Fields and Dreams: The Backpacking Executive

Fields and Dreams - The Backpacking Executive

When I left San Francisco and my old life, I was naive about backpacking and nervous about how I would spend my time. Judgmental and cynical, I was also sophisticated in understanding the workings of organizations and people’s minds, and excelled at asking penetrating questions to find the story. I had been on the leading edge of technology in five different fields and had restructured many troubled companies, but I had a narrow understanding of almost everything else except sports.

The five fields are microcomputers, shellfish aquaculture, biotechnology, video games, and semiconductor. Being on the leading edge of technology is a mind-straining experience. Doing something nobody has ever done before. The semiconductor industry started when a couple of people invented a gate for electrons to pass through or stay. They thought they had harnessed the complete power of the electron. But since that first harnessing, we are the ones running to catch our tails.

Biotechnology started a revolution away from natural medicine, foods and birth, and the absolute size of financing. Video games started a revolution in where males squandered their free time and maybe precipitated the financial dominance of females. Microcomputers started a revolution in communication. Aquaculture now feeds a significant portion of the population. Life is exciting and hard on the edge, and relationships become time deprived. In a roundabout way the philosophy of leading edge and startup companies changed psychology.

Lots of ideas and facts and figures churning around my mind, and yet my stomach was churching with dread. What will I do on my own? How will I cope without structure? Am I making the biggest mistake of my life? On and on went my negative mind, leading me down the dead ends of my psyche.

Very soon the realization dawned on me that this feeling was just the byproduct of being institutionalized for so long – I longed for the corporate cage that had become such a comfort to me. The familiar holds no fear but it houses no freedom either. It was time to shed the Stockholm syndrome and get living. For the first time in a long time I was completely free to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

I quickly acclimatized to the situation and began to feel a new found vigor. No longer do I need to spend all my time on the past. It was time to figure out who I wanted to be in the future and live that person.

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