Career Break – A Change in Views

Today is a big day, not only because it is the day that I am leaving my job at Salesforce after 7 years, but it is also the day that I am pressing pause on my career.

After 22 years of working in the tech industry, I realised that I had lost the passion for the industry and had lost interest in corporate life. So, it is time to stop and spend some time enjoying life. I don’t know what I want to do next but I am going to spend the next couple of years trying things and going to work out what the next chapter in my life will be.

James finishes high school at the end of the year, and Kath and I had been encouraging him to take a year off to work and travel before going to university. We then started toying with the idea of taking a gap year ourselves. Why wait until we are old and retired to explore the world, when we can do it now, while we can afford it and are still young and fit enough to be adventurous. So that was the plan… a gap year at the end of 2020.

However, a few months ago, there had been rumours at work that some fairly major restructuring of teams and roles were coming. This accelerated my thinking about whether I really wanted to stick around or not. So, when the restructure was officially announced, I was asked what I was going to do. The decision was pretty easy – it was time for me to leave.

I have to say that Salesforce is a great company and the people are awesome. If I hadn’t lost the passion and interest in the industry, I could see myself sticking around. They are a company that truly cares about its employees, its customers and giving back to community.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, I was unable to have a farewell party, but I just had a couple of virtual farewell drinks sessions with various teams. It really made me realise that I have made a lot of close friends and am happy those friendships will continue.

So now I am on my career break. I am not calling it a “gap year” because that implies it is only for a year and that I am going back to something. This is a break in my career and who knows what I will end up doing next. Taking this leap into the unknown is very daunting and exciting at same time. Over the last few months there has been numerous times when I have woken up in the middle of the night and started freaking out about what the future holds. I then have to keep reminding myself that this is part of the adventure. I can always go back to the tech industry and get a job if I need to, but for now I would see that as the last resort.

So, what is the plan?

Well, for the moment everything is a bit up in the air with the current Covid-19 situation. Plus we can’t go on any major adventures for the rest of this year while James is studying. But that is ok because I also always have a lot of projects on the go. I have a whiteboard in my study that is covered in things I have been wanting to do and I plan to start ticking them off. Losing a few kilos and getting a bit fitter is definitely on the cards.

However, come December, when James has finished school and Kath stops working for the year, that is when it all begins. We have nothing booked yet, but here are the things we are thinking about:

  • Christmas/New Years – We plan to stay with my sister and her family in Canada. While we are there we want to go skiing/snowboarding somewhere in British Columbia. Kath hasn’t skied in over 20 years and James and I want to learn how to snowboard.
  • February – We may head over to Lord Howe Island and enjoy some snorkelling, diving and hiking.
  • April – There is planning for a potential Ballooning Nationals to be run in northern Tasmania
  • April-June – This will be our big trip. We plan to spend 3 months or so driving around the western half of the US, visiting all the National Parks we have always wanted to visit and catching up with all the friends we have spread around the place.
  • September-November – I plan to kayak solo down the Murray River from the source (near Mt. Kosciuszko) all the way to the Murray Mouth near Gawler in South Australia. It is about 2,500km and should take a couple of months.

I plan to do lots of blogging, video production and photography of all my adventures (big and small).

But for now, I am about to head off to start thinking about what to do next.

Exciting times ahead.

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