T-Minus: Countdown to the End of Career #1

4, 3, 2, 1

This blog is for anyone who has ever thought there must be more to life than this.

My name is Michelle Meagher. I’m almost 30 and I’ve just quit my well-paid and prestigious job at one of the best law firms in the world to “pursue my dreams”. If you’re not quite sure what that means then, full disclosure: nor am I.

If you feel like you’re grinding away at a career that doesn’t excite you, like you’re going through the motions, living for the weekend, or living someone else’s ambitions then I know exactly how you feel, because that’s how I felt until March this year. That was when my brain exploded and I realised that my whole approach to life and career choices, as dutifully applied and religiously followed through school, university and into the working world, was not going to magically bring the life of happiness and contentment I had hoped for. Wow, I couldn’t have been more wrong really.

Long days, late nights, hurried meals at my desk. Cancelling on friends, always at the last minute. A constant feeling of tension and unease. Fast food and lots of caffeine to provide temporary relief. Clipped conversations and multi-tasking (pah! Is there any more laughable a concept?).

At least I was getting loads of recognition for my hard work, right? Appreciation, gratitude, praise. Raise after hard-earned raise. Good job, Michelle. Nice work, Michelle. Hmmm.

Eight years of law school, training, and a series of something’s missing jobs, and then one day – enough. I’m done.

So here’s my game plan: I am ready to live my life on my own terms. That’s it. Simple. Right?

I want to be myself and to work for myself. To take ownership of my output and to take control of my trajectory.

Through this blog I’ll be recording my experience of taking the leap into the unknown — of risking it all. What’s at stake? Money, reputation, the distinct and crushing possibility of public failure. If you want to know what that journey to the other side looks like — what it takes, how it pans out, whether it is really all its cracked up to be — then I welcome you to come along for the ride.

I’ll be writing about starting a business from scratch, because that is exactly what I will be living through. But I’ll also be writing about the process of identifying life goals and trying to actually pursue them, and not letting them languish on a to-do list. How do we make sure that we can make time for hobbies and experiences and new life skills?

I’ll be writing about career decisions and productivity in the broadest sense, and how the received wisdom needs to be updated for the globalised and connected world. Career 2.0, if you like. Everyone has a talent, a capacity, a gift; something that they can uniquely contribute to the world. I think that anyone who has been told that they should accept their lot, settle for what they’ve got and stop dreaming about loving their work because that’s only for people who are lucky or special in some unspecified way, has been robbed of the freedom to make the most of their time on this planet.

And it’s not just careers. Health, family, happiness – the three most important things in life – all three deserve our focussed, undivided, undistracted attention. I’ll be giving them plenty.

I don’t claim to have the answers – yet. This isn’t a self-help blog per se. Instead I’ll be writing from real-life experience; I will be trying it, living it and doing it, and will report back with the results of my experiences — in real time. Day by day I’ll log my exploits, and my progress will be there (or not there) for everyone to see.

Your goals may be completely different to mine. But if you have ever dreamt of making a transition, of taking control of your life and living it how you think it should be lived, then follow my journey to find out what your Great Leap could be like.

Come with me down this barely trodden path. Suspend disbelief, let go of your pre-conceptions, and allow yourself to dream. It’s going to be a rough ride, of that I am certain. But who knows what wonders we’ll find along the way?

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