At the table they were sitting, three of the figures I was actually escaping from. Department manager, division manager and head of human resources. The boss, where you have to prove you’re a good worker and a cool guy. Then the importance in person, the boss of bosses, where you have to show that you’re worth every penny of your salary. And finally two unpleasant eyes constantly staring at you. In front of them a notepad where important things are noted, just as “moving thumb – nervous, hesitant in answer – liar, etc …”. Why am I back in such a situation? I didn’t really want this. I looked around, I almost smiled and shook my head. But then there would probably appear the word “psychopath” on the list. No, pull yourself together. You wanted to try it out and now you’re here.
The only preparation that I had was the car ride to the company. Two hours self-brainwashing with these conclusions: you don’t need this, you don’t depend on this, so go there without pressure and have a look at it, just be yourself. Of course I was still excited, I can’t hold that back. But the pressure was actually gone, so it became an interesting conversation. At the beginning they were sniffing at me a lot. Who is this savage? Who quits his job without perspective? Can we tame him?
Eventually they realized that I’m not so wild and after I had spoken openly and honestly about everything, about my strengths, my weaknesses, the round was a little looser. Even General Important in the middle started being honest and talked about how chaotic it is sometimes and that not everything is running smoothly all the time. The head of human resources was completely confused. Now she also stared at him. So much honesty…no workshop had prepared her for this. She then tried to normalize the situation asking the standard questions, the atmosphere was just too friendly for her.
It was a strange feeling on the way back. An interesting job, a nice team…but at the end of the day the same world which I really wanted to escape. I would have to pull through it again and keep saving money, with the hope that I can eventually do something else later. It sounded a bit like giving up and crawl back into the safe nest. Which I didn’t really like. Well, I had a couple of days to think about it before they would call me.
And there was still Sri Lanka, so I immediately spend my time taking a look at that. Social startups, young entrepreneurs who want to change something. Dipping in there, help and learn. Get to know another world. So I applied for the program and got the promise. It went so fast and suddenly I had to make a decision.
So what’s on the lists? On the one hand, the chance of getting a new job, money, security, career opportunities or start-up capital for a big idea in a couple of years. On the other hand, a trip to Sri Lanka with a whole new experience and total uncertainty. So it was quite clear: lists suck. Back to the simple questions of life:
What do you really want? – Sri Lanka!
Can you afford it? – Yes.
Sri Lanka was stuck in my head from then. No turning back which felt good. And luckily I decided that this is final no matter what. Because until my departure it became turbulent again…
Turbulences before the flight
Two days after I confirmed the program in Sri Lanka the company called and offered the job to me. I proudly said no to end this chapter too. After that there were preparations for the trip, booking flights, Skype calls, etc…until one day I got a message that the program is cancelled. Not enough people had signed up for it so it was impossible for the organization. Excellent! Back to zero …
But the Social Starters offered to us to volunteer on our own. We could travel to Sri Lanka and they would connect us with the local partners. Without the startup courses we could just try to help with our experience. Tarek from the US and myself were the only ones who wanted to do it anyways and we decided to meet in Sri Lanka. On my first Skype conversation with him he was somewhere in India in the middle of nowhere and showed me how a couple of Indians repaired his Tuk Tuk. He was driving across the country with that thing participating in some kind of race. That calmed me down a bit, that I’m not the only crazy person going there…
So I stopped all my recent ideas and put them in a box. There was another plan where I almost founded a company with two friends. I do not want to reveal too much (it was a pretty crazy awesome food truck idea) because I hope that the two other guys are gonna do it one day. Then I can still write about it. But for all the three of us it was not the right time for it.
So was finally sitting on the plane to Sri Lanka. Nothing else in mind, I could fully concentrate on the trip. After all the back and forth in the recent weeks it was exactly what I needed. My backpack, me and a new adventure. Nothing planned afterwards, free and open to something new!