Monday, December 13, 2010

Let's Call it Sabbatical

One of the severance benefits offered by my former employer is the services of an outplacement firm for six months. Although I was lukewarm, at best, about getting a new job, especially a demanding one within my former career, I thought it couldn't hurt to learn more about job-hunting and, if I was lucky, finally figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I went over and met with my career counselor a few weeks ago. He was a middle-aged guy a year or two younger than me who had worked in HR at the firm I'd recently been booted from. As such, he understands their unusual corporate culture. Since I don't plan to return there, that is of limited value, but at the very least he has some insight into the kind of work environment I'd experienced over the last 7 years.

During our meeting, I talked about my desire not to return to the kind of demanding job I'd been in. It created work/life conflicts that were stressful and increasingly unmanageable for me. And the job didn't offer any personal or professional growth. That I was thinking about retiring (as in never holding another job) or potentially finding just a "job" rather than getting back into my career work.

So we agreed to work together to see what path might work best for me.

In the meantime, he suggested I call my current state "on sabbatical" rather than "retired." Job hunting in the current day is largely managed through networking. If I tell my large network of former colleagues that I'm retired, they probably won't think of me if a good opportunity comes up. When he suggested it, I thought it was actually a perfect fit for my current state, since I am taking a hiatus from work. Who knows where I'll be at this time next year ... but for now, I'm taking a break.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What a Waste!

Yesterday in our town, a young man who died in Afghanistan was buried. He was a Lieutenant in the Army and had only been in Afghanistan for a month. His death and funeral got a lot of news coverage on the Boston news stations so we were aware of his death even though we didn't know him or anyone in his family. By accident, Skip happened upon the local cable station live feed of his funeral yesterday and we watched quite a bit of it. Apparently, almost 1500 people including the Governor were in attendance.

Of course, at a funeral, the deceased's good points get the most attention, as is only right. But this young man must have been quite a wonderful person, based on the stories and reminiscences related during the service. And, the turnout spoke volumes. There are about 18,000 people in this town, so almost 10% of the population (assuming most attendees were from here) attended the funeral.

I don't want to belittle the contributions this young man made to the U.S. And, to the contributions made by other service men and women who have died in service to the country. But, honestly, all I can think of is what a waste his death was; and the wastefulness of other deaths in wars. 

What if they gave a war and nobody came?