For me, even before I was Jewish, Fall seemed more like the beginning of the year. It was the time a new school year always began and the changing of the seasons marking the end of my family’s long months spend growing crops. It was a time to reflect on the year past, with my Mom and Dad thinking through last year’s crops and planning for the next year and me gearing up for classes. I still feel like Fall is the beginning of my year and at least now the Jewish calendar also agrees.
I’ve always found most of my biggest shifts and changes during this time of year. I met my husband in the Fall. Most of my big job changes have happened or at least began at this time. It’s a time when I take stock and make moves. This year, again, it was time to make some big changes.
Over the past year or so, during the long Covid isolation, I had a deepening sense of burnout in my career. Last year, I did a yoga teacher training and I often thought of other career paths. I couldn’t remember why I’d gone into networking and it felt like any other job would just be a continuation of what I was feeling. I was feeling overworked and like my work really didn’t matter or make a difference in the world. Why I was I spending so many hours, so many nights and weekends lost for my family, if what I was doing didn’t really help the world be a better place? My work seemed repetitive and dull, but also tedious and draining.
I guess maybe it was a midlife crisis?
The problem was that my work paid well and helped support my family. No matter what career change I considered, running the numbers, I knew it would cause my family hardship at a time when we really needed the stability that my career was providing. I’d worked hard and was now at a good point in my career. I had skills that were valuable and needed. The problem was that I just felt empty using those skills day after day.
So, probably at the worst possible time, just as the Jewish High Holidays began, I began a job hunt, putting my resume out there, not knowing what to expect and knowing that it would be tough to book interviews around holidays.
I was immediately pleasantly surprised that so many great companies were hiring! These were companies that I never dreamed I’d be asked to work for and the positions they were hiring for were interesting and would enable me to learn new things and brush up on skills I hadn’t been using for a while. These roles actually sounded interesting and as I talked with hiring managers, I wanted to know more about the projects they were doing. My curiosity, which had been dormant for the past year and a half, was suddenly fully ignited in a way it hadn’t been since I’d left Footlocker.
In order to prepare for the next round of interviews, I had to dust off a lot of old skills and study some so that I could do well in the technical interviews. I also wanted to study a little about the technologies these companies were using that I wasn’t familiar with so that I could ask some good questions. I found myself printing off material to study when I couldn’t be online and hitting the books as well as playing with scripting and other things I hadn’t touched in a while.
And…just like that, I began to remember WHY I’d gone into networking to begin with.
My passion came back. This stuff was FUN, like playing with a big, complicated lego set. Again, I wanted to figure out how all the pieces could fit together and the different things I could build. There were so many new things to learn that would only add to that lego set and make me able to design and build cooler things, whether those things were physical networks, cloud networks or just ways to automate boring, repetitive tasks so that I could spend more time on the interesting stuff. My brain woke up from a long slumber and in the end, I had a few great offers to choose from and I chose the one that most excited me.
I’m not giving up on yoga, but I am leaning fully into my “geekiness.” The fact is…I do love technology and working with it…I just was in a job that wasn’t a good fit for me. Now, in my last week of work at this position before I start my new one, I’ve been given a golden opportunity to do BOTH.
I was asked to teach a once a week PE class at my daughter’s school, teaching the girls a fitness-based yoga class. I was excited to say yes and to volunteer my time for free because this allows me to continue doing both of these things in ways that I love most and to give back to my community. I’ll spend most of my week up to my eyeballs in technology and projects, earning a living to support my family and a couple hours a week doing something that impacts others closer to home. I may also start my weekly women’s yoga class back up.
I can’t think of a better way to find balance and flexibility.