I quit my high-paying job to travel the world - and came back as the CEO of my own company
- I quit my job after 10 years of working at an aerospace brand and in finance.
- By many measures, I had excelled in those roles - I earned great money and ran prestigious teams all over the world.
- However, the 12-hour days and little free time became too much to bear, and I felt that life was passing me by.
- So I quit my job to travel the world - and unexpectedly became a CEO.
Ever since I was five years old, all I've ever wanted was to travel and meet people around the world. I grew up in communist Poland. The borders were closed, and passports were nearly impossible to get. Everyone around me said I would never be able to see the world.
But I never believed it. I've always felt like a global citizen.
I came to the US, finished college in three years while working full time, graduating summa cum laude. I quickly got recruited by a multi billion-dollar global aerospace brand.
Within six months, I began leading global IT programs, creating and managing remote teams on four different continents and training thousands of members around the world from my laptop.
We accomplished amazing things, and soon new career opportunities poured in. I wanted to challenge myself and grow, so I moved to the financial industry.
I had finally made it to the VP level. Running large global programs and leading high-performance teams sounded prestigious. But each new career step was becoming more intrusive, stressful, office-bound, and time-consuming.
I spent agonizing hours in traffic getting to and from a job that was less than inspiring. My 12-hour work days were filled with spreadsheets, slide presentations, endless meetings, and canceled vacations.Swiveling in my chair in my almost-corner office, I wondered: Is this all there is to life?
I started wondering what had happened. Where was the adventurous soul who wanted to travel the world? Now I could barely scrape together a week to get away.
Life was passing me by
Like many people I know, I was living on autopilot: finishing school, giving up the best years of my life to work, and postponing my dreams for the elusive idea of retirement. Deferring life was my norm.
Essentially, I was betting my entire life on the possibility of truly enjoying it near the end. The more I thought about it, the more the idea sounded like an irresponsible and risky gamble. There was only one option: I had to take time off to begin living - now.
The stakes were high - I was leaving behind my entire 10-year career and giving up the security of my income in exchange for one year of travel and living. I was scared, but the more I looked around, the more I realized that there are no guarantees in life.
We have only one life, and there is no do-over. I began to see that quitting my office job to finally live my life was not the riskiest decision - staying in my taxing job and not giving my life a chance was. So I packed my bags and bought a one-way ticket to Spain.
I traveled - and started a business
I visited over 50 countries and six continents, soaking up the sun in Bali, sipping wine in Santorini, climbing to the base camp of Mount Everest, and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. Travel became my new life.
Every time I visited a new country, I was blown away by the talented people I met - amazing people with so much untapped potential and so few opportunities. I couldn't stand it.
I could clearly see how many of the people I met could drive innovation for top companies worldwide, if only given a chance.
Drawing on my own remote-work experience, I quickly realized that I didn't have to give up my dream of travel and helping people around the world to accomplish my career goals.
All of a sudden, my vision was clear: Everybody deserves a chance to live up to their potential, and the flexibility of remote work can help them do it.
Initially, there were only 100 members, but when the community reached 3,500 people, I knew this was bigger than me. These were extremely talented people from all over the world. I believed in them, and they counted on me.
So I did everything I could to help. I reached out to every employer I could to bring more remote job opportunities and I went to every meetup out there to learn more about how to create a successful business.Eventually, I met entrepreneur Gregg Pollack, who recommended that I apply to Starter Studio, an innovative hub he created for entrepreneurs.
I made a few slides showing how amazing our community is. After many subsequent steps, I was accepted to the program. For the next three months, I spent every waking hour learning from top entrepreneurs how to build a successful business.
At the end of the program, Pangian, our borderless digital nation, was born.
Today, Pangian is platform powered by machine learning and AI, matching top talent around the world with high-quality, long-term remote work. We just expanded to 121 countries with top global companies and over 39,000 members united by our goal of flexible work that has meaning and fulfills us.
And this is just the beginning.