What do you think was the best decision in your life? Changing a job? Moving to another city? Having kid? I am sure there will be a few things coming into your mind when you ask yourself this question. It is not an easy question. But now when you think about the decision you have made, you would probably say, “Thanks god that I have done that!”
For me it’s the same. I have made several important decisions in my life, which have totally changed my path. Interesting enough, all these decisions were perceived negatively by the others when I made it. It was opposed by my family; my friends and colleagues thought it was stupid. People asked me, “Do you really want to do that? You should think about it more carefully!”
And oh yes, I am SO GLAD now that I didn’t listen to them and I have made those decisions. People tend to be resistant to change and try to avoid risk. Change always involves risks. That is why most people prefer everything stays the same.
My philosophy: No risk, no gain!
If you are not satisfied with your current situation, DO SOMETHING ABOU IT! People tend to always complain about their situation and dream that it would be so good if they could do this and that, without taking any actions on it. If you are not taking any actions to change the situation, nothing is going to be changed. You should not be waiting for a chance to change, but you create a chance for you to change. If you have a dream, DO NOT WAIT! People who are waiting end up not making their dream come true. You will always have different excuses coming up, telling you why now is not the best time to take action.
Especially if you are young, your risk is relatively low. You are healthy and have energy, you may not have a partner or kids yet. Things can be more flexible. BUT, even if you already have a family, you can still chase for your dream. Nothing is unachievable, it depends on how much you want to achieve it.
So here is my story:
During my Bachelor in Hong Kong, I was on an exchange program for six months in Prague. That was when I totally fell in love with Europe. After I was back to Hong Kong, I had never forgotten about Europe. This was my dream to go back. I just didn’t know how.
After graduating from my bachelor, I started working like every other person. I was an auditor in a prestigious multinational company. If you are in this field, you will know how the work is like. And the Hong Kong working culture doesn’t make it better. I worked day and night. In the peak season, which last for months, if I could go home at midnight, this would be already a luxury. People with unlucky clients could work till after 2am every night. And forget about the weekend. They were exactly the same as the weekday. We worked the same hours. That was the reality I faced after graduation. At some point in time, I asked myself, “What are all these for?” Basically I had no life.
My heart belongs to Europe
Europe was still in my heart. At that time, there was a new working holiday arrangement between Hong Kong and Germany. Working holiday means that you can get a one year visa. During that time, you can do some non-professional work in a foreign country. The aim is that you can support yourself financially with this money and do some travel in other countries. This is for young people to expand their horizons.
Originally I was looking into the working holiday thing. I was hoping I could get a real job during the visa period. By chance, I heard from a friend that doing a master in Germany is actually tuition fee free. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. In my mind, studying abroad would always cost a fortune. I did some research and found out that it was true. So no tuition fee! I changed my mind and decided to go for a master in Germany, with the hope to find a job there after graduation.
A scary decision
So after working two years in Hong Kong, I decided to quit my job and go for the master. I sent out five applications to different German universities and got in the end two offers. To be honest, it was a really hard decision. I was about to be promoted at that time. I would have gotten almost a double increase in salary with a title of associated manager. On top, I would need to work for one more year in order to get my Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which is an important qualification in this field.
Besides, my master would last for two years. But I had only enough money for one year living expenses. So all the situations did not make it sound like a good idea to quit at that time. Many people asked me, “Why don’t you wait for one more year? Then you will have enough money to go, a better title and also your CPA.”
That was true. I was struggling. But I thought, who knew what was going to happen next year? There could be some other things popping up next year. So basically there would never be a good timing. What if no university wanted to admit me next year? The chance was in front of me at the moment and I wanted to grab it. And I did.
This decision basically changed my whole life
After a lot of frustration in Germany, even though I did not speak German at that time, I finally found an English speaking job and settled down here. I met the love of my life here. I have my dream life coming true. I am so glad that I made this decision. My life would have been completely different if I would have stayed in Hong Kong.
It was not easy. I was all alone in Germany at the beginning and was not able to speak German. Sometimes I got so frustrated that I thought maybe I better went back to Hong Kong. But I made it in the end. When my company called me and gave me the job offer, I was screaming out of happiness. The HR there asked me if I was okay 😀
I remember my flatmate heard me screaming and asked me what happened. I told him I made it. I said that I was SO LUCKY. That was when he told me this German saying,
“Jeder ist seines Glückes Schmied.”
If I need to translate it, it means, “Everyone is his own luck maker.” Your luck is not coming on its own. You put all your effort into something and that is why you succeed in it. Not because you are “just lucky”!