Thursday, May 12, 2016

Week 1: Let freedom ring!!!

Dear Reader,

One week ago I quit my job. It was a nice corporate job at a large financial institute. But alas it wasn't for me. To be honest I would have stuck around except that my performance was low and I was struggling to keep up (this is when you need, to be honest with yourself and take stock of your skills. Only advertise those skills that you are proficient in as the expectation is for you to be self-sufficient in that area). My management gave me every opportunity to improve I dug in and tried my best. But it was not meant to be. I was placed on a 3-month notice, my last chance to improve. I figured since I clearly didn't have the mindset for the job (as the past 2 years had shown) what was another few months going to do? So after talking it over with my wife I handed in my resignation.

A word of caution. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I knew I didn't have a future at the company. Accordingly I reduced my expenses like putting my masters on hold.  (I only did half the required credit hours, planning on resuming as soon as I can) Which allowed me to save up. Also, I don’t have a mortgage, my credit cards are paid off including my car (btw, since the dealership is no longer the owner I scaled down my insurance to the minimum legal requirement). I would encourage you to consider your financial status before giving up a steady paycheck. I had to ask myself how many months me and my wife could coast by with no income and based on the money I had on hand. The answer was several months, God willing. So I decided to take the plunge.

A strange sense of relief overcame me. During my remaining two weeks everyone saw a visible difference in my attitude. I went from a sourpuss, lethargic commuter to a happy energetic human. This feeling was wonderful. And I vowed to myself that I will NEVER let this freedom slip away again. So rather than scrambling to look for another job I came up with a game plan (more on this later).

Jobs seems to be the defacto way middle-class people earn a living. But we all know that this is not sustainable. What happens when you grow old? become ill? What do you do then? This is understood by me and others but there is a fear when it comes to venturing out on your own. It stems from a lack of guidance. Believe me, I am only venting here, this by no means is a success story. Rather I am relating to you what I am going through at the moment.

I am facing a lot of family pressure to get another job. Which doesn't make any sense to me. I have been moving from job to job for the past 10 years. I suffer for the sake of my family. But am I really doing them any good? I don't have children, yet (please pray for me and my wife). But I have every intention to have a child of my own. I want to leave them with a positive mindset. I can't do that working for someone else. Who doesn't have my best interest at heart, who cares only about the bottom line, who encourages servitude and browbeat you if you don't "make them happy". If this isn't slavery then what is?

I need to work for myself. I am driven by the entrepreneurial spirit. It is my internal state that is deeply concerned about the legacy I will leave behind that makes me shun the cubicle. I always knew this about myself and made several attempts to create something I could call my own. I chronicled my adventures in multi-level marketing on this blog (see a previous post). That didn't work out but since I had sincere intentions and had faith I didn't care about the outcome. Rather it was good to meet like-minded people who shared my passion for breaking free. I wish them the very best and keep in touch with to this day. After all, I learned a lot from them. Especially the concept of self-development. Something previously unknown to me.

The likes of Napolean Hill, Dale Carneige and other self-help gurus grace my library shelves. However, there was one key ingredient missing, in their books. Faith. Being a Muslim I am very cognizant about what Islam says about any and all issues. I wondered what Islam says about self-development. Turns out there is plenty. If you have not done so, check out Abu Productive over at Mashallah the team at Productive Muslim have outdone themselves. They have done the research and have shown how the habits of our beloved prophet(PBUH) are still relevant to us in this day and age. 

I had mentioned a gameplan. In a nutshell, it is my daily routine, modeled on the daily routine of my beloved prophet(PBUH). Why this sudden love for the prophet? He was always a role model for me and I knew he is the last prophet. And that the Ummat is the humanity's last chance to submit to the true will of our creator. But I never understood why we should love him more than our parents, nay even more than ourselves. It wasn't until I went on Umrah and gave my salam at the side of this great man's grave that I came to realize the privilege I was bestowed. A sudden realization of all he has done all he has sacrificed just so that we can follow the beautiful religion of Al-Islam. The experience moved me to tears.

When I came back, to the states from my pilgrimage I was given the "bad" news. I had to sign a document that stated that I could not do the job. There were complaints documented against me. Complaints stemming from the fact that I could not deliver, due to the fact that the job was not a good fit for me. But what really disturbed me were clauses in the document that essentially said that I had to be even more submissive and docile if I hoped to hold onto my job. My manager expected me to be terrified, but I have a firm conviction that Allah never burdens a person than more than he can bare. And that my life's purpose is not to please other creations rather, I must strive to please my creator. So I signed the document and spent the night thinking about my next move. It was a no brainer for me I had to quit before getting fired. There was no way I could meet those strident requirements. 

So I gave my verbal resignation to my manager. She was great, God bless her soul. She couldn't bare to see me in any kind of distress and advised me to think about it some more. So that weekend I honed my gameplan some more. I thought through my whole day structuring everything against the five daily prayers, making time for family, exercise and dawah. This was the kind of freedom I always dreamed off! There was no doubt in my mind as to what my response would be, come Monday morning.

Want to know what happens next? Tune in next week! This is your brother reminding himself out loud. If you found something beneficial it was from Allah. If I have said something wrong it is my shortcoming and I ask your forgiveness. Saqinator out!

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