If you like me, even just a little bit,I’m giving you fair warning that you might want to turn back now.
Because I’m about to tell you the ugly truth about how I found my bliss.
And it might just make you hate me.
So I’ll avert my eyes while some of you sneak quietly out the side door. I won’t hold it against you.
For the rest of you who are still here, I’m guessing you’re ready for me to spill and reveal this dirty little secret. . .
So here goes:
About five and a half years ago I gave up my day job as a clinical social worker on a locked inpatient mental health and substance abuse floor in a Boston hospital.
I’d just had a baby and the truth was, I almost couldn’t afford to go back to work.
You see, after paying taxes and childcare, I was going to be taking home about $5 an hour.
As much as I loved my job, it hardly seemed worth going back and leaving my new baby with someone else.
So I quit, and stayed home with my little girl.
Something I thought I’d never do. . .
And (get ready for it) the truth was I didn’t have to go back to work.
(You hate me now, don’t you?)
My husband made good money. He was fine with supporting us both, if that’s what I decided I wanted to do.
Sure, my paycheck helped, but we didn’t need it to get by.
If I was happy caring for my daughter (now we have two), baking cookies, getting dinner on the table, running errands and cleaning house, he was happy to let me do it.
And for a while, I did.
But I wasn’t really happy. (Now you hate me I’m sure.)
Something was missing, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave my daughter to earn enough per hour to buy a package of diapers (oh wait, I wasn’t even earning that much!)
So here I was.
I never had to work again.
But I wanted to do something with myself in addition to being a mom and housewife.
Can you imagine it?
Maybe from where you are now it seems enviable to have that much freedom. And in the end for me it turned out to be such a blessing.
But at the time, it felt like I had no ground underneath me.
What was I going to DO with myself?
I had 16 hours a day to fill (along with my husband’s good pay came long hours too).
I couldn’t play with toys all day.
I couldn’t watch TV all day.
I couldn’t fill my entire day with errands and cleaning. Ok, maybe I could – but it just felt like I was distracting myself from my life and the real problem I was facing.
I suddenly had this big question before me and I just didn’t know what to do.
So maybe by now you do hate me, because you now know that I didn’t have to work. I had an incredible freedom most people only dream of.
But maybe you recognize that I was just as stuck in my “job” situation as you might feel right now.
And I’ll tell you, I’m not the kind of person who does well with no structure. I need that framework to feel right. So this particular brand of “stuck” was very hard for me.
If you’ve ever been out of work or in a similar situation for whatever reason, maybe you know what I mean.
So, I began a journey.
I asked myself, “What do I really want to do with my time?” “What do I want to create in my life?” “What would be an ideal situation for me?”
It was a road with some twists and turns, but eventually, I found myself right here, exactly where I wanted to be – in my bliss.
I get to talk to people, understand them and help them, which fills me up.
I get to write – which I love.
I get to create and design programs, groups, products, services and tools to help people along their journey – which taps into a major passion for me.
And I get to set my own schedule, which means I can be there for my kids and do the work I love at the same time.
The journey of deep reflection revealed to me all the things I could say I “get” to do, instead of the things I felt I had to do.
I also took my own journey down the road that I now guide others on, and I can say that having really “been there” helps me serve my clients better.
So that, friends, is how I found my bliss.
It’s time for you to find yours.
Do you know what you’d do if you suddenly never had to work again, but you were bored of “leisure” and needed something to DO?
What would you do with your life if you could do anything, but still needed to be paid?
If you’re brave enough, answer those questions in the comments below.
But whether you write it here or not, think about it. Hard. Because if you can answer those questions for yourself, you’ve just fast forwarded your journey toward work you love.
Got real life responsibilities, but still want work you love? Join me!
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Career Change at 40 (and Beyond). Get it here!