workforce since age 12 (yes, child labor, but it served me well as I truly know the meaning of hard work), and understanding that changes will not come without hardship is foundational to my flourishing.

  • Joel Runyon | [BIT]

    I hate to be a downer here, but I see a major issue with your plans…nnYou won’t be in Chicago anymore [aka no more blogger meetups :( ]

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    It’ll just have to be overseas then! lol I’m sure I’ll be back here and there. The future is very open right now. Anything can go!

  • Mark

    There’s always the possibility of an overseas Chicago Blogger meet up! Cape Town, Taipei, Cairo, Vientiane? Joel, Nina?

  • Paige of Redefining Wealth

    You go girl! As you mention, life is way too short to spend it at a job you don’t like. Your post has inspired me more than ever to pursue what I really want to do and not take some safe corporate job. Our educational system prepares us to be corporate soldiers and I’ve never been a really good soldier.nnYou know I think there is a revolution (it may be small but it’s growing) of people who are fed up with the status-quo and don’t want to spend their lives working at jobs that make others rich while they get thrown a few scraps here and there. I think we are going to see more and more people following their hearts and pursuing what they love.nnGood for you Nina! I think you what you are doing is inspiring and exciting!

  • Mark

    Awesome to see all the inspiring comments. Unfortunate to have such hate. If there are haters, than you are obviously striking a nerve. Negative comments suck. Youll never be able to please everyone. Anand, I don’t understand why you would write such a comment of hate and belittlement. It’s hard enough to take the risk and follow ones dreams. Society does not look kindly upon those that stray. It can be difficult to have the conversations and confrontations from friends and family about a chosen path. And then to get such condescension from a complete stranger? Anand, I’m just wondering why you would do that?

  • Doornbos

    this touches menI have Multiple Scleroses, and I will do all these things when I get better, right?nornwill the Multiple Sclerose get better when I do all these things?nnHenk

  • davidd

    Thank you for the additional info. I’ll be watching for the eBook… and taking my first tentative steps toward a more Minimalistic approach to life.nn”More Minimalistic,” is that an oxymoron? ;-p

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Yes, I’m down for it!!

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    I have definitely seen a revolution, or at the very least, a growing movement, of dissatisfied, educated, and highly ambitious young professionals who are not so apt to say “Yes, sir!” at their day jobs which are not fulfilling them intrinsically. nnIt certainly takes tremendous courage, a high tolerance of ambiguity and risk-taking, and the boldness to stand firm in their decisions, no matter what others may have to say. It can be very difficult, but I’m finding many supporters, like yourself!, who are so kind to say a few good words and wish us well on our journey of self-discovery. nnThanks, Paige, you’re the best!

  • minimize2elevate

    What’s Your Definition of Career?…

    The dictionary defines it as: ca·reer 1. an occupation or profession, esp. one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework. Lifework. Seriously? If that is true of a career, that it should be your life’s work I’m screwed, a…

  • feint

    Congrats Nina! The first step is always the hardest

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Thanks! It sure is …

  • Aisha Farhoud

    Congrats, Nina! I can’t wait for the e-book, you write very eloquently.nIf you haven’t already considered it, you should think about teaching English in Taiwan. I was an English teacher in Spain last year and it was a cool experience, I really liked all of my students.

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Thank you for your suggestion, Aisha! I have thought about it. I love English (writing, literature, reading, pretty much every part of it) and will leave my opportunities open, for sure. :)nnThe new ebook, I believe, will be a helpful tool to getting people to start thinking in radically new ways. More to come ……. :D

  • David M

    Nina, thanks for sharing your blog. You write very well and I have so much respect for you for pursuing your dreams so fervently. You are rare in your ability to take significant action with predetermined risks. I have also made plans to hopefully be Free like you from the shackles of working for someone else, in about 2 years time. I’m actively pursuing my dreams. Thanks so much for your inspiring posts. I for one, was very happy to read what you had to say. nnIt is true what you said that working as an employee is for making the top executives rich at a corporation. Corporations exist to reward those at the top but they do also provide work for those willing to do it. I agree with you…life should be about what makes us happy!nnI wish you the utmost success and realization of all your dreams!! I believe you can do whatever it is you strive for. It will happen….just a matter of time. =)) Be careful, diligent, and never let anyone affect you with their ignorance or negativity. You are much better and wiser, than many people and I wanted to tell you that. Your achievements are impressive to me. Stay true to yourself and stay strong always.

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    David, thank you so much for your kind words! I know we all have within us the strength, creativity, diligence, and abilities to take our dreams and realize them, once and for all. Those who are willing to take healthy, unconventional risks and are smart about it, will for one, never have to wonder what could’ve been. Because so long as they try, they can have no regrets and what-if’s.

  • freedom-is-not-what-it-used-to-be/ |freedom is not what it used to be | The Art of Minimalism

    [...] So when a Millennial tells his parents that he’s quitting his corporate day job in order to start a new online marketing/consulting business, his parents may be a bit taken aback, and angry, at such a move. In the parents’ eyes, this is not much different than career suicide. In the child’s eyes, this is career liberation. [...]

  • Jen

    Thank you, Nina. This post was wonderful and very timely for me and a very dear friend of mine from college. We’re chatting on a weekly basis about our careers and life paths. Hopefully soon, we’ll recognize our life calling as clearly as you have.nnI’m so excited for you.

