Recently, I left my full-time role at a company with an ambitious mission of bringing health and happiness to the world. The paradox of being stressed out while working on a meditation app is surprising to many. Yet, a tech startup is still that, no matter the subject matter or surrounding perfect weather.
Things were looking great. I had been promoted, was managing a talented new designer, and had given several international conference talks. Past-Vicki would never have imagined future-Vicki being in such an exciting position.
Still, somehow — I wasn’t thriving. Despite things looking rosy on the surface, it boiled down to not being championed. I was a swimmer going against the current.
Over the last year, I’ve invested in regularly seeing a therapist and a life coach. Together, they have helped me better listen to my inner voices and identify my core values. One of these values is ready for the world (yeah, like the band!) and at the heart of that is seeking out adventures that challenge me; explorations from which I can learn and grow. Because that value wasn’t being fulfilled, I often found myself daydreaming about the next big thing.
This was in conflict with what had been taught by my immigrant mother, who raised my brother and me as a single parent. Work was baseline. Saving for the future was non-negotiable. (Secretly though, the footloose adolescent in me had always wondered, “When does the future arrive?)
I suspect this is where another one of my values, getting shit done, came from. As a result, I’m really good at full-time work and growing a healthy 401k. But over the last year, I’ve had a scary realization that the sticky tentacles of capitalism had taken hold. I found myself thinking more about maximization and upward trajectory than growing myself. But that’s the ethos of How to Make it In America… right?