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Walking Away From Wealth

On leaving a huge amount of money in exchange for very little

In late 2006, the much younger and more naïve 21-year-old version of me graduated from the University of Melbourne. I was full of optimism, elated by the hope that the career I was about to embark upon would bring me a deep personal satisfaction in life. Between 24 and 29 years of age, I took home on average $250,000 per year. In 2016, at 31, I took home exactly zero dollars.

For many people, seeing an annual payment summary like this with their own name on it would probably trigger a rush of adrenaline equivalent to skydiving from ten thousand feet. They’d probably think, I’ve done well for myself!

I remember seeing this and feeling nothing. Not because I thought it wasn’t enough, or because I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I certainly worked tirelessly and endlessly week after week. Fifteen-hour days were the norm, almost every day of the week. I felt nothing because I had sold out my own personal beliefs. To understand this sentiment, I need to tell you a bit more about me, where I come from, and what I believe in.

Education was everything

My family moved to Melbourne from Kerala, India in 1991 on the promise of a better life, a better education, and a better everything. My parents are both electronics engineers by trade. We didn’t have much, but whatever we had, my parents willingly committed to bringing my sis ...

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