Stopping the Clock

This past Friday was my last day at work. I decided to leave my job without another one lined up, and with a tentative plan to remain out of the earning sphere for the rest of 2015.

I have spent the past 13 years building a career as a strategy consultant and consumer researcher, and a successful one at that, when success is defined by promotions, salary milestones, the "bigness" and "high-powered-ness" of the employers on my resume and the clients I have served (and the "perks" that can accompany those types of businesses), and my degree of impact on several well-known consumer brands in the form of marketplace communication and product innovation. But my career success has come with a certain (high) degree of stress and sacrifice in other areas of my life that I'm not sure I see myself maintaining for the rest of my working days.  And, there are other definitions of success that I'd like to explore with more depth than I have so far.

Therefore, I'm hitting the pause button to reassess my career path, personal values, motivators and interests and to determine types of contributions I am best equipped to make to the world. 

I am a plodder and a thinker (an over-thinker extraordinaire, if I'm honest), and frankly, a late bloomer in every sense of the word. I need this halt. I need this drastic measure. I have worked extremely hard, I have saved like crazy, and I have the incredible support of my husband (and yes, also an unearned degree of privilege) to be able to take this professional time out with limited concern for any personal financial repercussions.

I appreciate all of the encouragement and positive reactions that have come my way since sharing my decision with friends, family, mentors and colleagues. I expected to be on the receiving end of some negative judgment for my decision, which probably says something more about my insecurities than anything, and I am thankful that has not been the case.

My intention is to document my experience as it unfolds, and if it feels right, I'll share updates here on my little blog. I don't know how this experiment in focused self-discovery is going to shake out, but I'm certain it will come with a mix of highs and lows, adventure and monotony, and a bunch of other dichotomies and duality that may or may not be interesting to anyone else but me. Please check in with me (directly or through the blog) if you're so inclined, and I promise to do the same.

Here we go!