A tea farmer in Georgia or an easy way to quit smoking

Tomas Kaziliunas

My name is Tomas and I am from Lithuania, where I was raised to love basketball and freedom.

Swimming in unpredictable waters of life, I have repeatedly soaked my tail in swamps and quags of different viscosity. And no one, including myself, couldn’t probably give a proper explanation how on earth I have always been able to get away in one piece and often even managed to get smaller or bigger benefits out of those situations. Due to different circumstances, that would take too long to explain, I have now chosen to stick my tail probably into the biggest quagmire of my life. And I truly hope that my guardian angel will again help me to keep my head above the water, even if he will have to pull me hard from my hair.

During my professional career, I have had jobs that were located at different spots along the attractiveness spectrum and like most of us, I have approached those positions with different levels of commitment and devotion. The last 9 years I have lead sales and customer service teams of different sizes. I could cover all the walls of my toilet with different certificates and letters of appreciation, all confirming my stunning achievements and enlightenments, which have been credited to me over those years. Probably the last “enlightenment” (for which no appreciation letter will be given) made me realize: working in a big corporation is like smoking for me. On occasions (smoking a cigarette or on salary day) I feel ecstatic, calm and safe. However, for most of the time, I suffer from not so attractive residual effects of those habits, hating myself for my mental impotence to make any essential changes to it. 

But an even more intense emotion than self-hate, embraced me when I was thinking of all this misery and horror which would follow if I would decide to quit smoking. Therefore, I guess many people, similarly to myself, stay chained to old habits. The same way I have also stayed chained to my working places, even if in reality I would've liked to close the door and run. I have continued to create “value”, which has often flown somewhere in the clouds and has vanished right after I have left my position and the system administrator in the IT department has cleaned the hard drive of my PC. And then has given it to someone new, who replaces me without any ceremony or significant traces of history.

Tomas in an abandoned tea plantation.

That’s why I have decided to quit smoking, in a sense. I leave behind the monthly, quarterly, yearly figures and action plans to achieve them. I reject missions and values that have been written down for me by a feeding hand. I remove all the attributes of the corporate playground from my daily routine - delete excel graphs, stick the corporate vocabulary and other methodical materials into a deep, dark drawer. With a bow, I will mannerly leave the hunting grounds, created by somebody else’s motivation. After that, I close the door of the blah-blah mills (also known as meeting rooms) behind me and hang up my jacket (with a bit of cold sweat) – and let the sun, wind and rain, not PowerPoint, be my guiding lights. I can always return if I would like to. It is always easier to start smoking than to quit. But in the meanwhile, until I am not yet completely old, I want to try something different and change the course of my efforts. This time I choose the direction which empowers me to create something more than another certificate hanging on the wall of my toilet. I want to create real value – something tangible, that brings joy to the souls of others and myself. Something, which will be loved and remembered by others even after the almighty System Administrator formats the hard disc of myself.

That’s why the next chapter of my life takes me to a distant and unknown country of Georgia, where together with my friends from Estonia and Georgia, I am going to exchange my corporate career for rubber boots and chequered shirts with rolled-up sleeves - to become a decent tea farmer.  I am not sure if this time I am able to save my own skin, but I am sure that a damn good tea adventure is ahead of me!  

Tomas and a cat

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