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Why I Left Corporate America

Updated: Oct 7, 2021


My last day at Microsoft was right before Christmas. I had deliberated for many months before making this move. In truth, I loved what I was doing at Microsoft and the people I was working with. Who in their right mind would leave a well-paying job and the opportunity to launch a new artificial intelligence product unless it’s for an even better paying and bigger scope role? Well, I decided to go the other way. I told my colleagues that I wanted to move from full time to portfolio work (ref. Charles Handy), dividing my work time into thirds, one each for tech, coaching/mentoring and non-profit service.


It wasn’t easy to walk away from financial security, prestige and all the benefits of working for one of the best companies in the world. Like most of us in corporate America, we associate our identity with what we do and who we work for. I would introduce myself as someone working on AI projects at Microsoft as a badge of honor. I felt significant. But God comes along and asks me to take a step of faith. A big step of faith.


My wife and I launched a leadership development business as part of celebrating our 30 years wedding anniversary in 2018. Our marriage hasn’t always been smooth sailing. The fact that we enjoy speaking and working together is no small miracle. God opened doors last year for us to mentor seven couples and teach at three weekend retreats that took us as far as Dubai. Considering our upcoming life stage change to be empty nesters we began to dream about what’s next. To be perfectly candid, I was thinking about taking more of a backseat and let my wife pick up the load. She can bring home the bacon and I’ll just get the bread. 😊


I started with the question, “what would I do if I weren’t afraid or could not fail?” I even created a notebook called Dream Life and started brain storming. I took inventory of my skills, desires and places I wanted to visit. I wanted to simplify, focus on relationships and make a difference. I know I love technology and don’t want to cut it off completely. We sense from God that we are to move into spiritual parenting and leadership development. I got hooked on #vanlife and thought about living as digital nomads on the road. I considered going to a refugee camp far, far away from home. I know I can’t continue to be sane living in the Rain City.


So, the gears started shifting in the fall last year as we started to see what’s possible and ideas become reality. Then it was just a matter of time. Admittedly I dragged my feet -- first I thought I’d quit in Oct, then Nov, and finally in December. Sure, I can say it was because my boss tried to keep me, but I sure struggled with fear and doubts. You might ask why not quit until we are empty nested or have the security from new income streams. I’d thought the same, but God wanted me to trust him and to show me how He is a faithful provider. Paid coaching and consulting gigs came in and we don’t even need to dip into our savings. Totally beyond our expectation. But God did say He will take care of us. Duh! Ye of little faith.


It has been about a month. We are happier and more fulfilled than ever. I am enjoying the slower pace to savor life, to linger in God’s presence, and to read more. Ah, how much I love learning and am so glad that I am back in the books. I no longer try to rush through conversations to get on to the next appointment. I am learning new things in the technology through a project I am working with friends on. God’s timing is always perfect, and He is so eager for His children to trust Him. He really is the most amazing Father that we consistently underestimate or take for granted.


We are getting ready to go to Asia for another retreat. Unlike the previous retreats that we taught in Chinese, this one is all in English and is a day longer since it’s taking place during the Chinese Spring Festival holidays. We will be sharing our journey from Orphans to Sons which has been the major lesson and message God has laid on our hearts. This is the season to enjoying being a son and daughter that our Heavenly Father delights in. Our Papa loves to hang out with us just to be with us.


We are so excited about picking up our custom RV van after the trip. We named this 80 square foot tiny house on wheels “Curiosity.” The idea came together after watching the movie "Minimalism" on Netflix. We were captivated by this documentary about simplifying our cluttered lives in order to pursue what is truly meaningful. This was one of those catalytic moments. Reduce everything down to what we can pack in the van so that we can take our work and ministry on the road and linger in a place for as long as God would have us. You can read more about my reflection in the previous blog article on Biblical Minimalism. We plan to downsize and relocate to a sunnier place. #tinyhouse is on the table but we are not sure how that’s going to pan out just yet. For the upcoming summer we will take Curiosity on the road and give #vanlife a try.


We would love to visit you. We will go anywhere Curiosity can take us in the North America.



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林为千
林为千
Feb 27, 2019

Reading Joshua Becker's The More of Less. Highly recommend his blog: https://www.becomingminimalist.com/

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