Friday I had a slightly anticipated voice message from my soon-to-be company. I’ve been asked to contribute to a couple of side projects before I begin my own. Which means I’m onboarding early.
Thumbs up. I’m all in.
80% of my identity, if not more, is my profession. I love working. I love what I do. Weekdays. Weekend. I don’t care. I love being a part of brain forming good solutions.
Unfortunately and for the first time in my career, I found myself working on a product that I didn’t believe in … and around people I didn’t want to intellectually follow. More so, I was being pushed into a corporate role so my ‘talents could be enjoyed by other divisions’.
Of my own doing for staying, it was 16 months of miscasted trajectories that affected my professional pride and personal core. During which, I sat beside my Dad as he got sick and left his body. I was with my Mom when she too got sick, and healed.
Before that I was 12 years single handedly architecting a Portal. Before that was 5 years on-the-job training learning web design and software engineering. Back still was 2 years with Helena, 4 years working simultaneously as I was getting my bachelor’s degree, 3 at the nursing home as I attended high school.
Never before, I wanted a break.
Since the age of thirteen I have worked. Absolutely my parents helped me in the early years with food and household support, but I have always made my own way financially. I don’t know if it was taught or if it’s just part of my DNA. Probably a bit of both.
I consider myself independent. It helps that I’m not materialistic. I’ve never been late on rent. I paid my way through university. I unapologetically wear clothes ’til they get holes. I don’t like tchotchkes. When I do buy something it’s usually a plane ticket or a used book. Which is how I’ve been to 22 countries, visited 450+ cities and towns and own over 300 books.
I remember a few years back, JB and I talked about moving to Hong Kong for his job. With that there was a possibility of me going without one. It was my Dad who took me aside and said, verbatim: Don’t go there without your own cash. I immediately researched English teaching positions.
In December, with my Mom in what would be her first of two back to back ICU stays in two hospitals, I stood back to assess life.
The last major decision I made was irresponsible which doomed my relationship with JB. I learned the hard way. So I was mindful. I looked at my bank account. I saw the future. I looked at my Mom. I saw my Irish Twin Brother owning his job like a boss. I listened for my Dad’s voice. I heard JB’s warning about looking for a job when you have a job.
Finally, when it came right down to, I realised I didn’t have to endure my present work situation. And with that, I stepped off my career roller coaster.
In my own hands, I felt like a bird in flight.
That was January, and to this day I consider that decision to be one of the healthiest ones I have ever made. I gained Reason and Purpose, and missed out on nothing. I fulfilled Johnny Case’s raison d’être in the movie Holiday.
So positive has this time been, I entertained a thought that had JB and I gone on an extended holiday seven years ago to explore each other and build a future, we would have landed differently.
Eh, even I know he never would have gone for that idea. Couldah. Shouldah. Wouldah. If 80% of me is professional, that means 20% identifies with a personal side … it shows with that silly idea. Never mind.
Back in the here and now, my sabbatical is coming to a close. I’m happy I did it and equally happy to see it go.