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Rachel East

Hey Erin!

This conversation is reminding me of a blog I wrote a while back about ideas for how to take a sabbatical from working, so I thought I’d share:

I TOTALLY understand the catch-22 you’re in; I remember it so well on a personal level. You don’t have the energy for doing the 1 thing that might help you get out of your situation and, therefore, get you more energized! I have a few thoughts about what you shared:

– Don’t be afraid to fire your therapist and find a new one. I’ve found that a lot of therapists (not all, there are plenty of good ones out there) have this approach that’s SO focused on the past, and examining why things happened. That can be a good strategy for some people, but a lot of people (particularly the kind of people I end up meeting) find that, over time, it’s frustrating to keep focusing on what went wrong, and why the wound was created in the first place. At some point, you just want to move forward! And who cares where the wound came from? So if therapy is only bringing you down because you keep focusing on the wound, but making no progress, then please know that you don’t have to do it anymore, and that you could find someone who has a more dual coaching/therapy model (they exist!. Anyone who understands the value of forward movement and actually changing (not just talking about why you haven’t* changed) is a better fit than the person who keeps asking you to explore how things got screwy, but never actually helping you feel better.

– I want to challenge, just a little, the idea that you have NO idea what kind of bridge job might be a better fit for you. You made a non-negotiables list, you explored your Core Desired Feelings. You may not be 100% clear on where you’re going and what you want, but you basically have a Master’s degree in what you DON’T want, and that’s worth something! You may not always be able to do a clear and refined search for what you DO want, but based on your experiences in the working world thus far, plus some of the work you’ve done here, I think you’d do better at you think at recognizing a good fit when you see it.

– When it comes to remote work, Eryn (from this round of the PPVE) had some great ideas and resources in one of her posts. (I can’t recall exactly where she said it, but if you scroll up and click on her name, you can see all the posts she’s ever made and find it that way). There may be some good ideas in there that you haven’t considered!

– I am ALL FOR the idea of people taking breaks from working (hence the blog I shared with you above). Here’s what I suggest: Pretend that you are DEFINITELY going to take a sabbatical from working. Instead of wasting a lot of time saying, “That won’t work,” it can be a really good exercise to make yourself ask, “HOW could I make this work?” If you had to, what would you do? How would you find health insurance? How long would you feel comfortable going before you needed to get a part-time or full-time job? Asking yourself HOW rather than just saying “I can’t” is SO powerful, because it forces us to be creative. And the cool thing is, our brains are naturally wired to be problem-solvers. So if you give it a problem to solve, it’ll be thinking about it non-stop, even when you’re not actively focused on it. So you may stumble upon ideas you’d NEVER have had, if you allow your brain to chew on an “imaginary” problem. (I’d recommend reading that blog first, then doing this experiment). In general, I think you deserve a break. You’re tired, you’re craving it, and you owe it to yourself to at least explore the *possibility* of taking one (even a short one).

Keep us posted, of course! 🙂