The Journey of Re-Invention

When you find yourself in a similar position like the one I’m in, one of the most difficult questions to answer is “What should I do next? After twenty-five years of working in an industry that flourished for decades, but is now contracting, I no long feel inspired by the opportunities that are being offered.  Life experience has brought about a fair amount of personal growth which keeps me searching for a role that is meaningful. It is no longer appealing to work in a job that demands a daily slog of ten to twelve hours with no emotional fulfillment.

But each day without a job has weighed heavily on my mind and when worry sets in, I tend to spiral downward and wonder if I will ever work again. When this happens, it is usually accompanied by a visual of my salary disintegrating in a puff of smoke. I haven’t not had a job in twenty six years and it feels rather strange, like a part of me is lost or missing. When I run errands during the day, I see professionals dressed in business attire while I am dressed in shorts and a tee shirt. More often than not the shorts are a pair of cut-off sweat pants which have become the staple of my summer wardrobe. I have also become highly cognizant of the stature that comes along with a nice outfit. The contrast of my wardrobe today versus business attire exacerbates what I no longer have. I realize that so much of my persona has been tied to my career that without it, I have to rediscover who I am.

While I try to figure that out, I continue to have discussions with people in my network and explore every option that is available to me. I have applied for dozens of jobs both on-line and through headhunters. I have strategically planted many, many seeds but the right opportunity just hasn’t yet emerged. I conduct this exercise under the looming cloud of a shifting industry, a topic that I discussed in my blog post titled Bye-bye Banking. Others, like me are finding themselves in similar positions and taking a lesser job at the height of my career falls short of my potential and while I don’t yet know exactly what I want, I do know that I don’t want that.

Herein lies my dilemma and so I find myself at a crossroad: What should I do next?

To help answer this question, I try to draw from my own inner wisdom. I have been mediating on this almost every day in hopes that my inner voice will scream out at me, like it did 5 years ago when it told me to move to Manhattan. Today, however that inner voice is still drowned out by the ruckus created by fear, ambiguity and everyone else’s opinion. I need to sit still for a minute, stay quiet and listen to what that voice has to say because it has never steered me wrong in the past.

Having a milestone birthday in the midst of all of this is another catalyst for dramatic change. As I reflect on my life and assess what I have achieved so far, I ask myself “is it enough?” Given my ambitions, I think the answer to that question will always be “no.” It’s what keeps me striving. So while I stare at the blank sheet of paper that is my life, I know for certain that I want more. What that exactly means and how that looks, is yet to be determined.

While I search for clarity there are a number of actions that I have instinctually taken. For one, I have surrounded myself with inspiring individuals who themselves have taken bold steps; people who have taken risks in pursuit of their dreams. Some of these people have succeeded in their endeavors while others have failed, but either way, they still had the courage to walk into the arena. Their struggles weren’t easy and I don’t expect mine to be either, but shifting gears ever so slightly no longer feels like an acceptable option. Too me, it just feels small.