This time last year I was on furlough due to COVID. Little did I know that in a few weeks I would receive an offer I couldn’t refuse that would lead me down a different path and provide some much needed down time. While on furlough, I binge-watched Schitt’s Creek, bought some rugs for my home and nursed a sourdough starter into being. By the time my two week furlough was over, my house looked pretty darn good. I had gained at least five pounds, and I had some mandatory rest while the world was on lockdown. I was not one of those people who learned a foreign language, got another certification or otherwise did something productive with their time. I guess I’m just not the type. When I’m offered some time off, I like to rest.
I got an email a couple of weeks ago from a local outdoors outfitter where I have taught backpacking cooking classes and bought most of my camping and hiking supplies the last five years. The owner of the store had three job openings and wanted to know if I knew anyone that might be interested. “I’m not even sure you are still in the area, but maybe you know someone,” she asked in her note. I read through them with interest but then thought better of it. I didn’t really want to work the long hours of retail, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to stay in this area. I decided to think about it and respond later. Surely I knew someone who might like that kind of thing.
I was out walking by Lake Michigan two days later, and that email crossed my mind. “I thought you wanted to do something different,” a quiet voice whispered in my ear. It got my attention. “I did say that,” I replied. And fear of doing something different started to bubble up. I’ve been in the same field for decades. While I’ve been considered for a number of corporate roles in the last few months, I really wasn’t excited about any of them. I’d do it if I had to, and I’d do fine, but I felt like a lamb being led to slaughter. I have longed to do something different for a very long time. And this time I’m in a situation where I can actually consider it. I compared the fear of doing something different with the fear of not making a change. One felt like a leap forward, and the other felt like a huge loss.
I responded to their email and said I’d just like to meet with them to ask some questions about the roles they had open. But when I got there, they had a different leadership role in mind for me. The longer we talked, but the more excited I got about the “something different” they were offering. The best part was they were super excited that I was interested. They offered an Operations Manager role to me that evening, and I accepted the next morning. I am learning a whole new industry and work for a wonderful company called Wanderlust Outfitters. I have long day-dreamed about a job in the outdoors industry but I never would have thought I had a shot.
I’ve been off work for ten months considering my next move. With one potential role, I waited three and a half months for them to decide to offer it to somebody else. I’ve considered moving. I’ve been heartbroken, and I’ve been excited about opportunities. I’ve considered retiring. I’ve interviewed for a dozen different roles, many of which I turned down due to lack of interest. And it all ended in a week’s time with very little effort on my part. A door opened for me at just the right time, and I walked through it. It was as easy as pie.
I’m a beginner again. I’m trying to learn a new role and a new business. My morning routine is a bit rusty. How did I ever exercise, pack lunch and get my animals situated before 8 AM? Today is the first Sunday of my first weekend of being back at work. While I was “retired” Sunday was just another day in a long string of days that looked very much the same. But today I’ve been luxuriating in the knowledge that tomorrow won’t be the same as today. It will be different. And Monday won’t be the same as the hundreds of Mondays I’ve tackled in corporate offices. It will be different. Yes, I did say I wanted something different. Dreams do come true.