Two years now into my retirement, I’m learning something about passions and work life. For most of my time in the corporate working world, I liked my job, but it was always a leap away from what my heart yearned to do. Now that I’m retired, I’m completely living my dream and experiencing happiness that I never realized while I was working. My inquiring mind steps in to explore what that’s all about.
There are people in this world who are fortunate enough to be in this place during their earning years. And there are a good many of us who set our passions aside in favor of having a place to live, eat, and clothes to wear because our passions don’t quite pay the bills. I honor those of you who have found the sweet spot between your earnings and your passion. During my earning years, I didn’t know how to do that. I was so afraid to give it time to seed and grow that I paid the bills and back-burned my passions.
I experimented with weaving my passions creatively into my work life, but it was never the same. During the 40+ hours a week I spent working, I put my heart and soul into it. Now though, in my ‘happy place’ and retired after 44 years in the workforce, living my dream, I wonder how to help people get here sooner than I did. I’m sure there are countless people in the world wondering about the same thing, perhaps from different perspectives.
I wanted to put a spotlight on this for those of you who are still in the ‘earning’ part of your lives. If you are a person who wants to learn from experience, hear this: never abandon your heart! I’m inviting you to be sure there is a balance between living comfortably and living from your soul. The peace that comes from that is indescribable! May your passions live comfortably with your work – this is my wish for you!
Every time I walk into a project meeting, I can already sense the thick atmosphere of tension wrapping around me like a woolen scarf on a hot day—uncomfortable, stifling. She dominates the room, her presence sprawling like an untamed vine, obstructing any room for others to breathe. Her voice, unyielding and resolute, dictates the tempo of the discussion, the pulse of the project, and sets an unnerving rhythm that we are all forced to dance to.
Her opinions descend like a torrential downpour, drowning out alternative viewpoints, eroding the fertile soil where creativity and collaboration might otherwise flourish. Working with her feels like navigating through a storm without a compass—disorienting, treacherous. The emails from her are like sudden lightning flashes—urgent, forceful, blinding in their intensity. Her forcefulness doesn’t just impact the quality of the project; it seeps into the very essence of my workday, corroding my enthusiasm, tarnishing my sense of professional self-worth.
But every so often, a crack appears in her formidable facade. She’ll pause, listen, and surprisingly, validate my input. In those brief moments, it’s as if a warm ray of sunshine manages to pierce through an overcast sky. I feel a flicker of acknowledgment, a fleeting respite that feels disproportionately euphoric in the otherwise arduous climate of our team dynamics.
Balancing this convoluted relationship with the expectations from upper management feels like walking a tightrope over a pit of snapping crocodiles. One misstep could be disastrous. I’m cornered into an emotional balancing act, struggling to align her overbearing demeanor with the sanitized, by-the-book directives trickling down from our corporate overlords. It’s a constant calculus between maintaining my personal integrity and ensuring the quality of the project. It feels like trying to diffuse a ticking time bomb, each wire I cut representing a compromise either to my values or to the project’s success.
It’s emotionally exhausting, this perpetual high-stakes game. But it’s also my reality—a jigsaw puzzle of professional ambition, personal integrity, and interpersonal complexity. Every day, I cobble together a semblance of balance, hoping the final picture will make all the struggle worth it.