Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Am Not Brave

Following my decision this year to leave the teaching profession and join my friend in his startup, I have been receiving comments from people around me. Among the various comments, one phrase kept popping up – “You’re very brave to do this.” And that got me thinking as usual (or perhaps over-thinking, as someone might say).

After some soul-searching, I decided that I am actually not brave at all. I made this decision partly because I saw how the cost of living in my country was rising, and how my salary might not rise in proportion with it. I saw that salaried workers had little bargaining power over their pay, and that the ones making the greatest gain from their labour were commission-based workers, business owners, and political office holders. I balanced the relative risk and reward of each option, and in conclusion, the safer option was to take the risk of stepping out of the comfortable Civil Service, in the hope that at least I would have a bit more control over how I would keep up with inflation and manage the uncertain economic climate in the years to come.

At a deeper level, I am even less brave. In fact, I am scared. I am scared that one day I will find it hard to explain to my child why Daddy did not pursue his dreams while telling her to do so. I am scared that one day I will spend as little time with my child as some of my friends do, but earn much less for the sacrifice. I am scared that when it is my time to leave this world, I will look back with regret at the life I could have lived, and the lives I could have touched, if only I had stepped out of my comfort zone.

So I am not brave, because I am thoroughly afraid of all the things mentioned above. The ones who are truly brave are those who cling on to their jobs in the belief that things will be all right, that the current path they are on is good and true and will lead them to their reward, if not in Heaven, then at least here on Earth. I commend them, and wish them all the best, just as they have wished me all the best in my future endeavours.

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