THE END OF AN ERA - LEAVING THE CORPORATE WORLD

It is official…yesterday was my last day working for JetBlue and I am leaving the corporate world.

I have worked at JetBlue since I was 19 years old. I started on May 30, 2001.

To put it in perspective…it’s been 10 years, 7 months, and 28 days!

So why do I care…because it’s a SHITLOAD of time! It’s more than a third of my life and almost all of my Twenties.

Do I have any regrets? Absolutely not. Would I do things differently? No, I wouldn’t. I actually had a conversation with a friend yesterday about whether I would do things differently (he moved down to St. John immediately after college). My experiences made me who I am and allow me to enjoy life even more knowing exactly how it is to work a 9-5 job.

As a bonus for any disapproving parents out there, having any corporate experience under your belt will only help get them over the initial shock and potential disappointment. They should rest easier knowing that you gave the corporate world a fair chance.

LEAVING THE CORPORATE WORLD - JetBlue Commercial Team Fun Day 2011

I must admit that JetBlue was an awesome company to work for, and it was especially cool to arrive in JetBlue’s 2nd year and be a part of it through it’s incredible growth and success. I worked with so many great people and learned so much…and not just about the airline industry. I learned first-hand about business, the travel/tourism industry, marketing, business development and project management as well.

I also learned that corporate life is not for me.

I don’t believe that humans are supposed to sit behind desks for 8+ hours a day, possibly with breaks from their smaller desks to sit behind bigger desks in meetings and in conference rooms. And you better hope that you have some sort of window view from that vantage point where you’ll spend about 2,000 hours every year perched (or almost half of your waking hours). If this is the path you choose, sleep easy knowing that at least you’ll have retirement to look forward to. You know…when it’s “acceptable” to be leaving the corporate world to really spend your precious remaining time doing the things you want to be doing (aka the things that make you happy).

I am not putting down corporate life if you truly enjoy it (and some people do). Besides the obvious benefits like health insurance, paid vacations, perks, job security and a great salary, that small percentage who truly love their work and take great pride in it can be said to be the lucky few.

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The bottom line is that if you are not truly happy, then something needs to change.  Believe me, I loved business trips, team happy hours (which I usually organized), the annual Fun Day (see the pic above of last year’s event which I was co-organizer of), the annual Golf Outing, and all the other “fun” and social stuff. But that office and cubicle were always waiting for me when I returned…with a menacing power like tentacles that always managed to pull me back to the depths…

LEAVING THE CORPORATE WORLD - Just another day in the windowless office

I would find myself in meetings just like the one in the photo above, looking out the window (if there was one) and thinking that THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS! There are so many things to do, places to explore, and people to meet. It was times like these when I would take a walk (if possible) to suck in as much fresh air as humanly possible in Queens, NY. (I took the photo below during one of these walks…yes this park exists and was actually pretty close to my office):

LEAVING THE CORPORATE WORLD - Forest Park in Forest Hills, NY

I love JetBlue and will always feel honored to have worked there. I will also miss my colleagues. It already feels odd to not be involved, but I will get over it (after all, I already went for a hike yesterday afternoon with Rocky and my friend Sean, followed by Happy Hour, and today is a beach day with Alisa and our friends Phil and Kate). Maybe leaving the corporate world won’t be so hard!

So what are my plans now? I believe that it’s more important to be well-rounded than excellent in one skill set…to be good at a lot of things rather than great at a few things. That said, I am trying to build my skill set so that I can make money anywhere in the world that I want to travel…So now I will continue to work on my own business ideas, bartend at The Lime Inn, learn as much as I can at the Cinnamon Bay watersports shop (sailing, surfing, windsurfing, etc.), continue to learn Spanish with Rosetta Stone and start planning our next adventure!

Have you left your 9-5 office job? Are you considering leaving the corporate world? Leave a comment below and share your story!