Tag Archives: job loss

No Clear Path Forward

I’ve learned over the past four years that the word, ‘transition,’ is a loaded term. We use it to describe everything from the vital first efforts of a new presidential administration, a.k.a. a transition team, to the heavily scrutinized transition of celeb, actress and athlete Caitlyn Jenner.  What does transition mean for you?

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Away and Forward

“Thank you for being honest,” said a woman who introduced herself to me Thursday after a speaking event I did with Women Unlimited.  What struck me in our quick conversation was our agreement – both hers and mine – of how unusual it is for any of us to be so transparent.  She sought me out after a story I told about a moment that I remember vividly. I was sitting in my boss’s staff meeting, an all-day affair attended by the top brass of a Fortune 500. I had worked tirelessly for decades for a seat at this table. This moment is so memorable and bracing because I recall sitting there saying to myself, “you’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve worked this hard…for this?!!? There must be something more.” Continue reading

Terrible, Awful, No Good Barriers

It has been a long time since I fought back tears to get through a day. Have you ever had one of those days? Or weeks? It seems as if I am holding on by my finger nails of late. What could possibly be going on? And more importantly, why is this happening now?

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Choices Beyond Expectations

“You are an ever-moving mark,” said Jessica Donohue at the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA’s Leading Women Awards last week.  Ms. Donohue, who was recognized for her achievements as EVP of State Street, stood out from among the other awardees for her honesty and humility.  She  talked about a label ascribed to her as a young person, ADHD. While it has traveled with her, her vitality is outside of it. She was clear in her thinking about labels or the expectations that go along with them. “Don’t box me in. Encourage me to be more.  Learn more. Resist naming – everywhere.” Continue reading

Resolutions

“Can I finally start?”  It was a question that popped into my head unwittingly as I sat in my office last week.  I was trying to shake off the exhaustion from the holidays and begin an avalanche of work that I’d queued up for the New Year.  Start what?   In acknowledging the question, I felt as if I was on the edge of tears.  It took only an instant for this feeling to pass.  Even so I realized I’d crossed an important milestone for my transition, one that makes me think about New Year’s Resolutions and new beginnings a little differently. Continue reading

Moving Forward

“Push off into the middle of the river,” intones a line from a poem featured in Hopi Elder Speaks.  A friend sent it to me.  She is a powerful force whom I’ve met through my work with women and transition.  An octogenarian, she leads a global not-for-profit, participates in several wisdom networks and is in a constant state of organizational prep for events, issues and causes that are important to her.  I met with her to gain some knowledge about how to architect what today looks like an impossible task.  My quest?  I’d like to educate women everywhere about the importance of transitioning.  My new friend gave me volumes of contacts and helpful specifics.  But she also gave me something more important.  The courage to keep going. Continue reading

Unlived Lives

This couldn’t possibly be all there is.   It was a sentiment I used to describe the work world I inhabited prior to my transition.  I grappled with the sentiment as I faced what I now describe as my unraveling.   This inelegant moment occurred when I hit the pause button on a more than twenty-year six-day-a-week commitment to my career.  I recall this moment every time someone asks me what inspired me to write Women & Transition: Reinventing Work and Life.  How can I describe that moment?  I’d spent years rising – achieving – Harvard MBA, start-up ceo, Fortune 500 c-suite insider.  But the overwhelming sentiment I had at the time was – this is it? 

My pause wasn’t a retreat.  It was a conscious act and a belief that something MORE was possible.   I found that the top of the corporate hierarchy world wasn’t enough to engage ME.   For me it had to have bigger meaning – a deeper connection to who I was.   But what – exactly?

 

Transition's Positive Attributes from Rossetti's Research

Transition’s Positive Sentiments taken from Linda’s upcoming book

I often struggle with how to describe that moment.  The goal or work image that had captivated so much of my attention for decades was ringing hollow.   This realization occurred in parallel to the exploding demands of my personal life.  I’d had two children right around my 40th birthday.   By 45 I was at this intersection…wondering.

Thankfully I had the presence of mind to do two things:  I reached out to women and I really listened to what they were saying.   What I heard captivated my soul.

One thing I heard was a commonality of experiences among these women despite the differences they voiced.   They talked about welcoming another child, or remarriage, or divorce, or job loss or career change or going back to school or an empty nest or a geographic move.  And on and on. What fascinated me was how readily these women truncated their experiences into buckets.  Creating walls.

As I listened I heard something else entirely.  I heard common patterns across all of these events.  Few of us – including myself at that moment – knew that each of these events had the potential to initiate a transition.   I had a growing suspicion that we were all missing something important…..

Last Thursday I spent an hour with a dozen women.  I talked about my upcoming book but more importantly I shared with them some basics about transition.  A framework.  Some vocabulary.  A process.  Stories from other women.  This primer offered them a lens into a new way of thinking about the events that shape their adult lives.  Instead of feelings of failure or self-doubt or inadequacy that too often accompany these events these women immediately saw how this knowledge made room for inspiration and empowerment and clarity.  What is the old adage?  With knowledge, power.

One woman came up to me and hugged me after the presentation.  She was thoroughly engaged with my message and its promise for her and for all women.  I was so thankful for her kindness.

An understanding of transition – at its best – can give us the sight lines into the unknown and the confidence to pursue the lives we only dare imagine.

Can transition be the key to exploring what MORE there is for you?

 

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Distance versus Denial

Last week I was struck by a quick comment made by Joyce, a mid-forties marketing czar and parent.  She’d lost her job just prior to year-end 2014.   A mutual friend asked if I would have coffee with her.  “I’m ready,” she said as we settled into our seats at roast, our local Starbucks alternative.  She wanted to initiate a job search.  There was something else I heard – her tone and demeanor didn’t quite match.  “I put all that stuff behind me,” she said.  As if saying, ‘isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?’   Continue reading