Friday July 29th Was a Big Day for Me!

Hands of caucasian businessman addicted to work bond and locked with iron chain handcuffed to computer laptop in workaholic, internet slave and addict conceptFriday July 29th will be a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. After thirty-eight years, I finally packed in my banking career. To be honest, it will take some getting used to as my banking job played an important role in my life.  It provided financial security for my family and gave me a good reason to get out of bed most mornings.  My career, like most careers, had its good and bad points. Overall though, it was a good ride and one that I will miss to some degree, but I had to leave in order to publish Victory Lap Retirement and create my blog.     

Banks really don’t like it when employees write books or blogs because it might not align with the story that they are trying to convey. Banks get nervous when employees stand out and don’t fit in, when employee invent something that is outside the approved message.

Banks are very protective of their brand. They want the customer experience to be the same in every branch across the country. They want every employee to talk, walk and act the same. They desire a high degree of predictable sameness, as it’s easier to control.

This is not a bad thing at first blush, but it tends to stifle individual creativity, which is costly long term both to the bank and its customers.  The danger is that you end up being like every other bank selling the same story and nothing much happens out of the ordinary. Maybe this is why the banks continue to sell the old version of retirement, as it’s easier to sell to the masses. Marketing to the few is not very cost efficient.

I believe my decision to leave was motivated by me finally gaining financial independence after many years of hard work and saving. Something happens to you once you gain financial independence. You see the world a little differently, you think a little bit differently and begin to search for a better way instead of just sticking to the script. I guess you could say that the day that I achieved financial independence was the day I finally stopped ducking at work. I realized that there was no way that I could get my message out without being subjected to intense scrutiny and acquiring the necessary approvals. The book would have been tough enough, a blog would have been impossible.

I was surprised how easy it was to make the right move. After so many years of playing it safe, worrying about what my boss thought of me and always protecting my job, I was finally free again. Having freedom again felt so very very good and to think it only took thirty-eight years to get here!

Yes, Friday July 29th will always be an important date for me as that is when the handcuffs have finally come off.  I’m finally free to explain exactly how I feel about things which will probably take a little getting used to after all those years. Wow! I wonder what I have inside me that is dying to get out. Stay tuned, it should be interesting!

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6 thoughts on “Friday July 29th Was a Big Day for Me!

  1. Ernie Zelinski Reply

    I support you totally, Then again, I live by these principles:

    “If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”
    — Anna Quindlan

    “The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”
    — Fred Wilson

    “Have you ever heard of a wage slave? Even worse . . . are you one? Wage slaves
    may live in big houses. They might drive Porsches. It doesn’t matter how “rich” you look, if you can’t walk away from your job — even for a second — because you would no longer be able to pay the bills, you’re a wage slave.”
    — Sara Glakas

    “Getting a job and trading your time for money may seem like a good idea. There’s only one problem with it. It’s stupid! It’s the stupidest way you can possibly generate income! This is truly income for dummies. Why is getting a job so dumb? Because you only get paid when you’re working.”
    — Steve Pavlina

    The last quote by Steve Pavlina comes from one of my favorite blog posts ever called “10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job”.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks for posting a comment Ernie. I hate to admit it but I was a wage slave for a long time but after reading your book “How To Retire Happy, Wild and Free I woke up from my personal nightmare. People lose their way in the corporate world after a period of time. They start to play safe in order to survive and try to hang on till the bitter end even if it almost kills them in order to maximize their pension. Many times it does kill them. That is no way to live and your book showed me the way to get my freedom back. Today when I see someone bail from the corporate world early I say “They are doing an Ernie!”

  2. Allan Jensen Reply

    Thank you Mike for a very candid, thoughtful and personal reflection. You do absolutely look at the world differently, after you have stepped off the financial services treadmill. Perhaps the most challenging aspect is not how to re-invent yourself (you are already doing that), but it is how to refer to yourself in the post-corporate period. Society seems to require that we have a “handle” of some sort, and “retiree” seems to bring forth images of….well, our parents! Expectations in corporate land are ridiculously high. The value you’ve created, and contributions you’ve made, are of little consequence, as more is required tomorrow! And the minute you are gone, you are yesterday’s news! So I congratulate you on your freedom, after 38 years. Better late than never!

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks Allan and I totally agree with your comments. I think I could heard the click on the door lock as it swung shut after me. It was as if I never was really there. Was it all just a bad dream? The only thing that bothers me is that it would have been wonderful for someone at the top to call and say thanks for all the hard work over the years but it never happened. Was I expecting too much? I will never use the word “retired” when describing myself because I have so much more that I want to accomplish. I do however like telling people that I’m on my victory lap. That always puts a big smile on my face!

  3. Joe Wasylyk Reply

    Mike, Congrats on finding your KEY to unlock your corporate life after 38 years of being like you and Ernie says a wage slave. Unfortunately, there is a problem in Canada. In my research their is still no respect given for older entrepreneurs. In essence, weather it’s Ernie, you or myself we are basically forced to work alone with no real business support groups that will guide us on our entrepreneurial journey. Saying all that I suggest that we need to start and develop a movement for the 50+ potential entrepreneurs in Canada. Personally, to start with my contribution I have written a book titled ‘Encore! Encore! Seniors(50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come. I have also written a Blog about some of the issues involving Seniors 50+ with respect to Lifelong Learning and Senior Entrepreneurship. Finally Mike I think that pursuing entrepreneurship after a successful corporate life is a different race which requires you to get back into a new set of starting blocks; and the second victory lap is taken when you are are able to help others find and develop their Big dream after leaving their own corporate life experience.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks Joe for your comments and yes to finally be free to do my own thing after so many years is just a wonderful thing! I believe if we work together and help one another succeed we will over time win respect for the older entrepreneur. I’ve come to realize that age is just a number and it is what some people do with their lives today that really interests me. There are so many cool stories out there about what seniors are accomplishing these days. How can you not get caught up in the excitement and possibilities that lay before us? Not everyone is suited to be an entrepreneur that is a special breed in my opinion but if you decide to take that route it will probably generate the highest return in terms of personal satisfaction if you are successful at it. It wasn’t easy for me when I first started but now I’m starting to reap the fruits of my labor and life is pretty good right now. Joe give me the name of your blog I would like to have a look at it.


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