Hanging with friends amongst the Nerd Herd this week, i had a chance to contemplate mid-career directional changes – both voluntary and involuntary. Slamming beer with two of my all time favorite drunken yabs professional colleagues, we swapped our stories…
JS, all of 47 years old, is recovering from a near-fatal stroke and was recounting his close brush with the big dirt nap. JP continues to work and drink himself to death at the helm of his scrappin’ high tech start up. We joke about the difficulties of the economy, and about being fitted for our “paper hats” so we can retrain to serve burgers at McD’s when it all collapses.
We’re burnt out, frustrated, and getting tired of being in the hamster wheel. As i stumbled back to my hotel room, i was reminded of a favorite scene from Annie Hall.
Doctor in Brooklyn: Why are you depressed, Alvy?
Alvy’s Mom: Tell Dr. Flicker.
[Young Alvy sits, his head down – his mother answers for him]
Alvy’s Mom: It’s something he read.
Doctor in Brooklyn: Something he read, huh?
Alvy at 9: [his head still down] The universe is expanding.
Doctor in Brooklyn: The universe is expanding?
Alvy at 9: Well, the universe is everything, and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything!
Alvy’s Mom: What is that your business?
[she turns back to the doctor]
Alvy’s Mom: He stopped doing his homework!
Alvy at 9: What’s the point?
Alvy’s Mom: What has the universe got to do with it? You’re here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding!
Doctor in Brooklyn: It won’t be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we’ve gotta try to enjoy ourselves while we’re here!
Seriously. What’s the point? i know… we’re lucky to be debating optional career change. Too many folks are facing that involuntarily. But i’m done. i just want to tend bar. That’s it. Pour drinks. Laugh along with drunks. Wipe glasses dry with ratty bar towels. Go home. Repeat the next day.
As i prepare to meet with my accountant on Friday to get the taxes filed, we’re going to have a conversation about “what would it take for me to walk away?”. i really need to figure out how much i need to do what i want to do. And get outta the wheel…