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Ditch the office grind and live your dream

Screw the Cubicle founder tells you how to create the perfect career and live abroad
on the road Lydia Lee gave up a six-figure job to launch her own startup, now based in Bali. photo submitted

On paper at least, Lydia Lee was living her dream job.

By the age of 28, the Vancouverite was jet-setting around the globe and making six figures a year through her work in international education.

And yet, something was missing.

"I had all those things you were supposed to have as a young adult, and none of that was bringing me any more fulfillment, which I thought money would solve," said Lee.

So Lee ditched the high-powered corporate gig and eventually started blogging about her self-described "quarter-life crisis." The blog, called Screw the Cubicle, would end up blossoming into a full-time business-coaching startup that preaches the values of leaving behind the 9-5 grind. And she does it all from her tropical homebase in Bali.

"It was an accident, really,' she said. "I would love to say I knew Screw the Cubicle was going to be like this, but I didn't. But that's the point: you want to have that option and the space to do stuff like this because we're multi-faceted humans and there are so many different things we want to experiment with. I think that's the way to find the career of your dreams, because it's never what you think it is."

The entrepreneur will be in Whistler next week delivering a talk on how you can lead a fulfilling career from anywhere in the world.

Most Whistler residents are all too familiar with the job sacrifices involved with living your lifestyle of choice. But, according to Lee, you can have your cake and eat it too.

"We are now living in a time and place where our parents never were: this opportunity to reinvent our careers using technology to allow ourselves to be more mobile, to be more remote, which, at the end of the day, is giving people more choices on how they want to live their life," Lee explained.

Finding rewarding work that can be done independent of location is all about "putting yourself in front of the right people," said Lee.

"The big piece people have to learn when they want to be independent is basically how they're going to give value to people that do not know what they do, that might be interested in what they do," she said.

Lee recommends finding a community of likeminded people through socail media to share your skills with and creating a profile on curated freelancing networks like CloudPeeps or Local Solo.

"Gone are the days of putting an ad in a paper to market yourself. You can actually go straight to the lions' den in a way (through social media) and be around that community," she added.

The key to creating the right career that will allow you to work remotely is to "pinpoint which of your skills are transferable and what problems you want to solve," said Lee.

"We spend 40-plus hours at work a week," she added. "If we're truly not happy with what we're doing, who we're doing it for and why we're doing it, of course it's going to beat us up. It's like a bad marriage."

The Whistler Open Forum Speaker Series talk kicks off Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Nita Lake Lodge. Tickets are $35, available at