Right Now with Mario Smith (LinkedIn/Twitter)
What I’m reading: The back of a cereal box was quite pleasing until my calendar alerted me I was due for my buzz this morning. Oops.
What I’m watching: The sweet Florida sun breaking through the windows.
What I’m listening to: The loud refrigerator motor in the kitchen
I did it! I finished a 20-year military career. The past few weeks have been taxing; a lot of work and little-to-no guidance. I’m astonished on how cumbersome the retirement process is. You’d think no one has ever retired from the military before. Basically, I had to walk myself through my own retirement process. No one ever told me retiring from overseas would be easy, though.
While strenuous, this process has been a surprisingly flat terrain of emotions for me. That’s right, flat. I have no idea what I’m supposed to feel like. I’m unsure if what I’m feeling is normal, it’s so detached. I need to keep my batteries charged. I’m relieved it’s over but I feel like I’m disoriented. Have you felt this way too?
My next career journey began over a year ago, but it is in full swing now. There’s absolutely no turning back. Now I’m faced with a valuable lessen this past month has brought to the front, again.
“This job was here before you and it will be there after you leave.”
I was given this piece of advice from an older gentleman who I supervised. He gave me this because he saw me stressing over the job too often. Although I wanted to make the work center better, the job would be there after I left on to another in my military career. This is where I believe my disorientation stems. We are all part of a greater good in our careers, local government and the military. We joined to make a difference and be involved. When it’s over and we leave that career, a part of us leaves too. We invest so much of our time and passion into our careers that we never prepare ourselves for our departure. I was ready to leave, but I wasn’t ready, so to speak. I still want to give something to society. I wanted to take the career with me, but the fact is I can’t.
As much as I want to put the career in my back pocket and take it with me, I know I have to leave it behind. We all must leave our past careers behind in order to transition to the next thing, that next challenge. It’s how we grow and how we spread our knowledge to the next place. I’ve had to lean on several people during my career transition and it’s not getting easier. Does it ever? Get easier? Of course not! We’re handed different challenges each day that increase in difficulty as we take on more; as we do more; and as we learn more.
It’s a strange feeling leaving a career of many challenges, failures and successes. It’s for a greater cause though. It’s time to pass on what I have and learn a lot more from all of you. Although I can’t take that career with me, I can begin in a new one. This thought is how I’ve kept going throughout the days. It’s a relief to know I’m moving on but it’s slightly disoriented. I need a meaningful career soon to fill that void.