Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Emotions Of The Voluntarily Unemployed

As with any major change event in your life, there are many emotional phases to transition through before getting to the ultimate peace.

About a month ago, I went through the ELATION phase.  This was when I realized that what I had been fantasizing about would actually happen.  With this elation was RELIEF as well, knowing that I can now work on a plan for my future. (of course, knowing that I can is different from actually doing it!)

Another emotion that often creeps in is DOUBT.  Let’s be clear… I DID NOT EXPERIENCE THIS PHASE… I skipped right over it.  I’m sure I’ll have to come back to analyze this later, but for the time being, I’m very comfortable with my choices.

Right now, I’m going through a small ANXIETY phase.  This anxiety is self-imposed, because later this week, I’ll be saying goodbye to my routine, my place of work, where my colleagues have been the primary source of social interaction for years, and goodbye to colleagues who have become my dearest friends either because of proximity (gotta love those cubicles!) or because of the common values and experiences we shared.   I know that some with remain dear friends, but for those that have been mere acquaintances, it is more likely that our paths will cross less and less.

My primary emotion at the moment is IMPATIENCE.  I just want to move on.  I’ve been preparing myself psychologically for months; having to put on a good work fa├žade is draining. Even though I’m not sure what the future will look like, I’m ready to get on with it. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Switching From High To 'Unknown Gear'

It is not without trepidation that I’m consciously switching from the corporate ‘high gear’ to the unemployed ‘low gear’.  By ‘low gear’, I mean that I am consciously not looking for another job.  I am, in fact, avoiding discussing job possibilities with anyone in my industry or profession.  I do not want to jump into doing ‘stuff’ in order to fill my days or put money in the bank account.

How many people have you heard say lately:  “Gosh! I LOVE my job!”  (Unless, of course, they are still in the honeymoon phase of a new job or received a big whopper bonus!)  A while back, I was someone who said that.  Once that changed, I knew that I had to do something, either in my role, my relationship with my employer, or my mindset.  Ultimately, I chose to change all three.

Of course, not everyone has the luxury to jump off the high-speed work train.  There are, however, some things that we can all do to make our work more aligned with what we would really enjoy.  This takes courage and a lot of self-awareness of what we really want and don’t want.

Stay tuned!!...more on this later…

Friday, September 24, 2010

Voluntarily Unemployed: Why?

So what was the purpose of leaving a well-paying, mostly satisfying job to now be voluntarily unemployed?  Many people would suggest that I’m crazy. Going through mid-life crisis. Overly stressed. Lazy. Barking mad in fact.  Actually I’m none of these.

I’ve been very blessed:  I’ve had a great run at a career; I’ve made some lucrative financial investments; I’m reasonably fit and healthy; I have a very supportive partner, but most importantly, I’ve been exposed to very diverse people who have given me insights into lives and lifestyles I would never have considered 10 years ago.  These are people who have stepped out of their comfort zones to explore careers and activities they felt passionate about, leaving behind the usual societal pressures of more, bigger, and faster. Most of these individuals were very successful in the first careers, but at some point, they ventured away to do what made them more fulfilled.  They are artists, musicians, writers…or they simply do a variety of things that fulfill all the important dimensions of their life.

This blog is about the exploration of what, given this blessed opportunity, I can and want to do for the second half of my life. 

I know I’m not unique in this adventure…so I hope to get insights from those who have undertaken this path before me and those who are on the same search. 

Feel free to blog me your insights, experiences, and advice.

Leaving The Employment Nest

I am a 46-year old professional who has decided to leave a corporate career to explore what I might want to do for the second half of my life.

I have chosen to switch gears from the fast-paced corporate life to one of the unknown, discovering what I need and want in a purposeful life.

I’m one week away from ending a 25-year relationship with my employer.  Although this should be a sad, scary, and perhaps conflicting time for me, none of these emotions describe what I’m feeling.  As with any good divorce, I’ve been thinking about this breakup for quite a while.  We ‘haven’t been getting along’ is a bit of a misstatement.  Perhaps ‘irreconcilable differences’ is more appropriate.

At some point in the past three years, my ambitions have tapered, my loyalty dampened, and my perspective broadened beyond what my employer could offer.

Although ultimately the decision to end my career with Corporate Calgary was my employer’s, I have consciously and sub-consciously been sending out the ‘pick me!’ flags for the severance package lottery.  The stars aligned and….Ta Da!, here I am.

I’m now off to my next adventure!!

OH… and did I mention that I’m a young 46 year old??!

Switching Gears: What's This All About?

So why create a blog? What’s this blog suppose to be about anyways?  Who will ever read it?  These are the questions that keep coming back to me as I venture into this bizarre world of blogging and self-analysis. 

Once I’d (or at least my employer) determined that I was leaving my illustrious 25-year career, I started questioning what a 46-year old does with her time, talents, and treasures when she doesn’t have to get up at 5:00 am to get to her cubicle to work to facilitate a corporation to make billions of dollars per year.

Of course she gets on the Internet to find out what others do in the same situation.  Well….it appears there aren’t that many people willing to share their experiences, emotions, and stories about how they ‘get to where they eventually get to’.

There’s a lot of information about financial planning for retirement, semi-retirement, job hunting, mid-life crisis, or career development, …but not a lot on ‘figuring yourself out at mid-life’.

So my offer is to blog my way along my path of self-discovery.  There will be bits and pieces about the multiple dimensions that I believe I will be challenged to balance:  fitness, social, intellectual, financial, creativity and philanthropy. (I reserve the right to expand this list as I go!)

Feel free to blog me your insights, experiences, and advice.