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One Year Anniversary

Updated: Feb 26

Today marks my one-year anniversary of leaving the corporate world.  What I experienced in the last 12 months is not what I expected. Luckily, I didn’t go stir crazy, which was a genuine fear.  I traveled, rode my bike, and hit the gym. I did more hiking and played less golf than anticipated. We spent quality time with our adult children. 

 

Cooking was primarily my job.  That was a point of contention, as I would happily go to the store in the afternoon and buy the food for dinner, selecting the meal based on what felt good in the moment.  It was like the food chose itself.  This drove my wife insane because I only bought the food for the day, instead of purchasing enough for the week.  In spite of her objections, my approach didn’t change much. 

 

I read more than usual, started a website, and began writing a blog at ANDnotOR.info.  This was totally unexpected, as I am not a strong writer.  My writing focused on my passion for renewable energy, mostly hydrogen, and what I refer to as the Great Energy Transition.  This allowed me to stay professionally active and keep my nose in the game, even though I was not tied to a regular nine to five. 

 

This is the advice I would give to anyone taking a similar step and leaving the corporate world:

 

Plan your day.  My family makes fun of me because everything goes into my calendar regardless of its importance.  A typical day might have two or three mundane entries like Workout or Go to UPS Store.  If it’s not written down, it will not get done. I find that most days I’m busy but don’t really accomplish much, and that is fine.  

 

Plan your year. My calendar is already populated with trips, events, and goals throughout 2024.  Again, if it’s not written down, it will not happen.  Book the reservation even if you do not have the finer points worked out yet.  I did that for a trip to New Mexico this past October.  Last winter, I booked the hotel even though we had no agenda for the trip and knew almost nothing about Albuquerque.  We did not schedule flights until the summer. Once the hotel was in my calendar, the trip was solid in my mind. 

 

Reconnect with old friends.  During our travels, we were able to spend time with some old buddies, and I reconnected with a college roommate.  I had not seen some of these people in thirty years.  Life in your thirties and forties can be a bit of a blur with kids and job responsibilities.  Once the kids get older, take advantage of your time and reconnect with friends of youth.  This is truly good for the soul.

 

Maintain contact with your work friends.  You have a unique connection and never know where those relationships will take you. It’s not that you can’t move on from your previous job.  Instead, maintaining those associations keeps you sharp and helps to stay relevant, which leads into my next point.

 

Stay relevant.  I became more active on LinkedIn, and the results surprised me.  I met so many people and have been introduced to new technologies that I never would have known simply because I put myself out there and shared pertinent information. 

 

Read about your interests.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, an article, a blog post, or anything else.  Stay updated on the latest trends. This promotes personal growth and increases your value.  Right now, I’m reading a book on the electrical grid, and it is changing the way I view renewable energy, like solar and wind, and how they fit with traditional power sources, such as nuclear and natural gas.  My favorite book of 2023 was Into the Wild, which I started during a trip to Alaska.  It motivated me to hike Old Rag with my son in my home state of Virginia.

 

Be accessible.  Take every call, respond to every email and DM. Opportunities may arise through new connections and old acquaintances. 

 

Pivot when it feels right.  Be prepared to scrap the outline and rewrite the strategy. As a line from the Netflix series House of Cards advises, “If you don’t like the way the table is set, then turn the table over.” 

 

Continuously reinvent yourself until discovering what suites you best.  This is an exciting time to learn new skills and visit exotic places.  But you have to actively pursue these endeavors.  It is very easy to fall into the trap of complacency.  No one will shape your experiences except you. 




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