Saying goodbye to a 25+ year career and giving myself permission to follow my curiosity.
Jenna, thanks for sharing your story and vulnerability. This is a timely piece for me as I am retiring from the Navy this coming summer after 24 years. It is the only career I have known as an adult. My wife and I had a long discussion about what comes next and I am definitely not in a rush to go back to work after taking off the uniform. I want to give myself the freedom to follow my own curiosity and pursue work that aligns with my passions rather than just seeking another paycheck. We will see how it goes!
Thank you for sharing this. So many parallels with my own journey, including the regrets I've had to let go of since climbing off the career treadmill.
I wish creative fulfillment for us both.
Wishing you much joy and contentment in the time ahead. I loved reading this.
Thank you for sharing - I found your words inspiring. As a clinical psychologist who’s been in private practice for nearly 29 years I am tired and ready for something new. The financial side of things is what keeps me in the profession but I’m trying to segue into something more sustainable and enjoyable.
The very best of luck to you Jenna, a change well deserved and earned. I too am in a career which has served me well, provided a living for my family and allowed us a comfortable albeit modest lifestyle, however as you said I don't "love" it, and I'm sometimes envious of those who seem to be exactly where they are meant to be in life. I'll keep going for another while! but would like to some day make the change you are making now. Keep us updated :-)
I loved reading this and appreciate your journey. I remember well those old website coding days (yet ANOTHER thing we have in common). I just wrote about going through old tax returns, and I came across papers from that time, and was struck by the arc from there to here. I also identify with needing a year or more for a change of this magnitude to settle. These last couple years I’ve struggled to write in ways I never have before and had to ask myself, am I still a writer? Scary to come face-to-face with that question. Things have settled, and the answer is, yes, I’m still a writer, but my relationship to writing has completely changed. I have also (begrudgingly) come to accept a level of uncertainty I was unwilling to face before.
This resonates so much, Jenna. Thank you for sharing. We need to normalize the idea of repotting our careers, especially as our life expectancy gets longer. I shared my own perspective on repotting here - check it out, if you'd like: https://abbydavisson.substack.com/p/the-long-term-benefits-of-repotting
Jenna I used to read your blog and lost track of you at some point and am so happy to find you here. I’m facing a lot of these same questions; I have about 19 months until my son graduates from college so am in this weird in between area but I’m ready to let go of all of this. It’s amazing though how a part of me is desperate to hold on to what we’re “supposed” to want and do, even though I never wanted any of it in the first place.
I’m glad that you had the time this year and a longer off ramp to consider all this. This really resonated. I’ve been thinking a lot about my career too—what constitutes a “good career”, the sacrifices, feeling selfish at times, and where to go from here that would leave me feeling more engaged and fulfilled.
I relate to so much of this. The career in tech - programming for me - that while interesting and challenging has never been something I love. Being the breadwinner. Watching others (all men) take promotions while I tried to balance motherhood with work. Feeling like I’m aging out of the industry now that I’m turning the corner towards late 40s. I am often weighed down by own practicality. I'm also a planner. Anyway! I'm not really going anywhere with this. It is nice to know I'm not alone in these feelings. Best of luck in your next adventure!
I was a homeschooling stay-at-home parent for 25 years before my younger kids recently went off to college. My husband was the breadwinner, and I stayed at home in part because my area didn’t have jobs for me and also because my husband spent weeks and sometimes months overseas at a time. So I didn’t have a career outside of the home, but I really related to the feelings you describe in your essay. My days sometimes feel very strange. I had intended to focus on my self-publishing business but I’m finding that I’m kind of tired and unfocused much of the time. I love your newsletters and can’t wait to hear more about how you’re doing on this journey.
Thank you Jenna, for sharing your incredibly honest and introspective journey over the past year. It takes a deep understanding of oneself and courage to embrace change. I was once at this crossroad and I can understand your decision to follow your curiosity and interests even in the face of uncertainty. As you embark on this new chapter, I wish you continued calm, courage, and the fulfillment that comes from pursuing your passions.
My mom retired this year from a career she worked in her entire life. It's a career she never truly loved but put up with, but it provided for our family, put me through college, and provided the life she wanted for herself now. Since her retirement, she's been traveling around, spending more time with family and friends, and I can see she's starting to live her second life now.
I’m proud of you, Jenna. Keep following that voice -- it’s speaking sharp ideas congrats on this transition and the fruitful moments that will follow.