The stress has begun. Not the holiday stress (although that isn’t helping), but the stress of negotiating a job offer and a cross-country move. Again, I’m doing this all alone, performing all the roles that a couple could divide between them. My personality is already massively deteriorating under the strain.
I did take one break today to go to a bookstore and stumbled right into a book called The Gift of Job Loss by Michael Froehl. And what a gift! I read it all in one sitting and found it enormously validating:
Although his focus is on people who are laid off or fired, his advice resonated with me. He recommends to resist all the pressure to rush into another job but rather, if possible, to take time off to travel, learn a language, improve your health, take up hobbies, clear out your belongings, investigate career and location changes, reconnect with family and friends, and so on. His theory is that we work for thirty or forty years with only one or two weeks off a year (in the U.S.), so a short break of three months to a year in one’s forties is sorely needed and is barely a blip on the radar in the large scheme of things.
I’m sad I have to interrupt my Spanish classes– I think I could have reached a certain level of fluency by the end of 2014– but I also agree with Froehl when he advises that one has to be prepared to end one’s sabbatical early if a great offer comes along.
And all things considered, this job is a great step for my career and finances. It isn’t necessarily the direction I thought I’d be taking, but not everything is under my control. I think I’ll be happy with both the job and the location, if I can just get through the move.
I did have a dinner date with a gentleman about ten years older than me who quit the rat race a decade ago and then bought a small business that allows him to work outdoors. Now that his daughter is leaving for college, he may pare down the business and get a roommate so he can work even less. It made me a bit sad, as my original intention in moving back here was to do something along those lines. But then the roommate situation fell apart, the job search dragged on, and things began to look bleak. I’m just going to have faith that I can reconsider the “easy living” dream in my fifties.
I hope anyway. Froehl points out that we never know how much time we have left, and thus in our forties most of us begin to grapple with our disappointments and reconsider the paths are on. He advocates for a “break” because he thinks it makes more sense to take one in the middle of our lives than to tack on another year at the end– an end we may never live to experience. I’m so glad I had my break!
At the end of the book Froehl recommends the following titles, which I will have to check out as well: