Thursday, January 29, 2009

the stages of professional death



"We can probably complete the review on those contracts by next Thursday."


Palm trees.


"Bill will have the rest of the information in the telephone conference."


Sand.


"How much will we save? Fifty thousand? Sixty?"


Waves.


"Steve? Are you listening?"


It has happened several times this month. I have been deep into a very interesting project, and -- all of a sudden -- I am no longer there.


I am standing on the balcony of a house on the Mexican Pacific coast just as the sun is beginning to set. And I get pulled back to my project.


I know that during the next two months, I am going to experience more and more of these moments. And it bothers me.


My employer is paying me a very good wage to be there all of the time. Maybe this is what it is like to go through the various stages of death. If so, I am still at the bargaining stage.


I will let you know when I get to acceptance. I suspect that stage will occur on the drive to Melaque -- in less than three months.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve,
It's ok, it's natural to day dream of your coming adventure...Don't sweat short changing the company. You seem the type that has given "above and beyond" to your employers over the years. It all evens out in the wash.
Best Regards and Bueno Suerte Senor!
Frank
Detroit, Mich.

Michael Dickson said...

You see this as death? Interesting and telling. I saw the end of my professional life in 1999, such as it was, as resurrection from death, from 30 years in the wilderness.

I think you better stay put.

Babs said...

I'm so excited for you - a year from now you'll be reminiscing and wonder how you worked for so many years - I promise! I loved my business as much as you, I think, and I don't miss it at all...much to everyone's surprise.

Steve Cotton said...

Frank -- I suspect I am going to earn every penny. I have a stack of projects (most have shown up in the last two weeks) that would normally keep me busy for a year. And I am about to get another major one this afternoon. But it will be good to get them out of the way -- and be gone.

Michael -- In a way, it is a death. My 19 years with my current employer constitute a separate life that is just about ended. On 31 March, I will put it in a box and bury it. Then I start another segment in April. I have no intention of staying here. That portion of my life is now on life support -- and the plug is just about to be pulled.

Babs -- I suspect I will not look back very often. And if I have buried this segment of my life, I will probably not be able even to remember enough to write a good post.

Beth said...

Is it the post-modernist or the Boomer in you that allows you to easily compartmentalize your life? When I changed jobs last August, I had to remind a close friend that I was leaving IS, not her. As I read your response to Babs about not looking back and burying this segment of your life, I have to wonder...does that include your friends who will still be here?

1st Mate said...

Steve - Sometimes it's harder to "be here now." Hang in there, amigo, we're all looking forward to your emancipation.

Steve Cotton said...

Beth -- As a recovering anal retentive, I compartmentalize everything -- badly. Activities get buried. My relationships go on.

1st Mate -- I am hanging on -- and the work will keep me occupied by its very volume.

Larry Lambert said...

Steve - I loved my job and truly enjoyed the 60 hour weeks. However, I found that as the time approached I became more relaxed about everything. Work went smoother and there were fewer conflicts. Guess I started the "Mexican mellow" early. And my work product seemed to improve.

In the end the only thing that concerned me was whether or not I could make it without a paycheck. I had run the numbers and knew I could, but the thought of giving up the security blanket of a paycheck still bothered me.

It didn't take long for that single concern to fly out the window. Probably by my second day on the beach with a cold Pacifico, thinking I should have done this a long time ago.

Savor the journey. You've earned it.

Larry Lambert, Mazatlan

Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- Wow. You hit this one right on the head. I have started feeling far more relaxed in my meetings. And I think I am getting more bluntly honest in my advice -- without the political spin.

Even though I ran the numbers a year ago to determine if I could afford to retire, this weekend I started wondering if I could make my reduced income work out. After all, I will be taking about a 60% pay cut.

Then, it occurred to me that I am looking at the wrong end of the equation. I am going to retire on enough income that would still be a very good income in the States. What I was will be gone.

The beach is sounding better every day. Thanks for the encouragement.

Laurie said...

Death? You are sounding depressed a bit lately. Non traditional work, which is sorta what I do, is very rewarding.

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- Not depressed in the least. Portions of our lives must die in order for us to be resurrected into the new lives we will experience. I call it dress rehearsals for the final Big Show.