What I’ve Learned From Living Wrong

“I will never be an accountant, that shit is soooo boring.”

cycling in hiloI made that statement to my Dad about 15 years ago when he called me at college.  It was approximately 2 years before I partied a little too hard and dropped out, 8 years before I went back to school for a Master in Accountancy (aka Grad School for boring people), 10 years before I became a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), and 15 years before I walked away from all of it.  That was yesterday.  Yesterday was my last day at work and I have no idea what I’m going to do next, but, frankly, it was time to leave and it feels really good.

If you follow the weekend commentary, you know that I’ve been making some changes to move to a warmer climate and in a couple of weeks I’ll be down in Austin, Texas.  However, the reality of this move is that it’s about quite a bit more than hating winter even though winter is truly offensive.

Looking back at my life, I’ve started to realize that many of the decisions I made were based in fear.  Specifically, I took steps to avoid outcomes rather than taking steps to get where I wanted to go or pursue things I care about.  In other words, I made decisions to avoid failure rather than to do what I wanted.  That decision making process (if it can even be called that) caused me to fall into a career that I’m not passionate about and don’t find meaning in.  Clearly it doesn’t make sense to pursue a career in a subject you dislike in school, but that’s exactly what I did.

I went on to do what all young people are “supposed” to do.  I showed up to work, I bought a house, I made payments on my students loans, and I tried to enjoy myself.  Unfortunately, I was incredibly unhappy and devoting all of my waking hours to working so I could pay for a life that kept me trapped working at something I didn’t want to do in the first place.  I found comfort in the things that I liked about work and I really do care about the clients and the people I worked with.  However, my body began began to confirm what my mind was telling me and that was that I needed to make a change.

It’s emotionally challenging to devote all of our productive, waking hours to something we don’t really care about.  I think that as human beings we want to help each other and feel like our work has a positive impact on the world.  Maybe that’s just me, but I doubt it.  Having a positive impact is much easier when we care about what we’re doing and want to use it as medium for expressing ourselves in the world.

The reality of my life is that I’ve chosen to learn the hard way . . . slowly.  Rather than making deliberate decisions to control outcomes, I’ve avoided uncertainty and made decisions based on how I “should” act rather than how I “want” to act.  The changes I’m making professionally are a way to step into something unknown to hopefully find something better.

Right now I’m not totally clear about what the “right” choice is, but I know that not making a change is the wrong one.  I know that the only thing I’ve ever been truly interested in is following markets and, for now, I’m going to do that.  I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but it’s time to start looking.

On Saturday I’ll talk about how my pre-midlife crisis will impact the site going forward, but, rest assured, the changes will increase the value of the information on Theta Trend.  Thanks, as always, for reading and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.


  • Dave

    Dan, I know exactly how you feel. I chose accounting because I couldn’t cut it as an engineering major in school and accounting seemed like a natural fit for my analytical mind. I started out as an auditor for a Big 4 firm, luckily it only took me about 3 years to say eff it and quit with no plan. Long story short I’m still an auditor, but doing it in the Cayman Islands which makes it better to enjoy the time not at work. If you still can’t figure out what it is you want to do by later this year, give jobs here a look. They hire tax accountants here for US fund investors, expats, etc. The work sucks about as much but the lifestyle can’t be beat.

    Good luck!

    • Ha! Thanks Dave. The island lifestyle sounds pretty appealing so I’ll keep it in mind. I can’t imagine doing the Big 4 four thing and you have one up on me there. I think everything is going to work out quite okay, but sometimes (as you know) that means leaving without a plan. That being said, I do have a few things in mind and I’m more excited about where this goes than concerned. Thanks for the comment.


  • The Lazy Trader

    Wow, great post my friend! I’m kind of in a similar boat. It’s not that I hate software development, it’s just that my passion for the markets go way beyond what software development can bring to my life. Whatever happens, this will be a positive step in your life. Simply because it makes you feel right right now. Good luck in Austin. The better weather will certainly help!

    • Thanks LT. I wondered if you didn’t have some similar feelings. Passion for the markets is an amazing thing; I can’t imagine having it for anything else professionally. You’re absolutely right that better weather will be helpful. When you get down to Florida I think we need to plan a blogger meetup somewhere!