Why I’m Trashing Four Years Of Effort, Dedication, and Achievement

“Extra possessions are extra burdens” – My fortune cookie last month

I can’t believe how much stuff I still have.  I’ve spent the last year and a half getting rid of at least one thing per day (net – if I buy something I get rid of at least two things), and I still have so many possessions.  As my dad points out, my dedication to the glory days of Minnesota sports doesn’t help me here, but everyone has a hobby.

I’m getting rid of things because they don’t bring joy into my life (thank you, Marie Kondo).  I’m getting rid of things because I simply don’t use them anymore.  I’m getting rid of things because I’m trying to simplify my life.  Today, I’m getting rid of something because it brings a burden I didn’t realize I was carrying.

I spent four years earning the Chartered Financial Analyst designation (yes, I failed one of the three annual exams and had to retake it).  Four years of giving up my Memorial Day holidays to try and pass those tests.  Four years of dedication and effort.

I’m proud as I look at the certificate I received after passing the final exam.  I learned many things, and have profited in my career because of the education I received.  However, I also feel pain.  I know I shouldn’t, but I do.

Prior to passing the last exam, my boss called me into his office.  He thought I was being lazy, and he was going to motivate me.  He said I would receive a promotion when I passed the final CFA exam.  I went back to my desk, pulled up HR’s intranet page and looked at the pay scale sheet to see what a promotion would mean.  It was a significant amount of money for my growing family.

The exam came, and I passed.  The promotion came, but the raise never did (unfortunately, not my first or last “corporate” experience).  I complained, but the executives had decided to “adjust” the pay scale of the position I had been promoted into.  I was the only employee affected.

Honestly, I haven’t thought about this in years.  However, when you start eliminating your possessions, you start to notice more of what remains.  Yesterday I saw my CFA certificate in the closet of my office.  Today it’s going in the trash.

The symbol of four years of effort, dedication, and achievement is going in the trash.  Yes, it’s the symbol of those positive things.  It’s also just a symbol of the very real benefits I have received.  It also reminds me of the pain I felt afterward.  I’m throwing it away, and I feel great!

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