Last week I went on a job interview. I am not out of work, I am not even unhappy at work. I happen to be one of those fortunate people who work in a field that really aligns with a core value of mine. Why was I interviewing? Funny, that is the question that kept popping in my head during the interview. In fact when asked, “why do you want to leave your current job?” I said, “to be honest, I am not sure I do.”
Since I am trying to be more intentional and more present, I really had to sit with this the rest of the day. Why did I need to say yes when I was called about this job? There is the obvious, it is flattering, when you are skilled enough in your field that others pursue you. I have had that happen before and usually I decline. This time when I really thought about it, I had to admit that at 48 I may have succumbed to a little peer pressure. I don’t mean the kind like when we are in high school and we whip out our first fake ID to be accepted by our cooler friends…just me? I mean I have been with my utility for 16 years. That kind of loyalty or (sloth and lack of ambition) as it is now seen can be a career killer. Also I rose pretty quickly through the organization my first 8 years, but have been in my current upper management position for the last 8 years. According to everyone I see who keep asking me “what next? What’s your next move?” I am supposed to be seeking my next goal. I went in search of that answer.
Only what I found out is I already had the answer. It is just not the traditional upward mobility, fueled with unmatched ambition answer. The answer is “this.” I have reached the place I always wanted to go, and I am happy here. We are financially stable, all our needs are more than met. We have another 8 years at our current positions when we can leave with a substantial retirement income and savings and move from the south to the Pacific Northwest and downsize our life’s dream. I have earned tons of leave so I can take time off with my husband and we can enjoy the hobbies we love. I have time to volunteer with causes I care about: the water profession, a running coach for my husband’s disadvantaged students, and at a no-kill cat shelter. I have banked enough sick leave that I could take a year off with pay to take care of my mother if I had to.
My career itself is enormously rewarding. I protect the environment, help our citizens and community. I have the trust and respect of our leaders and our community. I have decision making autonomy and endless variety in my daily tasks. I get to use my strongest skills and because I have mastered my job, I get to mentor others and travel around the state and country teaching and learning from others. I remembered how grateful and content I am for all of that sitting across from a very nice General Manager of a very good company who will find the right person for them. It just won’t be me. I am not sure if I would have been aware enough to hear my soul so clearly; if I had not started down this path to living more mindfully and quieting my mind through meditation and simplifying.