Part 3: Moving forward

One small step for a man…

It’s time to step out. I’m as ready as I can be. I spent the second month of my employment hiatus in self-assessment, taking stock of my values, priorities, and aspirations. Some of this activity was structured — aptitude tests, exercises from “What Color is Your Parachute”, etc — but I also took time to sit quietly, thinking and writing, assembling a working definition of the job I hope to find.

Some aspects are fundamental. My most memorable experiences have been in environments that are collaborative, smart, flexible, forward-looking, and passionate. I enjoy colleagues who I can learn from, share experiences and knowledge with, discover new ideas with together. I want a role that balances high-level abstract thinking and design with hands-on implementation and execution. I want to build solutions that provide tangible benefit to the human condition. I want a company that respects and trusts its employees and commits to work-life balance.

There are more concrete needs as well: flexible working hours and locations, a reasonable commute, a productive working environment (no open-space offices!), use of cutting edge technology. Some of these are optional; others are deal-breakers. Compensation and benefits are in there as well, but they’re not necessarily the highest priority.

At this point I have no idea if this vision is achievable, much less practicable. I’m fully aware that I’ll like have to make compromises, balance competing needs, but at least I feel like I have a framework for assessment and decision making. And who knows, I’ve already met more than a few people who made similar leaps and found the jobs of their dreams.

So here I go. Time to get out of my head and start engaging. Time to take the first step in my next journey, with faith that it will lead to fulfillment, growth, and joy.