It has now been officially one year since I left the corporate world. After 31 years in corporate positions my wife and I together made a big change by grabbing control of our lives – a quest in a new direction – to live a more fulfilling life together.
Prior to departing, corporate life for the past four solid years had been 70, 80, and even 90 hour weeks on a consistent basis. Stress levels were maxed out. Family life was to the bare necessities. Reflecting back now, though there were times of satisfaction and joy, it was a pathetic existence. I know there are countless men and women, especially single moms, with lives running on all too little sleep, extreme exhaustion, and the stress of keeping things moving forward. While I cannot, and it would not be right to, talk about the details of my particular challenges in my corporate executive position, I believe you can generally grasp the picture.
What’s it been like over the past year? Well, to be honest, the first four months after escaping the corporate landscape my wife (Sheri) and I spent a lot of time getting reconnected with each other. The recent years had really stretched our relationship in some not so positive ways. The good news is that we did reconnect and we relished in the fact that we both remembered why we loved being together – after so many years of saying “I Do”, we “Still Do”. What happens when you unplug from a job/life situation like this and go “cold turkey” as the phrase goes?
Exhaustion recovery. For the first 2 months it was not uncommon for me to sleep 10 to 12 hours overnight. They say you cannot regain lost sleep – I certainly did my best to try!
The corporate world is ripe with countless obligations, politics, and rituals – some that make sense and many that do not. I found the withdrawals to be stressful some days and quite therapeutic other days. Getting back to the essence of my true self after all the programming has been much more difficult than I envisioned. I guess I was “in deeper” than I’d thought.
Lack of Focus. My goal when shifting out of the big business was to put myself on an entrepreneurial track. I made some progress but it was much slower than I’d planned and definitely I found myself with a clear lack of focus. Perhaps a mini-PTSD response!
A New World Outside! In so many ways after being at work continually for over 30 years, I found that the outside world had changed. What happens during the day was shocking to me! More about that in a future blog post.
Freedom! The day was ours to do with as we pleased. Focus on what was important to us – often each other and our family. It was, and is, a very awkward feeling to have less structure.
Grace and Thankfulness. The opportunity to have a fresh start – basically amounting to a new life – makes one feel quite blessed. Very thankful.
Grins! I must say that most days, especially early on in the process, my wife and I would find ourselves grinning to ourselves and to each other. Some days we were downright giddy!
So, where do things go from here? In an upcoming series of blog posts I’ll share more details about the journey we are on and how building our business is working for us. Thanks for reading! Make your life the one you want to live!