Many years ago, before I became a hypnotist, I worked in equity research at an investment bank in San Francisco’s Financial District. A co-worker was leaving, and normally I would have asked, “Where are you headed next?” I would normally ask polite and socially acceptable questions.
But when I heard he was leaving, I mainly focused on asking him if his leaving meant his job was now open. As I write this, I feel myself cringe a bit at the memory.
If I could do it over again, I’d have asked a bit more about him. In other words, I wish that I’d treated him as a human being first. Instead, I was a bit too selfish, too much in a hurry to climb the corporate ladder.
I’ve done worse, but I cringe at this memory, because it reminds me of something more than just a memory. It reminds me of who I was.
Striving so hard. Climbing, exhausted, always exhausted. So focused on my career. Willing to risk my health. Risked losing Holly, my girlfriend at the time, and even a bit of myself at times.
A while after my rude question to my co-worker, Holly’s younger sisters visited and stayed at our home for a few days. During the trip, Holly said, “My sisters asked if William lived here.”
Obviously, her sisters made a joke. They knew I lived there. But the joke stung, because they’d struck a nerve.
Rather than acting as the good host, I was the good ghost.
I’d leave early in the morning, arrive at work before 6:00 AM, and I’d return home after working a 12-hour day (or longer). 60-hour weeks were normal, and now and then it would stretch to an 80-hour week.
Holly’s sisters left our home on a Sunday night. I’d been thinking for a while that Holly could leave me at any moment. Her sisters had really shown me that I really wasn’t around much. If Holly did leave me, could I really blame her?
She deserved to have a real boyfriend, not this shell of a man that I’d become. She said that even when we were together on weekends, she felt I wasn’t really there. And she was right. I was always exhausted or thinking about work.
My career ate up most of my energy, Holly got a few scraps, and I got whatever was left. Mixed metaphors, but you get the idea. I made a lot of money, but my life wasn’t really my own.
Well, that Sunday night after her sisters had left, I decided I would fix this. I couldn’t risk losing her. She deserved more from me. Heck, I deserved more of a life, too.
Next day, Monday morning, April 1st. I hand in my two weeks notice letter to my boss. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten that April 1st was April Fool’s Day, the day we Americans play pranks on each other and then say, “April fools!”
It took me a good part of the morning to get my boss and co-workers to believe I was really resigning. Quitting a job had never been this tough.
Did I have a plan for what to do next? Yes. I now had valuable experience in equity research. So I would now study for the GMAT, apply to business school, get my MBA, work at a hedge fund, and then start my own hedge fund company. I’d dreamed for years of owning my own hedge fund.
Well, I soon realized I didn’t really want to get my MBA. Huh? And I decided I wasn’t going to become a hedge fund manager as I’d planned. Huh?
I had been Mr. Control, Mr. Logical, and Mr. Planner… who now transformed into Mr. Huh?, and life just got interesting.
And this hypnotic story, which may be helpful to you, will be continued in day two… of the writing challenge.
(And as always, please let me know how this hypnotic story has been for you.)