Disability leave caused one woman to re-evaluate her career

A couple of months ago I met a young woman at a party. She’d been out on disability for most of the year, and was slowly healing from surgery for something I couldn’t even wrap my mind around. She was still feeling quite tender, but was out with her husband to celebrate the birthday of a mutual friend. I told her about Women, Work and Autoimmune Disease, and a few weeks after we met she contacted me.

We talked about her situation, and this overwhelming feeling she had that she didn’t want to return to her job. Though she had the skill set (she does IT work for one of the big consulting firms), she was not excited about returning to “the job,” and to the high-stress environment. But, as many people are when they’ve been on a particular track, she was uncertain about her ability to do anything else.

To compound her dilemma, she’s here in a work visa (from Canada) and even though she’s married to a U.S. citizen, any employer who would hire her would have to sponsor her, which means that they have to bring her on board for her special skill set. So, she’s got some extra constraints. But that didn’t stop her from dreaming. I loved her attitude.

I recommended 2 books that really helped me figure out what I really wanted to do with my life and for work, Do What You Are by Paul and Barbara Tieger, and How to Find the Work you Love by Laurence Boldt. About a week later, I received the following email (edited for relevance):

I  had a great week…  You are right I’m still coming to an ending and can’t wait for the beginning of exciting new times.  After we spoke last week I went to the small library near my home.  In the library there is a second hand bookstore that I checked out.  It was probably my third time there and they were looking for some volunteers to work 2 hours on one day a week.  So I signed up and did some training last week.  It’s really not very hard or super stressful and the people are very nice.  Plus it gets me out of the house into a new environment.

I did plan to look for the books you suggested in the library but got into the training at the bookstore first.  Then as I was helping to shelve some books these 2 books were staring me in the face… It was like it was meant to be and you can’t beat the prices for the second hand books which is great for us right now.  I was so into the training and helping out and wasn’t even thinking about the books at the time.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the Boldt book!!!! It’s so applicable and I feel like he’s really talking to me since I can relate to everything he mentions or even what the greats over time have known. It helps me to feel more hopeful about the future.  But at the same time I’m really looking forward to the future and working towards a new type of work and a new me!

Thanks again and have a fantastico week!

Can you feel her the shift in her outlook? Though it may take her a while to figure things out, especially with her potential visa constraints, I have no doubt she will. If you were talking to her, what would you tell her? Do you have resources that have helped you through similar transitions?