My Career Ends at 30

Let it be known that I’m not a chump.

I read a lot of lifestyle design blogs. Early retirement stuff. Minimalist travel blogs. Those guys are not chumps. In that world, you’re only as cool as your mobility and freedom.

The old paradigm is to work for 40 years, enjoy a brief retirement followed by a stroke on a golf course.

The new paradigm is to move to Chiang Mai and live like a king while blogging about it and selling ebooks to americans who are trapped in cubicles, following you on instagram.

Sort of joking. Sort of actually how it is.

Anyway, what’s my plan?

Directly after college I worked for 2 years at a normal 9-5 job. I saved a ton of money. Essentially after that 2 years I can go spend 10 years in Chiang Mai if I want. But I didn’t do that.

I kind of just wandered around the U.S. for 2 years, living in like 5 states and hanging out with my friends, rock climbing and surfing. I didn’t travel internationally once. I also had maybe 3-4 “jobs” all of which I quit within 2 months. I started 1 startup, quit, then re-started the same startup and quit, costing about 6 months of time. I got involved with some weird shit. Career-wise, it was 2 years of “what the fuck am I doing?” followed by making enough money to get by.

But I grew so damn much in those two years.

Now I have a job, but with all the skills I’ve learned over 2 years of failure, I snagged a leadership position with a nice salary and a ton of creative and lifestyle freedom. I get to travel to big cities and live a fast paced lifestyle. I get to lead a team. I get to work remotely whenever I want. And my work makes a huge difference (at least to this startup.)

I’m 26, turning 27 in April. I figure I’m going to keep working in earnest until age 30. So it’s a race to make as much money as I can. Which means I’m not taking the safe bet of a safe job, but rather working in high growth positions for startups.

But I’m doing it with the reckless abandon of someone who doesn’t actually give a shit about the outcome. And that gives me a huge advantage.

At age 30, I’ll either be rich or I won’t. Either way, that’s the cutoff for my time in the rat race. At that point, I really will be traveling internationally for extended periods of time, and most importantly not being a full time programmer. I want to do other things with my time at that point (like write, make art, human-centric jobs, teaching, etc.)

Just because I’m grinding until age 30 does not mean I’m putting life on hold. I do most of my conference calls by the pool. I work long hours when I’m passionate, and when I lose that passion I spend days at the beach. I am excited about the opportunity to work in a metropolis (NYC) and meet people who are passionate about their careers. And I will still take vacations (sometimes extended) internationally.

If I wasn’t excited or passionate about my career, I would be busy traveling the world. But I choose to. It’s like a little game.

I want to make a million dollars by 30. It’s a difficult mission to accomplish. If I don’t accomplish it, I won’t beat myself up. But it’s driving me to make sure my career here in the states is exciting and rewarding.

Side note: I may possibly join remote year later this year if my job becomes more steady. I want to build a remote company that travels together, partying and building code.

Live like you’re going to die. Run your career like you’re about to retire.