Every year I get my professional life started with two things: a calendar (usually bought in the fall) and a notebook to record conversations, tasks and decisions resulting from “meetings.” Live or over the phone. Life pre-COVID had been WFH (working from home) for me for about a decade so this notebook, which lived in my laptop bag of the moment and was dragged on my coffee-shop-hops, was my go-to reference.
For 2020, my notebook’s cover is titled “You Got This.” Who knew the depth of these three simple words would be the foundation of my year.
Step 1 in my recent professional evolution. After running a national staff training program for years and a shift to marketing in 2018 (thank God by the way as this gave me NEW priceless skills and insight.) I was cut out of a meeting due to “budget constraints” and “limiting travel” across the company. This was an event I had not only helped create in the past, but where I played a leading role for years. OK. I got it. My response: perfect time for a vaca. My dad is turning 80, my parents live across the country and my significant other is officially retired from the military. This all equals an outstanding week in Palm Desert and metro LA. #RealizingWhatIsImportant
The journey continues. Not surprisingly, in a company clearly changing, anxiety levels were high and not just mine. Without detail and simply put, 2020 was looking busy for this girl. I had travel all over my calendar and was told the “hold” on budget would ease up for certain types of travel: which I was firmly tied to with my role. #ClarityOfPurpose
Ouch, my health. Ugh, here comes COVID- all at once! On March 10th was the Michigan primary. I ate lunch at a local Italian place I hadn’t been to in awhile and by 4pm I was painfully trying to handle my calls. By 6 I was at urgent care. On March 12th, our Governor decided it was time to shut down the state. And I was still in pain and after tests and another trip to urgent care, had an appointment with a doctor on Friday that seemed life changing. Another appointment Monday, a call with a nurse and phew, I was ruled out for the big C (as much as could be I was told). I put gas in my car, picked up McDonald’s curbside (the only way to get prepared food on the 16th) and headed home, knowing that all health things would be on hold for a few weeks (Ha! MONTHS actually) to begin my life with Zoom, which now everyone, even those used to meeting rooms, lunch in the break-room and decorated cubicles were about to get used to. #LifeDuringAPandemicBegins
In summary: the art of relevance. Everyone in my company and so many of my friends who were not on the front line of something pandemic-related, were struggling with ways to be relevant. I’m not stating this to imply that we were bored, or irrelevant, but that we were all trying to bring comfort and value to clients, members, co-workers, and anyone we touched professionally. Pivoting; switching gears; jumping on projects that didn’t exist weeks, even days, earlier and putting things aside as much as we could without jeopardizing that work that was being postponed “for later.” These were our day-to-day “work” realities. #PandemicWorkLife
The world is my oyster (and I LOVE oysters). Big shock: no money in = not enough money to pay people. I was a casualty of “COVID budget constraints” on May 14th. I could go into detail on the challenges of filing unemployment and getting COBRA in order, but I won’t. It is all well-documented, this craziness in Michigan (and many other states). The bottom line: I want to completely start a new lifestyle. At 49, this is the perfect time, right? #ABSOLUTELY.
Freedom to live. One of my former colleagues introduced me to the 4-Hour Work Week. My thoughts (and feelings) have been confirmed. This book is an affirmation. This blog entry is the beginning. Because I am almost 50, I have saved up and spent wisely. I sold my house last year and we now rent. A lot of my “stuff” was gone, and I lightened my load, literally. My 28-year-old self could not do this (well, not without more pain) and I am EXCITED about the next chapter. My resume is complete (and looks outstanding), my reference list is long and I couldn’t be more grateful to the names on it for all their support but I don’t know how quickly I’ll be using any of it. I may just try to do things my way for a bit. I smile a little as look over at my notebook with the “You Got This” cover, and, halfway in, is now being used to plan my future instead of record corporate meetings and discussions. #Happiness.
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