Retire in your mid-30s? That doesn’t necessarily sound like the American dream, but certainly a dream.
As of Friday, it’s a dream fulfilled for Ravi Chawla. A career electrical engineer with a doctorate degree, Chawla walked away from his 9-to-5 job one last time.
The Murphy resident has spent much of his work life in Texas working with companies like Silicon Labs, Texas Instruments, NVIDIA and, finally, at a start-up company stationed in the Summit Business Park building in McKinney.
That stage is officially over, though, as Chawla retired this week well before his 40th birthday.
“I could not see beyond my education – that was my whole identity and profile,” explained Chawla, surrounded by dozens of independent business owners from around the U.S. “Everybody lives for the weekends; now, we get to choose to customize every day of the week.”
Representing businesses based in over 20 states, the crowd donned red-and-blue T-shirts with “6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday” blazoned across the back. Each of them has learned from Chawla how to secure a financial future without working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday.
Along with his full-time job, Chawla steadily built online business networks using social media with the help of Amway Corp., a leading company in health and wellness, skin and home care products.
The Michigan-based company experienced $10.8 billion in revenues last year as a truly worldwide venture.
Nithin Mohan, who works on Wall Street in Manhattan, New York, met Chawla through Chawla’s brother. He learned basic business-building skills and developed a profitable side venture teaching others how to shop online and build business communities.
“He’s walking out of a 9-to-5 job one last time and chasing his dreams and making them come true,” noted Ganesh Shenoy, Chawla’s business mentor, of Chawla.
Shenoy was dressed as George Washington as he tweaked the definition of the “American dream.”
An enthusiastic crowd chanted, “No more 9 to 5,” as they surrounded Chawla outside the McKinney office building. Their lasting sign of entrepreneurship-fueled freedom: Chawla took a sledge hammer to a clock, busting it – and its symbolic limitations – to tiny pieces.
Chawla’s 4,500-square-foot home and expensive cars are all paid off. His father said Chawla’s “ahead of time by 20 years” and can no control his own stress level “because it’s his design.”
Chants continued as Chawla entered a limousine and waved farewell to his business-owner partners.
“Go out there and teach people so they can experience the same freedom we can experience today,” he told the crowd. “That’s what to be excited about going forward.”