My friend Pat, the photographer, has a plan to quit her current well-paying job as a technical writer and strike out on her own as a professional photographer. I jokingly asked her at lunch the other day when she planned to do this, and she said “On my 50th birthday, I’m going to go into the office and say ‘My photography business is starting to be successful and I’m out of here’.” That’s only a couple of years away, and since Pat is one of the biggest procrastinaters that I know, it may not happen exactly on that schedule, but I admit to more than a little bit of envy that she has a plan for a major career change and has every intention of following through with it.
I have another friend who decided a few years back to throw off her project management role in a management consulting firm, join an aid organization, and since then has spent a year in Uzbekistan (or one of the ‘stans), a year in Burma, and is currently in Sudan. She makes almost nothing but has managed to keep a little condo here in Toronto as a nest egg, which she rents out while she’s gone. This would not be my choice of lifestyle (a little too heavy on guns and malaria for me), but I admire her ability to find something about which she is passionate.
I, on the other hand, am filled with angst over how I’m bored with what I’m doing; I have the financial security to start something new, I just don’t have a clue what that “something” is. I keep falling back on technical ideas, since I’m an engineer and I’ve been working in IT for almost 20 years, but maybe I need to be considering something completely different. There’s a lot of things that I like to do but don’t really do well enough to do them professionally: photography, wine tasting, and cooking. I love to teach (adults, not not kids). I enjoy writing, and have been blogging on four different blogs for the past year. I love travel and would do it all the time if someone else paid the bills, and if it didn’t mean that I’d never see the boyfriend, who is more of a homebody.
I used to have a deep passion for my work, back when I owned a 40-person growing company in the boom times of the late 90’s; in fact, I still have a t-shirt that I bought on the street during that period with the word “passion” silkscreened across the front, although I don’t wear it any more. I’ve lost that passion, and I’m quite desparate to get it back.