Jeremy Abroad

I'm a Free Man (I got fired)

November 21, 2017

I got fired.

Initially I wanted to call out the co-worker who dug up and sent my satirical video to HR (pretty sure I know who it was, this guy has been trying to oust me since day 1), the incompetent management with insufferable passive aggressive personalities and questionable integrity, the way in which the firing was handled, etc. But the reality is that this was mutually for the better, and would’ve happened regardless of the video. There’s a tendency to develop Stockholm Syndrome’s for one’s employer/“superiors” since they essentially feed you by paying your bills, but a company isn’t a family - they won’t hesitate to drop you in a heartbeat the second you’re no longer perceived relevant to their bottom line. It’s just business.

I’d been miserable at my job for a long time, to the point of borderline depression. Waking up in the mornings had become a Herculean struggle. I found myself indulging in desserts and bubble tea as a coping mechanism. I wasn’t considering drugs or suicide, but I could see how some found the idea appealing (I think this is the main culprit of the opioid crisis). Humans weren’t meant to live like this.

I had been planning my escape for a long time. I’m actually glad they fired me, because there’s no telling how long I might’ve prolonged that suffering (god forbid I held out until April only to find out bonuses weren’t happening), and there’s nothing for me to regret now because it wasn’t my decision.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I feel like a prisoner who has been released, like that movie Oldboy. I had forgotten what freedom feels like, and I’m still getting used it. The freedom of being in full control of one’s life.

I had been living my life on autopilot and going through the motions like a robot. That’s essentially what most jobs are, and how most humans live out their lives. Go to your boring desk job, go home and watch mindless TV. Pop out some babies, grow old, and die. Every day is more or less the same. Your life more resembles that of a hamster or zoo animal than a fully autonomous human. Just take a look at the zombies entering/exiting the NYC subway every morning/evening. The city is a giant rat race.

Not having a job to go to on Monday is incredibly liberating, and words alone cannot do this feeling justice.

I honestly feel like a new person. For the first time in my life, I am in full control. I can do whatever I want, go wherever I want. If I’m not happy, then I have no one to blame myself.

I can call myself whatever I want - filmmaker, documentary journalist, ex-wage slave, unemployed nomadic bum, etc. I’m no longer bound by the job title of my employer.

I noticed today that I was happier, more social, and bolder. I was cracking jokes with waitresses when I normally would’ve remained silent, speaking louder and more confidently into my camera as I walked through the streets, diving deeper into conversation with the employee helping me cancel my storage locker. It’s the natural result of being in full control. I’m finally living in the present rather than a permanent state of delayed gratification.

Looking back now it’s absurd that I felt chained to NYC like a dog on a lease, especially since I don’t even have family here. I’ve spent the last 5 years here, my entire adult post-college life. There’s an entire world to explore, and there’s absolutely no reason for me to remain here.

I’ve been fantasizing about traveling the world for years now, and now I finally have the financial cushion to comfortably do it. Still fleshing out the plan, but I’ll start off in South America - Mexico, Colombia, or Brazil. Then I’ll head to Portugal and make my way east to eastern Europe, followed southeast Asia.

I’m taking a year off. Maybe two. Maybe I’ll be indefinitely abroad and never return to the U.S. except for holidays. Again, I still can’t get over how incredible it feels to have this freedom. I had forgotten how this feels - after not having it for so long my brain erased it. I don’t think the released prisoner analogy overstates it. Not to disrespect th slaves, but I would imagine that this is similar to how they felt after the Emancipation Proclomation.

I’ll make videos, but I won’t stress about it. If I’m not enjoying it, then I’ll stop and do something else. Maybe I’ll dabble in making music again, or pursue some business ideas. I want to learn how to surf and see the wonders of the world. I want to meet as many new people as possible, and stay in touch with the positive ones.

11/17 marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life. This chapter will be marked by freedom, doing what I want to do, and pushing my boundaries to be the best person that I can be.

This is going to be the best time of my life until this point, and I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come.

Jeremy Bernier

Written by Jeremy Bernier who left the NYC rat race to travel the world, work remotely, and find the meaning of life.