We all move through transitions at different times in our career. Sometimes you need to just take a break. A friend took this concept to a whole new level.
When a co-worker (age 41) had a heart attack and died at his desk, Judy McCandless (a corporate workaholic) and her husband (a commissioned sales executive) decided to take a career break to travel and seek a more meaningful life. What did they do, how did they do it and what was the outcome? Judy has just published a book about their transition called, Workaholics Adrift: Transformation in the Pacific Islands, at Amazon.com.
In her own words, Judy says, “Our stressful careers had taken a toll, and we sought a simpler life. It began with a six-month, leave of absence sailing our boat from San Francisco to Mexico and back. We loved the lifestyle. We saved, sold our home and three years later, launched a 35-foot yacht that took us 20,000 miles around the Pacific Ocean including a 28-day leg to Polynesia.”
“The fellowship of other ‘Yachtie’ sailors provided ready assistance and local knowledge, like the pioneer settlers in our old west. Learning self-sufficiency brought self-confidence. Finding supplies in remote areas necessitated becoming immersed in local customs. We slowed down to five mph. I became able to sit still and visit with strangers for an hour, then three; and I came to notice our similarities rather than differences. Islanders and Expats taught me compassion. In Fiji I saved a man’s life with first aid.”
“We spent two amazing years traveling from San Francisco to Australia. We left the boat and flew back to Silicon Valley to work for a year before we continued cruising.
During our years in the South Pacific, I experienced nature’s glory and fury, cultural, marital and medical clashes. Our marriage was strengthened by mutual respect in overcoming these challenges together.”
“In Guam I found work as a subcontract administrator for an Australian construction company while we lived aboard our boat for 3 years. We returned stateside in our early 50’s to work and save for the future, but a crisis curtailed all retirement plans.”
“As a result of these experiences, I encourage others to travel while you are able, but don’t wait for retirement. Take a career break for a month or a year to immerse yourself in something else that interests you. It will balance and broaden your life significantly.”
I’m not suggesting that Judy’s transition is for everyone. But it does show that you can make changes in your life for a new perspective about priorities, new insights into personal values, and serve as a launch pad for more compatible goals. To learn more about her book or with questions, contact Judy at: WorkaholicsAdrift@gmailcom.
Transitions can take many forms. Maybe it’s time to think about your career and direction.
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