This is the sixth chapter in my financial story series. In the previous chapter I tried to level my life up. Here I’ll show you what freedom looks like. In next chapter I’ll be back in the cage, but a golden one.
I’ve split this chapter in several pages to keep them shorter than the total 6000 words I ended up writing. At the end of the page you’ll find links to other pages.
Note: I have
stolen copied been inspired by “the job experience” post series by livingafi. I loved reading his series and I’m trying to do something similar here, where I analyse both my work and finance history/goals.
Previous chapter ended with me accepting an offer from BiggerGameCompany (BGC) and a plan to go to work in UK in early 2010 and almost 2 months of sabbatical coming. Seems like a good plan!
Anyway, apart from being grateful to BGC, I didn’t actually like to go live there. The place was in the middle of nowhere, with shitty weather 365 days per year and a not a stellar salary. The only other guy I knew working in BGC was Hagar, former coworker in GameCompany, which on his linkedin profile claimed to have been part of GameCompany R&D but he hadn’t. He was a game engineer, a cheater! He had a passion for rendering but zero math background and skills. A practitioner, not even a good one. I knew I’ll not be happy there. The only positive aspect would be having this work experience in a better company and in a foreign country. I knew that I didn’t want to go there.
To make things more complicated, in January I started dating a girl I met in a theater acting course – forgot to say I played theater for ~7 years in Rome and Milan. There’s been a nice connection with this girl and obviously everything would have fallen apart in case I’d go to the crappy place where BGC headquarter is. In the meantime I found an apartment in UK and payed some fees to reserve it.
First 15 days of February were full of internal fights: pros and cons lists, listen to the heart vs listen to the head, enjoying the freedom vs go lock myself into another company (although a better one) that will drain my life for a misery.
I remember it could have been the last Thursday morning before the relocation, at home, on my couch, kinda relaxed and at peace. I looked around and I realized I won’t be in that flat next week, with my girlfriend. Even in case I won’t go, I’d have to leave the flat in 2 weeks. Whatever I’d pick, everything was going to drastically and suddenly change. I panicked and felt sad about it. No, that was the final signal I shouldn’t go in UK. I took my girlfriend and told my decision to her. We cried and hugged each other. I sent soon an email to BGC explaining my decision and they were (rightfully) pissed off. I was aware of the gigantic opportunity I was letting go and I was happy for that. We went the following Sunday, February 14th – both St. Valentine and Carnival Sunday – to Venice to celebrate my decision and had a spectacular weekend.
I was able to pick the option that I wanted thanks to my savings. Were I living paycheck to paycheck I wouldn’t have been able to choose. My bathtub was full enough that I could have survived 3-4 years without having to work. I was spending ~1200 per month, 700 of which due to rent. I could downsize and go renting a room in a shared apartment or a single room apartment. I could cut whatever necessary to make the money last longer. I was full of hope and so proud of the freedom I had gifted myself thanks to my savings!
Folks around me said I’m crazy though. Hagar blocked me on social networks and wrote a long post on his blog about how asshole I have been. People asked “ah, so you’re not going to BGC… and what will you do now? Ah, you don’t know yet…” followed by a worried gaze. Almost no one was interested in the motivations and the fact I had enough ‘stashed for few years doesn’t seem to be a fact. People need to simplify, what they elaborated was “RIP is crazy, he rejected an offer by BGC – I wish I could get one – because of his new girlfriend“. It can’t be less true.
My girlfriend too started soon to be not ok with that. She felt responsible for my enormous mistake and she actually started looking at me like a lazy guy who wants to live by his wits. Things started to fall apart, but we kept up for another year.
It’s Monday February 15th 2010, instead of sitting in my new office in UK I’m relaxed at home staring at the ceiling and thinking about the amazing week end I had when suddenly I felt the urge of time: in 2 weeks I need to leave the apartment, I need to move out and I have no idea where to go. I called the landlord asking for a contract extension and he agreed for a month by month extension, since he was trying to sell the apartment and had no buyers now. I was good at least for another month.
Second (kind-of) urgency: what to do now. For the first time in my life I had a clean future. A zeroed agenda. The sky was the limit. I already had 2 months of sabbatical, less than 4 months after previous 45 days of sabbatical. I didn’t need extra resting time.
Just before Christmas 2009 I’ve been contacted by Brofessor, the one who wanted to launch a Master course on Videogame Development: “Hey RIP, we’re launching the course and we need someone who can teach Network Programming. Are you with us? It’s 6 lessons of 4 hours for 2000 Euro total“. At that time I was sure I’d be going to BGC so I declined but suggested my former Networking boss for the job and he accepted it.
Luckily, as soon as he knew I wasn’t going to BGC he contacted me to check if I may need the job now that I was unemployed. It happened on February 21th, first lesson scheduled for February 25th. I’m still so grateful for his offer, a lot of things happened thanks to my come back to the Master. Thanks C.M!
In the following 20 days I focused in preparing lessons, answering students’ mails and feeling still employed, but without a boss. It was terrific! I had to start handling in my economy disconnections between actual work and payments. This job had a single payment in June, while the actual job (lessons + exams + mails) was spread across February-June. I “gave myself” 500 Euro per month in March, April, May and June booked as credits on my Net Worth document. When the payment was received, I canceled the credit and that resulted in a no-op.
Everything was fine, until in mid March my landlord called: “RIP, I sold the apartment. We cannot extend the agreement any further. I need the apartment free by Easter – Sunday April 4th. Consider the 4 days of April a gift“. This was really happening: nothing would have been the same.