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The Worst That Could Happen Sounds Better Than The Best That Could Happen

Friday, March 05, 2010

So last night, in an effort to sort of find some inner peace about this ghastly layoff situation, I decided to contemplate the question of "What's the worst that could happen?"

I figured, if I looked 'the worst that could happen' squarely in the eye, and it didn't seem so bad, then what's to be so terrified about? Right? what's the worst that could happen?

For me in my current situation, the worst that could happen is that I run out of money before I find a job and cannot afford my house payment, utilities, groceries and gas. Right?

So...what could I do in that circumstance? segue over to my passion in life - travel. This facet of my life is briefly mentioned in my profile. But as yet I haven't provided much detail. Mostly because there is A LOT of detail. But long story short, I've backpacked all over Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. I've been to Central Asia (Uzbekistan) and Asia - specifically, China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

In addition to the actual 'travel for fun' that you might expect, I have also spent significant amounts of time in 3 countries - Russia (lived and worked there for a year while working for Deloitte & Touche), Japan (before we got acquired by IBM, my job required me to spend about 5 weeks a year in Japan) and Italy (my favorite country, so I've been there often). NONE of these three countries, by the way, are what I would call 'strong English speaking countries'.

Further, alot of the traveling I have done 'for fun' has been backpacking - riding trains, staying in hostels or cheap B&Bs, etc. I am NOT a tour bus traveler, nor am I intimidated in any way by the idea of being in places where no one knows English. Also, I should mention that the bulk of my adventures have been on my own. As I will discuss shortly, I backpacked around Europe and Eastern Europe with a friend about 11 years back...and I took my nephew to Italy last year for his graduation gift. But other than that? It's mostly been on my own. with that backstory in mind, segue again to a friend of mine called Derek. I have known this guy for about 14 years - we backpacked around Europe together in the late 90's in fact. And while I have been busting my arse Workin' For The Man in Corporate America for the last 14 years, getting in my travel in month-long doses once a year, plus travel for work, Derek has been teaching English as a Second Language in Korea, the Czech Republic, and (I think) Thailand or someplace. He doesn't have a dime to his name, but he has had a heck of an adventure. He has been all over the place, livin' that hippy dream (and in answer to your question - yes. I am a closet hippy - the most bohemian accountant that you will EVER encounter, I promise you that!).

And after 14 years Workin' For The Man...what do *I* have to show? A house that is worth less than what I bought it for thanks to the real estate crash (lucky I started out with a lot of equity from my old house, or I'd be upside down in it right now). 401 (k) plans that, despite max contributions on my part over the years, and employer match, are STILL worth less than when President Clinton left office, thanks to two utterly craptacular recessions in the past decade. And other than that? Well, basically, I have acquired a bunch of complete and utter crap. High end consumer electronics. Books and DVDs. Furniture for rooms I barely use. You get the idea. In fact, when it comes right down to it, there are only two things that I REALLY care about, out of all my acquisitions over the years - and they are pictured on my spark page under the headings "Rygel" and "Juliet". I was thinking about this, in a flash of clarity, it came to me:


Here I am, busting my butt trying to find a job in a career I HATE under the false assumption that 'making good money' will provide 'security' (which, by the way, doesn't exist - just look at my 401(k) statements for the past decade) in my 'old age'. But meanwhile, in my MIDDLE age, I am living someone else's life. I am living the life of a stay close to home, vacation at Disney every year and love it, typical IBM party-line career woman, CPA, and overall responsible citizen for 48 weeks a year...just so I can live the life of Hippy Adventure Girl (which is what I really am, at my core) for 4 weeks a year.

It's just dumb.

So today, I made 2 phone calls - one to my friend Derek (who, incredibly, is living in Seattle now, after spending the bulk of the past decade on the road)...and one to my brother-in-law (who is a real estate agent and can get me info on hiring a property manager and on the prospects of renting out my house for an amount that will cover my mortgage payment).

