Diverging Diamond

Last week I was presented with two divergent ideas. On Thursday, I was asked this:

What would you think about staying home a bit longer than you initially planned?

And on Friday I received an email that said this:

If you think you might be able to add value in either a short or long term capacity, why don’t you shoot me your resume.

Allow me to explain.

MorelandAltobelli_B10_0124The work world for THE WIFE has turned a bit crazy, to say the least. Her company has undergone some major changes and has new projects and products to work on with a very short turnaround. It’s extremely challenging for the team, but it’s also quite exciting. In short, she’s going to be very busy over the next few weeks, and it looks like there are many more opportunities to work on additional new projects going forward. This is what prompted her to ask me about extending my time at home. She’s too busy to think about much beyond her work life, and having me run the household, plan the food, and run all of the various errands has taken a load off of her. She told me that just coming home without having to think about what we might eat that night is a huge relief to her. So she asked me if I might want to extend my time at home behind my target date of December 31.
My response to the question surprised me. My immediate reaction was to think “NO”, but I didn’t say that. I told her I would need to consider her suggestion. I have built up a plan in my mind about re-entering the work world in some form, re-energized, after January 1. But why is that such an important date? The truth is, it’s not.  Here’s what drove my initial reaction, and what I think about each of the concerns:

  • I have a plan and I need to stick to it. Okay – this is just silly. Just because I set an arbitrary date in my head about when I would go back to work, that doesn’t make it something I’m committed to without any flexibility.
  • I’m worried about being out of work for too long. This one has a little bit more credence to it, but, honestly, what’s the difference between taking a four month and a six month sabbatical? Plus, THE BEARDED VP has been telling me that I need to take at least six months off. Who am I to argue with him?
  • Money. The financial angle is a bit trickier. We’re very good savers, so the financial incentive for me going back to work is just to generate more in savings each month. In other words, pretty much anything I will earn will go into savings and investments. Ultimately, my return to work provides some additional short-term security (two incomes are always better than one), but the primary financial function of me working again is to build our savings to a point where we can both retire full-time for good. We’re well on our way to that goal already, but every extra dollar I contribute to savings shortens both of our careers.
  • Social pressure. 10-15 years ago, I probably would have been bothered by the perception others have of me as “a kept man”, as my father puts it. Now, I actually think it’s kind of cool. Based on what most people say to me, others think it’s cool, too.

So how do I feel about potentially staying home into the new year? I’m probably okay with it. I’d like to see additional sources of income coming in, but I’m working on that through some investment strategies. I’d also like to keep in touch with my various contacts and be aware of any potential job leads, but I may not approach it with quite the same urgency.

Which brings me to the second point: I’ve been asked to send my resume to someone.

Last week I reached out to a business acquaintance who is going through his own set of significant changes at work and reminded him that while I was currently on sabbatical, I have some skills that might be helpful to him if he needed some assistance over the short or long term. He responded by asking me to send him a resume so that he could have it handy to show to others on the management team should a need arise.

I haven’t looked at my resume in over five years, and I haven’t truly used my resume to get a job since 1999, so refreshing my resume is a bit of a daunting task. Resume styles have changed, and there’s a big difference between using a resume to get a skills-based job in your early 30s and presenting a 25-year career summary in your mid-40s. I’ve already been considering talking to a resume service about helping me put my information together (as well as refresh my LinkedIn page), but that gets a bit tricky. Who do I want to be? Am I the financial/operational management guy? Am I the former UNIX sysadmin who wants to focus on technical issues? Do I stress my security background? It all depends on who I’m talking to and what the potential position is. In this case, I can tailor my resume to meet what I think are the needs of the company, but that gets to be more complicated when I need to create something like a LinkedIn profile for myself. Once again, the issue of deciding what it is I want to do going forward still sits there as an unsolved riddle.

So that brings me to today where I’m going to spend some time working on my resume. It’s a perfect situation for me – I need to provide an overview of the skills and areas where I think I might be able to help my business associate, but I’m not actually in the market for a job. I’m just providing a paper view of myself for his company should they decide they need my help; and I’m not concerned about whether that help is for 5, 10, 20, or 40 hours a week. In fact, if they don’t need me at all, that’s fine, too. I’m truly just reaching out because I know what challenges he and his company are facing, and if they can’t handle it all with their current staffing, I think I might be able to help. This seems like something I can tailor a resume to.

That’s the thing about My First Retirement – I can never quite be sure what’s in store from day to day. And that’s what’s making this fun.


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