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Life Without Gravity

A blog chronicling the up's and down's, trials and tribulations, fear and happiness of moving your life from the expected 9-to-5 job to a life of consulting. While it is a big and often scary decision, it is a time of discovery, rejuvenation and introspection that will help you remember who you are and who you were supposed to be. It's a wonderful journey.

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Who Am I Without My Workplace?

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My oldest sister begins every Monday morning in the same way. On her Facebook page, she posts, “Ugh.” Simply that one word – “ugh.” For years I thought, “how sad that she feels that way.” I worried over her sadness about her job and how each week Monday set a tone that could not be positive.

Then I realized, that I too was seeking out that "ugh" every Monday. My life had become mechanical. My joy left my profession. My recent transition to consulting has changed my perspective. I am the mother of three wonderful children. A loyal and dedicated wife to a man who helps me weather all of life’s surprises and challenges. A daughter and sister with a pretty unique and interesting family. I am thinking I have a lot going for me. Yet I defined myself by the thoughts and opinions of my work world – a world that never saw me as a wife, mother, sister, daughter or friend. It saw me as part of a machine. So, I dismantled the machine!

It’s funny though that in these first few days, I am just now realizing that when I meet people, I am no longer defined by my institution. For 25 years I was the public relations and marketing leader of a university and that meant I was their chief cheerleader. The line between work and play was blurry – I talked incessantly about why I was so proud to be affiliated with my workplace. I wore licensed t-shirts and sweatshirts and decorated my car with the university name. And now, my work is still fascinating, but it is a part of me – not all of me. 
So I as I sit here wearing a t-shirt from one of those places, I still label myself part of that old family. But I realize I am also giving myself some self counseling on identity management. I am now Luanne Lawrence, a person and a consultant. It seems so obvious, but I am actually weaning myself off being an identity junkie addicted to my workplace affiliation. An unexpected consequence to my new self-employed life.

I am sure that I will wean myself off this tether very soon. If I don’t, I think I will just go ahead and order a personal window decal with my new business name on it. It might the interim step I need.