You could say that I had a great career, I made it in a strange country other than where I grew up and success always followed me no matter what position I held. For the majority of my working years, I have been in upper management, executing company direction, recruiting talent, as well as inspiring and developing such to move up the corporate ladder. I have held a career many would aspire towards and at times their drive to attain what they envisioned as “power” was poisoned with jealousy and envy. Today I realize that the meaning of success depends highly on your take of what a great, successful career is. These days, I would give you a much different definition of success and what it means to me now. It has little to do with status and prestige. It’s not a matter of power and control, even though there will always be those who enjoy superiority over others. I never have, but I enjoyed making a difference for people, being a mentor and being in a position that allowed me to help others achieve their goals by making them come true. Those have truly been some of the happiest moments in my career and what has made it all worthwhile.
Today I would also tell you that the higher you climb the corporate ladder, the lonelier it get’s. Not all tops have a beautiful view and I have seen the corporate world turn corrupt with greed and a never satisfied hunger to outperform prior performances. To do and expect more with less as I can’t help but wonder where the work-life balance is. It’s missing and more stress is added. Should I be surprised of how many suffer and are sick, how many may never have the quality of life to enjoy retirement, given they reach it age wise or are able to retire financially. It’s not normal that we force ourselves to perform at such levels and you can’t tell me that there are no consequences to pay for it. By now, you have probably noticed how passionate I am about this subject, because I do believe that there is more to life and some key drivers are education, encouragement and choice. If you can do it for awhile, save up and get out, do it. If you are good at it and can make a career of it, go for it but keep an eye on the years. I did it for too long.
Recent events forced me to take a look back at how it all came to be. There was a time I had no choice but to promote. I blame it on my work ethic as it was always what got me noticed. Pretty soon I was in special classes, finding myself groomed to take on additional responsibilities. I never turned down a promotion and I have always moved up. Whether it was due to needing the extra income, or simply not being able to get out of it, because after all, you’d be weird if you didn’t want to promote or have some goals of moving up, right? How could you not have aspirations and how could you not want to brag about status and compete with the next person. You’d be simply boring, lacking enthusiasm and drive. End of story, nobody would ever relate to this. I always promoted and I always worked my tail off, simply because I don’t know how to give anything less than a 100%.
The RA has forced my work habits into surrender these days and I can’t work like I used to in my twenties anymore. I probably wouldn’t be able to either way, with or without the RA. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to join TAP, a Talent acquisition program, designed for the next level, ready to promote. I agreed and felt honored and appreciated, I truly was. It is a great feeling when your hard work doesn’t goes unnoticed and your talent is appreciated. Much of the prep for the upcoming program was smooth and familiar, filled with prior experiences, it felt like an old, familiar routine. And then it hit me and who was I kidding? The timing for this could have not been more off, and it might as well never be right again for me. Was it ever, I wonder? There is much to anticipate in Germany that might occupy my mind in more important means than a new career. It already does either way and whether I’m here or there, the facts remain the same. A part of me is very appreciative, while the rest of me feels like I have been there and done it. I was thinking of my Rock Bottom Oracle card. True freedom is attained only through complete surrender. My interpretation means to move aside and to let new, young talent emerge and take the reigns who are still interested in building a career. I wonder what my future was going to be health-wise, adding more stress to the mix while I’m trying so hard to eliminate it! While I struggle already and sometimes don’t know how to face the day! Isn’t my body already trying to tell me what I need to know? Days went by and I felt guilty of letting my boss down. I waited, instead of making a hasty decision, but nothing changed. Instead more news came and I realized how truly needed I am in Germany. Ultimately there is no doubt that I need to go home. The “eventually” (going home) has turned into a “ASAP”, pressed with a urgency as time is running out to truly make this happen.
My heart continued to feel heavy each time I passed by the training package on the dinning room table. The joy and excitement I should have felt about promoting was largely overshadowed by the unknown and a future that needs to unfold on its own vs. being controlled in ways it is not meant to be. Finally, I made a decision and wrote a thank you email in honor and appreciation, but also in declining the offer of moving forward at this time. For the first time in my career, I felt that I had a choice and that I didn’t have to go through with something that wasn’t a fit. I’m not saying that it’s not a fit, but timing is everything. Money didn’t matter anymore and was definitely not forcing me into something I didn’t want to do. I was in control of dedicating my time, to pursue my passions, for as much as possible and to reconnect during times of solitude. I had a choice, and a wild choice it was. One that took courage and one that made me stand up for what is right for me. One that I will always remember and one that allowed me to become the architect of my own life. Will it always be this way, I don’t know, but if I can help it, YES, because let me tell you, it felt pretty darn good afterwards. A huge burden was lifted to focus on the things that need my foremost attention and the effort of keeping stress at bay. There still is plenty to come working in retail over the holidays, haha.
The face of relief and enjoying a wild moment with Mother Nature and getting caught in the rain. Money can’t buy this…..