Why I rejected the chance for a six-figure income: Diary of a 21st Century Mystic #14
Many of you reading this will be aware that I write a lot about both mindfulness and how to develop spiritual intuition – what I call Integrated Intelligence. In fact this is the main subject of my most successful book, Discover Your Soul Template. But sometimes even I struggle to apply my own understandings successfully in my life. Some decisions we have to make are of such importance that the mind (“ego”, if you prefer) can play havoc with the decision-making process. This is precisely what happened to me this past week or so, when I had to make one of the toughest choices I can ever recall making.
It was completely unexpected. About seven days ago, and (not quite entirely) out of the blue, I received an email from the EDB, Hong Kong’s education department. The email informed me that I had been successful in gaining a job interview as a regional coordinator in the Hong Kong NET scheme. The NET scheme is a heavily-funded programme whereby the HK government sponsors about a thousand Native English Teachers to teach in Hong Kong’s public education system. Being a NET is possibly the most highly-sought-after ESL job in the world. It carries a very high salary for experienced teachers at very low tax rates. I worked as a NET for eight years in Hong Kong before returning to live in Australia in August 2012.
Of course I did apply for the job several weeks ago, so that’s why I wrote that it was not entirely a surprise. But I threw the application in as an afterthought, in a moment of what Thoreau might call “quiet desperation”. For things have not been entirely rosy since I returned to Australia. I have been lucky enough to secure some work at Swinburne University as a sessional lecturer in their Masters of Strategic Foresight unit. But that is very irregular work and not enough to pay the bills. And most of the jobs I see here in Australia are not particularly attractive to me. I don’t want to go back into secondary education. Being a teacher in a public school in Australia can be an unpleasant experience. You may just as well paint a great target sign on a man’s back and send him out onto an army artillery firing range. Kids these days…
But there is more to this dilemma than finances. The reason I returned to Australia last year is because I got some very clear spiritual guidance to do so. I awoke one dark night in Hong Kong and suddenly a large, dark map of Australia appeared before my mind’s eye. There were red lights around Melbourne, which I knew represented places I could potentially go. Then a song started playing in my inner ear, an old 80s classic by LipsInc – “Funky Town:
Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me
Gotta keep me moving keep me grooving with some energy
I knew Hong Kong was no longer “right for me”. So I moved to Melbourne. That’s where I am now. It’s just that it hasn’t been easy.
Such is life.
The recent interview offer really threw me. I was genuinely torn as to whether I should go to Hong Kong for the interview or not. After all, a NET regional coordinator is a senior position in the system, a job with high salary and high status. It represented a promotion opportunity. And to boot, an end to my immediate financial issues.
There was another problem. I would have to pay for the trip myself, and that would set me back about $1500; no small sum, given that my savings are getting eaten away with every day I go without a decent income stream.
I decided to ask the EDB whether I could have a video interview. Many organisations do this these days when hiring people from overseas. I wrote an email to the EDB representative who had initially invited me for the interview, explaining that it would be very difficult for me to attend the interview. They had only given me only one week’s notice, so I tried to use this as leverage. This is the response my email got in its entirety.
Sorry that the interview cannot be conducted online.
Ah, yes, that remarkable Hong Kong bureaucratic hospitality displayed at its greatest! I was suddenly reminded of why I had left Hong Kong in the first place. Working life in Hong Kong can be a truly dehumanising experience. Hong Kong is a like a giant meat grinder, where employees tend to get squeezed by whomever is above them on the pecking order.
When I make decisions of any kind – but especially for big decisions – I rely heavily upon my intuition. That’s why I used two kinds of intuitive tools to make my final choice about this interview offer. The first is what I call Meditative States, and the second is The Feeling Sense (I outline these tools and how to use them in Discover Your Soul Template). So that evening I sat down in my bedroom and allowed myself to relax deeply. My mind became silent, and all thought and emotionality dissipated (any strong emotions – e.g. fear, worry, anger, excitement, lust – distort genuine intuition). I made a short prayer to Spirit, asking that I be shown the truth. Then I connected with the energy around my heart, and deliberately projected that energy outwards and towards my possible new job in Hong Kong. As I did so, the entire feeling around my heart became essentially negative – dull and listless, with a slight sense of repression, of being trapped. It just felt wrong. The feeling was definite, so I opened my eyes and brought myself back to full presence in my room. I gave thanks to Spirit.
“My strong sense is that I should not go to Hong Kong. So my decision is that I will not go. If this is wrong, please guide me in my dreams tonight.”
That night I slept. No message or vision came. When I awoke in the morning, I stirred and turned my attention once again to the decision at hand. First thing in the morning is the perfect time to ask questions to the subconscious, and to Spirit, for the mind is already quiet. Staying relaxed, I repeated the process from the night before. The result was the same. The energy was not right.
I would not go.
Early that morning I wrote an email to my contact at the EDB. I wanted to keep the channels open and relations friendly. Further, I felt I owed them a decent explanation. This is what I wrote, responding to the previous day’s email.
That’s very bad news for me (about there being no video interviews). I do realise that the EDB will have standard protocols on this matter, so I understand.
If possible, I would like to telephone in person to make a personal apology in regard to this, for I feel that emails are just a little too impersonal. Even though I am not able to attend the interview on Friday, I would like to leave things on good terms, given that I may like to apply again in the future. In this instance, the one week I had to get on the plane just proved to be too difficult.
So would you be kind enough to allow me to phone either you or the most relevant person in this regard?
To date I have received no response to this email.
I made the right choice. The world of Hong Kong administrative bureaucracy is not for me. Melbourne may not quite be a “funky town” for me right now, but here I shall stay… until the energy moves me on. That’s all part of the test. When Spirit moves us in one direction, it does not guarantee instant gratification, nor effortless bliss. All things take time, and courage and perseverance are required; especially when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Who knows what will happen next? I sure don’t. If I did, there would be no requirement for the trust that lies of the heart of spiritual awakening. So thank you Spirit, for not telling me anything more than what I need to know right now.