Life

Sherry Otts, Corporate American Runaway

Sherry Otts was a successful New York-based IT Director who one day, it seems to me,  decided to stop drinking the corporate cool aid of stakeholder value for a while, and step out into another world.

Having unlocked what she increasingly saw as the golden handcuffs of cubicledom, off she went down yellow bric roads of adventure and travel. (Actually, I think she arrived in Africa first but don’t let that fact spoil the metaphorical fun.)

Here’s Sherry, writing from America’s career break HQ, briefcasetobackpack.com/about/who-we-are/sherry-ott (Aug. 2014 Update: this domain has expired and likely replaced by ottsworld.com. See below.) explaining her motivations for leaving a secure, well-paid executive role.

Interesting, eh!

Briefcase to Backpack is just one of the online collaborative ventures she’s working on. The site’s tag line is offering travel advice for career breaks and sabbaticals, and is aimed at helping her fellow Americans do just that.

And while that might seem a tough sell in round one of the jobless recovery bestowed on us by the saviours of the financial world (blessed be their fame), I suspect there’s a significant niche in the Land of the Free who’d love to experience some time off (for good behaviour?) from their corporate shackles.

The problem (as I see it) is that global wage arbitration is still playing out, and will probably continue to do so for many years to come.

But that’s a hot topic for another post.

Back to Sherry and what drew me to write about her. Well, Kudos to Pamela Slim, whose Escape from Corporate blog I also follow. Pam&‘s post first alerted me to Sherry’s existence. (Isn’t the Internet wonderful for such discoveries!)

I then spent a very late night hour or two reading through Sherry’s own blog, Sherry Otts corporate American runaway, Otts World. Travel and Life Experiences of a Corporate American Runaway.

Sherry Otts

This is a fascinating blog as her writing and photography allow the reader to experience some of the emotional highs and lows, along with the awe and the boredom, that come with striking out into the unknown (and often alone.)

What most impressed me was Sherry’s willingness to try new things and also her growing love for teaching. That’s something in midlife I’m also rediscovering.

Pragmatic readers will no doubt detect that she is not bringing home the bacon in terms of being well paid over there in HCM city, Vietnam. Quite the opposite, when compared with the perks and pay back in the States.

However, it looks like she can live OK although I do worry for her poor lungs with all the smog/pollution that seems ever present.

For those with eyes to see, there’s definitely a lesson on needs versus wants in much of what Sherry’s doing and experiencing. Doesn’t mean you have to do what she did to find similar truth, since life casts many nets on the oceans of fulfillment.