Nothing like getting laid off to spur me into a re-renewed blogging habit. Nearly a month ago, I was informed that my position at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is being eliminated as part of a cost-cutting measure to avoid extreme budget constraints in the next few fiscal years. More than 25 percent of our organization is being let go. I am an alumna of the Center’s master degree programs and a donor. A generous donor. And a good employee to boot. And my job is still being eliminated. I’ve been laid off, or in university terms, I am going through a “reduction in force.” I am grateful that I have three months to figure out what to do next with my professional life.
In his book What Should I Do With My Life?, Po Bronson profiles dozens of individuals who have asked this question, oftentimes during crossroads in their lives. Often making drastic changes. A lawyer becomes a baker. An undecided becomes a Buddhist monk. I read that book and felt uninspired. Of course these folks were able to look deep into their own selves and search their souls. They often had professional degrees or financially supportive families or nothing to lose.
Now here I am, faced with the same question, and late-to-be-realized by me, in a similar position as those profiled in Bronson’s book. I have advanced degrees. I have a spouse with a financially supportive job, and even better, a personally supportive attitude. I have nothing to lose. I can be discerning and demanding and pleasantly capable of not settling for less. I can choose what I want to do with my life.
The possibilities scare me because I might fail. Or I might succeed.