Referring to my marketing experience in a recent post got me remembering.
The work-life-identity-question I asked myself on June 30 when I submitted my resignation-for-retirement purposes letter: What have I done to myself? …That wasn’t the first time I posed myself that question.
No. The first time I used those non-rhetorical introspective words, I was sitting in a tiny cubicle at the end of a long hallway, feeling quite isolated and alone, smelling the nauseating cigarette smoke emanating from the cubicle behind me, making its way–uninvited–into my cubicle, adding to the internal sensation that a real cloud of doom was engulfing me.
Stream of consciousness by the afternoon of my first day in educational publishing went something like this:
I used to be vital. Used to engage students in thought-provoking conversations and activities that I created. Now, I’m sitting here, all quiet and alone, asking and answering question after question in student and instructor textbooks. Ironic and sad. I never even used those things when I taught… What have I done to myself?
Further irony: as in a partial O’Henry Gift of the Magi twist of fate, unbeknownst to me, at the same time I was regretting my employment decision—to leave teaching for publishing–my husband was turning down a textbook authoring opportunity with a competing publisher because he didn’t wish to jeopardize my standing with my new employer. Since he didn’t want me to feel bad over his lost opportunity, he didn’t tell me.
That’s all I would have needed to hear. Would have given me a sacrificial reason to immediately leave the job I regretted taking. But, not knowing, I toughed it out, until I just couldn’t bear it any longer.
Fortunately, God provided a colleague in that moment who saw I had marketing prowess and arranged for a transfer down one floor to the marketing department–where, I am happy and grateful to say, I flourished.
Marketing was my thing! From writing ad copy, coming up with slogans for products and campaigns, writing scripts for media tools, working with photographers and artists on magazine, catalog, and other promotional pieces, creating and selecting premiums, orchestrating exhibits and various conference social events, meeting authors, presenting in front of state committees, providing professional development workshops for teachers, constructing market research surveys and observing focus groups, these and so many more tasks kept me thoroughly invigorated.
I absolutely loved the challenge of educating and persuading customers–internal and external—to “beat” –outplay, outsmart, out-win—the competition, whether it was other product lines within the company vying for our sales force’s attention, or other brands out in the marketplace. Every day was different and fast-paced—much like teaching, and I got to “play” with ideas in a big-stakes arena. What a joy!!
So now, I find myself trying to apply what I learned in order to “grow where I’m planted,” so to speak. Outside the full-time work arena. Play, now, in a new sandbox, but with some transplanted, familiar sand and toys that I know and love how to use!
And that is why engaging with new friends through blogs and Twitter, I felt energized yesterday as I felt myself putting on my marketing hat again, thinking of how to attract and engage others in the enterprise of making retirement work for us as whole persons.
Please stay tuned. As soon as there is some news to share, some invitation to extend, we will surely let you know. Your input is invaluable. Please participate with us.
Meanwhile, what work energizes you?
Time and energy are limited. What use of them makes you feel fully alive, useful, learning, vital?
Retired or not, I think that’s the payback all humans most desire when they invest their time and energy, don’t you?