“The awakening was blissful, even though the process was torturous".
It came as a bolt from the blue. Four years ago, as a manager in a finance company, I was more than comfortable – middle-aged, with a good family and drawing an enviable salary. I had been living in my own comfort zone – a big mistake. The memory is blurred now and it still seemed so unreal on that fateful day – the day my world came crashing down. I went to work as usual and was called into my superior’s office. He told me that the company was downsizing its operations and as a forty-something sitting on a fat pay check, I had to be sacrificed. I had just moved into a posh estate not long ago and the payments on my new house were not yet done. My wife was not working and my kids were still small. My lavish ways had also left little in savings as backup. At my age, I wasn’t confident of getting another job that paid me as well as my former one. It seemed like the beginning of the end to me.
The pain in my heart was excruciating. It was not just the loss of a lavish lifestyle. Neither was it the fact that I was now heavily in debt. It was seeing how my family had to suffer for my incompetence that hurt me the most. They never complained to me about the sudden change in lifestyle. My wife, so long used to the comforts of the home took on a job with her former company. My kids, even in their innocence, stopped their requests for toys and games. My young daughter even told me that she didn’t want a present for Christmas. That really cut deep. Touched as I was by their understanding and support, I was angry at myself, furious that I was such as useless person. I even thought of ending it all.
But things happen in strange ways. My wife, perhaps sensing my depression, sounded out a few of our close friends. One of them, Andy, was working for an Internet company at that time and approached me with the idea of starting out with an online dating website. I was unconvinced. I had never owned a website, wasn’t particularly IT-savvy and didn’t even know what CGI or SEO stood for. But Andy told me it didn’t matter and to give it a shot. Though not particularly a risk-taker, I guess it was for the sake of my family that I decided to give it a try. It was like an awakening. I have never looked back.
Of course, the journey wasn’t smooth. For a middle-aged person, trying to learn a new skill was all the more difficult. Changing my mindset was even harder. Starting from scratch, I had to convince myself that I could compete with all the exuberant teenaged web entrepreneurs who knew more about websites when they were ten than when I was forty. But I hung in there and together with Andy, we managed to sell a couple of websites and online communities to larger organizations for a tidy profit.
It is happier days now. I am no tycoon but my financial worries are a thing of the past. I am still constantly learning and upgrading myself to keep myself on the ball, something which this experience has ingrained in me. But I am glad that I never gave up – and even more glad that my family and friends never gave up on me. Sometimes that is all that it takes to put oneself on the road to success!