No, I’m Not Retiring. I’m “Repassioning”
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
I’m doing it. I’m taking the plunge.
After thirty-plus years in the corporate world, I’m stepping away from the madness to take up a second career act as an independent author and communications consultant.
No, I’m not “retiring.” I’m “re-passioning.” I’m leaving behind the security of those biweekly paychecks to pursue my personal passions of writing, blogging, and storytelling—all the things I haven’t had much time to focus on because of the job.
Working for a big global company has its perks, but man, is it demanding. The pace of your life is determined by the needs of this beast you work for. You go where it wants you to go, do what it needs you to do, even if it means pulling out that laptop on weekends and vacations. There’s no clocking out, especially with that smartphone at your side constantly filling with emails that need to be responded to.
I’m not complaining. I’m eternally grateful to the companies where I’ve worked for the opportunities they’ve given me to learn, grow, travel and raise my kids with a good standard of living. But the all-consuming nature of the modern corporate workplace has a way of draining your spirit, especially when there’s something else you really want to do.
For me, that’s writing. I’ve always wanted to be an author and novelist. In the early years of working a corporate job, I used to get up early to write for at least an hour before heading out to the office.
But as I moved up the corporate ladder and began managing a global team, those early-morning writing sessions fell away. I still get up at the same godawful early hour, but by seven a.m., I’m online dealing with all the issues that come with managing a global team for a multi-billion-dollar organization.
I want a different pace to my life. I want to be in control of my time and schedule. I want the freedom to explore that whole creative side of me that I haven’t been able to dive into while attending to the needs of a corporate leviathan.
Apparently, I am not alone in making this decision. The Labor Department is reporting that a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs, part of what’s being called “The Great Resignation.”1
The global pandemic is causing many workers to reassess what’s truly important in their lives. Many of them are choosing a different lifestyle. Seeing death and illness all around you has a way of opening your eyes to the fragility and uncertainty of life.
As human beings, we crave certainty. But in reality, security is an illusion. The only certainty in life is change. Whatever we treasure now will one day be taken away, so we better make the most of it now.
Life has given me plenty of reminders of that over the years. I’ve been through cancer, near-death accidents, divorce, job loss, depression, and lots of other tough stuff. And those reminders just keep coming. Over the past two years, I’ve lost my father and a couple of close friends.
Time, not money, is our most precious asset. We only get so many precious moments in this life, and I don’t want to spend any more of my mine tending to the never-ending stream of emails and issues that come with holding down a high-profile management job.
Financially, I’m as prepared as I’m ever going to be. My kids are out of college. I’ve downsized, paid off my debts, invested and saved as best as I was able. It’s now or never.
So what will I be doing with my newfound freedom?
Well, the first thing I’m going to do is take a little adventure. On Wednesday morning, I’m packing my things, putting the dog in the back of the truck, and towing my new 30-foot Keystone Passport trailer to Colorado. I’ll be spending an entire month out there hiking, fishing, fall foliage watching, and of course, writing.
That’s right—an entire month with no work phone, no laptop, no tether. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do since my son Evan moved out west a few years ago. I couldn’t do it while I was working—the job is just too busy. Now I can, and I am.
Call it Jim and Cassie’s Great Adventure. I’ll be sharing updates here and on Instagram, if you care to follow along.
When I come back—well, I’ll figure that out then. I know I’ll be working on promoting my new book, The Long Walk Home, that’s due to come out early next year from Blydyn Square Books. I know I’ll be doing freelance writing and communications consulting on the side. I know I’ll be working furiously to finish the multigenerational family saga I’ve been working on during my spare time.
Beyond that, who knows? In the words of the great Bilbo Baggins, I’m in the mood for an adventure. He made it all the way to Rivendell. Who knows how far I will go?