Picture this: 3 weeks into my sabbatical we arrived on the Amalfi Coast. White stony pebble beaches, waves crashing, and endless turquoise water. Limoncello and olive tree groves at every turn.
And despite this supposed beauty and peace, I hit a new low. A message popped in from a recruiter. For a position at one of the largest make-up manufacturers in the world. I got really excited and decided I should apply. I had the skills. The position was remote. The salary was incredible. I started picturing myself interviewing and getting the job.
I checked the company’s stock price, it had been a rough year but an incredible five years. The type of position they reached out to me for showed they are a sophisticated and complex organization. I awoke in the middle of the night and drafted my cover letter in my head. I had a great story about having my seventh grade birthday party at their makeup counter.
But, wait, how can a queer woman, who calls “wearing makeup” applying $6 Target mascara a few times a year, suddenly be desperate to work for one of the MOST femme beauty brands in the world?
I started perusing their website. A site I can honestly say I had never even thought about visiting in my life. I didn’t even know this company had a website. But there I was, reading through a landing page selling various creams – creams for day and night promising rejuvenation, resilience, anti-aging.
And while sitting there, perusing the elixirs promising all sorts of magic, that’s when I realized I hit a new low. I was considering going back to a corporate career just like the one I left, to work for a corporation selling creams to help with the very thing having a stressful corroborate career causes – exhaustion and premature aging.
I left corporate America to get anti-aging and rejuvenation the old fashioned way, with rest, and relaxation. Actual recovery, not recovery sold in a jar.
What was so appealing? The money? The stability? These are things I don’t need right now, but I still cling to. And that is what I am spending my sabbatical needing to escape.
But I know this is all part of the process. Part of the cycle of recovery. Not just recovery from stressful work, but from anything. When you quit something – at first you crave it again. Whether it’s alcohol, or sugar, or gluten, or smoking; even when we quit something we know is bad for us, we still crave it.
For me, because some part of me is still craving the stress of the corporate world, this means I have a lot more work to do. I need to enjoy a continue to enjoy my sabbatical life.