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    You will recognize it, Jen, you will! It’s inevitable, sooner or later, our life calling will beckon us to take action. Inaction is also a form of action. I hope you and your college friend will find your way! If you ever need anything, let me know!

  • Mars Dorian

    Awesome Nina,nnJust found your blog via Ash’s Middlefinger Project. I wasn’t too impressed by your header (I’m a huge sucker for visuals !), but this post really made me want to click.nnWooooooooooow. What a post. I know there’s lots of excitement going on within you – uncertainty is knocking on the door and the opportunities are ENDLESS.nnMost corporations suck big time – you are nothing but a drone slaving your life away !nnWhere I come from, we don’t have that big corporate culture (at least not in my city), so I never bothered following that path. Working your ass off for a huge company and making other people rich while is a terrible way to life. Taking the plunge like you do takes lots of guts, but believe me, it’s SO worth it. I went for self-employment a year ago and I’m having a blast. The decision was scary as heck, but nothing beats having control over your own destiny and creating your legacy.nIf your heart is talking to you and tells you to follow a certain path, you will succeed. I don’t know why, but it’s written in the stars. Enjoy your destiny, Nina. It’s going to be awe-some ;)

  • Mars Dorian

    Awesome Nina,nnJust found your blog via Ash’s Middlefinger Project. I wasn’t too impressed by your header (I’m a huge sucker for visuals !), but this post really made me want to click.nnWooooooooooow. What a post. I know there’s lots of excitement going on within you – uncertainty is knocking on the door and the opportunities are ENDLESS.nnMost corporations suck big time – you are nothing but a drone slaving your life away !nnWhere I come from, we don’t have that big corporate culture (at least not in my city), so I never bothered following that path. Working your ass off for a huge company and making other people rich while is a terrible way to life. Taking the plunge like you do takes lots of guts, but believe me, it’s SO worth it. I went for self-employment a year ago and I’m having a blast. The decision was scary as heck, but nothing beats having control over your own destiny and creating your legacy.nIf your heart is talking to you and tells you to follow a certain path, you will succeed. I don’t know why, but it’s written in the stars. Enjoy your destiny, Nina. It’s going to be awe-some ;)

  • Jack Bennett

    Great stuff, and very smart of you to tap into this realization right at the start of your career! You can take awesome risks at this stage of life!nnAlso very smart of you to tap into the power of accountability and write down specific dates and actions. There are lots of people who have read your goals and can hold you to them now :)nnLooking forward to reading more from you! Enjoy your upcoming travels and ventures!

  • Matt

    Hi Nina! I know exactly where you are coming from with this which is why I am doing the same. My departure date is June of 2011 at which time my family and I are packing up and moving to my wife’s homeland of Indonesia. I’ll be working on my true passion of photography and she will be working on her dream of starting her own cake bakery. At some point you just realize that what you are doing is never going to work, you’ll never find true happiness and at that point you know you need to make a break and take steps to truly change your life. It sounds like you reached that point and I’m really excited to follow the next steps of your journey.

  • mitchel

    After a long wait and shrewd patience we should be rewarded with something like this. To learn and fulfil your career is truly a magnificent way to change the course of our daily lives.

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Hi Matt, and same goes for you and your wife too! Great job in making that firm commitment to pursue your dreams together!! :) I believe you’ll find much reward when you follow your heart. There’s nothing to lose; everything to gain.

  • Lilian

    Hi Nina, nI just stumbled upon your blog from ebookling and enjoyed reading this post. Can relate to some of the things you mentioned.All the best and can’t wait to hear more of your exciting adventure!

  • Nina Yau

    Thanks Lilian! I will certainly be sharing my exciting adventures with everyone here at Castles in the Air! :)

  • Karen

    Hello Nina,rnrnI have always encouraged my children to follow their dreams, thus, my son is a professioanl sail racer and my daughter, a UVA grad, is a horse trainer. Very unusual, tough, competitive fields that they both love, but make hardly any money at. rnrnBut not all of us want to pursue the same dreams. I love owning my own corporation. I employ over 300 people and give them great salaries, full benefits, plenty of vaca time, and flexible hours. I have very low turn over. I realize that the employees are the company – not me. Am I rich? Nope, but I have what I need which is minimal. Not all bosses are bears nor are all all bears bosses.rnrnYou are very inspiring and seem so full of spirit. Travel Safe and live well.

  • Nina Yau

    How wonderful, Karen, that you give so much to your children and your employees which some parents nor employers do: the autonomy, trust, and confidence that they will do great things and that you treat them as adults. I’m sure your son and daughter appreciates having a mother that respects their life decisions, especially if it’s one that will make them a happier, more fulfilled person. Kudos to you, Karen! nnContinue doing what you love because life will pass all too soon. Best wishes to you!!

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  • Tony

    Great stuff Nina. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Taiwan. nnI think you have an important message for Asia actually. What I am seeing is that a lot of ASEAN people are adopting Western lifestyles, and then can’t figure out why it isn’t making them happy. For example, I’ve lost count of Filipinos and Thais here in the UK who moved here for a “better life”, but who are now miserable. Also, consumerism is on the increase in Asia. China and India are just warming their engines right now, and once they *really* start consuming it’s going to have an impact (putting it mildly). We *all* need to be consuming less. nnIt’s going to be interesting to see how your new career as a writer develops. I wish you the best of luck! Will be following your progress with great interest.

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