Other than the dogs....the rest I don't care about. Estate sale, put some stuff in storage. Whatever.

Derek didn't pick up (will call me later since it's 3 hours earlier there), but I am hoping he has some contacts overseas I can chat with to learn more about these teaching English gigs. And my brother-in-law said he would check around about the rental market. I am also gonna call up the Peace Corps - maybe go teach accounting to beginning entrepreneurs in Africa for a couple of years or something.

So bottom line?

I have to tell ya....Plan B is sounding A LOT more appealing than Plan A. Maybe it is finally time to shed the disguise of 'Responsible Citizen and Good Little CPA' I've been wearing for 20 years and let out my Inner Hippy. I mean, it's not like I'm gettin' any younger, you know. And we only get one shot at this life.

Wouldn't it be funny if 'the worst thing that could happen' turned out to be 'the best thing that could happen'?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    So many times in life when we look back we discover that "the worst thing that could happen" turned out to be a blessing in disguise - we just couldn't see it at the time. Your attitude makes all the difference. No matter what happens, YOU will be OK.
    4166 days ago
    This is definitely turning lemons into lemonade. I really hope that this all works out the way you envision it. It sounds exactly like what you need.
    4166 days ago
    That sounds like a great plan! Good for you!
    4166 days ago
    the worst thing that could happen is usually the best thing in the long run
    a door closes, a window opens
    I spent my entire career at the USPS and often I would say the best thing that could happen to me if they fired me--talk about a secure job back then. I did end up with my position being eliminated and got an early out so very lucky with that.

    Where ever plan B takes you, I hope you stay with spark!
    4166 days ago
    This thinking sounds full of promise for you!! It is great that you are taking advantage of this situation to reassess your goals and to perhaps make some significant changes in your life. Congratulations!

    emoticon emoticon
    4167 days ago
  • SILVER1369
    When one door closes another always opens.
    4167 days ago
    Interesting idea. I did something similar when I was 43 -- only I sold everything I owned (condo, furniture, consumer electronics), boarded my pets with my mother and moved to London where I had always wanted to live. The reason I sold everything is because if I decided to come back, I didn't want to come back to the same old life. I wanted to force myself to really evaluate what I wanted, etc. Bottom line is, I had my adventure, almost got married there, came back here, met my (now) husband two months later, got married a couple of years later and I will be celebrating my 10 year anniversary with this lovely soul friend this November. And all because I shook myself up a little bit. My husband is an IBMer by the way -- small world!

    I will be so very interested to read how this turns out for you!

    Cheers, Debra
    emoticon emoticon
    4167 days ago
    Yeah, there's that silver lining! How many times have I read about folks who lost a job or had some other extreme life event happen, something that should have shut down their entire lives, and instead it launched them into the best years of their lives. I think I see that happening to you. You now have the freedom to pursue anything you want to pursue, and you need to go for it.
    4167 days ago
    Plan B does sound pretty cool! Maybe losing your job will turn out to be one of the best things that ever happened to you. emoticon
    4167 days ago
    Now THAT's making lemonade! What a great perspective---Go for it---and share your adventures with the rest of us!
    4167 days ago
  • _UMAMI_
    Sounds AWESOME! In fact, I'm jellus---you've reawakened the nomad in me. Love my family, but miss my travelin' days.

    Besides, with the economy the way it is now, would it really hurt to travel until things pick up? (If you even want to return once you've gone, that is.)

    4167 days ago
    Go for it! Sometimes losing a job frees you up to do what you truely want to do.
    Good luck I really hope it works out. I changed careers 4 years ago to work for a non profit and I am so much happier, if a little poorer.
    4167 days ago
  • DS9KIE
    Wow what a cool deal for you. Sometimes life gives you a big kick in the pants. I guess is what you do afterwards that is question. And you are kicking back. So now you can go and be your adventures self. And I bet that is what you hae been needing all along. So get packing.

    yea for you!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    4167 days ago
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