Creative Sabbatical

I am on a creative sabbatical. I realize it looks like I’m at the pool sunning myself behind a woman with some funky hair, but I assure you, it’s more than that. Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure what a creative sabbatical is, I stole the term from a friend, but that’s what I’m calling the place where I am. I don’t know how long I’m going to stay here. I didn’t make the reservation; the universe did. But I think it’s until I finally, finally learn my lesson.

I had a job for a long time that was not a super good fit, but I liked the people and it was more or less fine. Then when the parts that didn’t fit well went from rubbing blisters occasionally to causing actual damage, I left. It had a lot to do with strong personalities. I took about a year doing enough work to be credible, but not seriously committing to anything. Then I got mono, and I did a whole lotta nothing for several months.

When I was just at the point of feeling sorta healthy again, a job dropped into my lap. Seriously, an acquaintance contacted me out of the clear blue and asked if I’d be interested in a position. I said sure. It seemed so perfect. The corporate culture seemed like it was exactly what I needed. I was feeling good about my career for the first time in a long time.

About two months into it, it became clear I had put myself back in the same spot I’d been for so many years: in a job that wasn’t a super good fit, but I really liked the people. This week, they fired me. I won’t lie, it was a body blow to my ego. I’ve never been fired before, even when I worked in the kind of jobs people get fired from. Their reasons are their own, and you’d have to ask them if you want specifics as none were provided to me, but from my standpoint, it’s just as well.

I’ve spent a career just doing whatever came next. I did work. I like to think it was good work, but not the kind of great work I want to do. I was not gonna do the great work I want to at that job, and I knew it. I was willing to try for longer. They weren’t.

Baby Daddy could not have had a better reaction to his wife losing her job. He told me to just stop (yes, I see the pattern) and spend some time reading, writing, resting, doing yoga, working out, whatever I want to. He advised me to give the business plan I’ve been talking about for years, but never acting on, some serious consideration. Mostly he took the pressure off me to figure something out right away.

So I will. I’m gonna get the laundry caught up. I’m gonna clean the house. I’m gonna spend some time at the pool. I’m gonna read and write and do yoga and work out. I’m gonna put together my business plan, but with no immediate time line. I’m gonna take Monkey Boy to swimming lessons. I’m gonna cook and try not to kill my family doing it. I hope to do enough freelance work to earn my keep. But I’m not going to make any big moves for awhile. Big moves are not part of creative sabbaticals.

And I’ve already learned my first lesson of creative sabbatical: use sunscreen.



Filed under The view from here

19 responses to “Creative Sabbatical

  1. I’m sorry that you got fired. I was fired from my last job when I was doing my best work and they regretted it later.

    I think you’ve got a great plan and you should definitely follow your dreams. We decided to and it’s working out great. At least for now…ask me again when we’re in a 990 sq ft apartment in a month. 🙂

  2. Kelli

    When it comes to big, life-altering changes like that, I tend to take the ‘things happen for a reason stance.’ Mostly because I prefer not to take any blame, but also because it gives me hope. Hope that even if I don’t have a perfect plan for me, someone does.
    And sometimes, getting fired is the best thing. It’s someone else taking away a job you didn’t have the strength to leave, even if you should have.
    You’ll make it.

  3. bethwylie

    My husband was fired last Spring from a job he got stuck in from a corporate merger. He didn’t like the position it put him in and was generally unhappy. However, he actually was their savior on a number of issues, but they couldn’t afford him, and I think his new boss was intimidated by how much Aaron knew that he himself did not. Anyway, it turned out to be a blessing because Aaron found a job that he really loves that he probably wouldn’t have applied for otherwise. You are going to do great things!

  4. I have been in the same position many times. People hire you and promise a great working environment and a chance to use your skills, but it always ends up with the same micro managed B.S. I was lucky that Heather gave me the same support your husband is giving you. Here is some advice. Brant’s 6 F’s for success:

    1) Fear: Have none.

    2) Failure: Will happen see #1.

    3) Faith: Faith in yourself. That you are doing what you believe in.

    4) Friends & Family: those people that will help you when you are down.

    5) Fun: Have fun, because once the fun stops it’s just a job.

    6) F@#$: F@#$ the nay sayers, negativity will bring you down and there are people that want to see you fail

  5. KatieMc

    I love you.

  6. I like Brant’s answer.

    I feel bad for you, because no one deserves to be fired with no explanation. That’s a really crappy way of doing business. Seriously, do you really want to work for someone with such lousy business practices?

    But do you realize how very, very lucky you are? You are in a unique position where you can slow down and think, nurture yourself and your family, and do exactly what you want to do. Many women — myself included — do not, and probably will not ever, have that luxury.

    I encourage you to take the time to bask in the quiet. Check out for a bit, if you will. But most of all, give a lot of gratitude back to the universe.

  7. If I had any words of wisdom to give, Brant and Amy already gave them.

    I’m kind of excited for you. When you were sick, you were waiting to get better. When you were previously jobless, you were waiting for a new job. Now you don’t have to wait on anything!

    You get to find, or create, a new kind of balance between time for yourself, time for you family, and time for others. It really is a great luxury.

    Enjoy it.

  8. Bec

    I am so excited for you.
    I realize given the context of the post I sound a tad more crazy than usual, so let me explain:

    I can’t wait to see where life takes you. I’m so glad, and somewhat jealous even, that you have this time to stop, think about a next step, recharge, and move forward without pressure to rush into things.

    You are such a powerful person…packed into a tiny body. I admire who you are, and the values you have. I cannot wait to see what comes of things when you choose what happens next.

    I know it won’t always be easy. Routines feel secure. It’s gutsy. You didn’t make the choice, but you aren’t hoping back into things and That is admirable. As excited as I am to watch this path unfold I assure you I will be here when it’s tedious. To listen, to pour a drink, or to feed.

    The world may not be ready (yet) for what’s going to happen, but I am.
    Love you.

  9. Kat

    wow. that’s crazy and, like the other commenters have mentioned, seems like an amazing opportunity to take some time out for you and for family and for some serious creative endeavors. Excited to follow along.

  10. {{hugs}} From me to you. Lots of big bear hugs.

    If you’re ever in the need of champagne and cupcakes . . . I’m your girl.

  11. Kerri

    KJC – I can SO relate to what you wrote. Glad you’re taking this time to hold still, even if it’s uncomfortable, and LISTEN to what this moment is trying to tell you. You’ll land on your feet, no matter what, and undoubtedly with great style!

    A friend once told me that a trapeze artist can’t grab the swing coming at her until she completely lets go of the one she’s holding. And that period in between is when she’s flying. On a trapeze, that period lasts a second or two. With me, it lasted a year. It felt, at times, less like flying than a freefall. But I had a net, and so do you – lots of people in your life who root for you.

    Anyway – just wanted to pass on a little love from someone who’s been where you are.

    Best – KMS

  12. As you’ve tweeted earlier, doors & windows. I like Brant’s “F” advice as well.

    Be grateful.

    You’re amazing and we all love ya.

  13. You are precious. I am sorry for the hurt; live it in as much as you can, look at it, learn from it – then let it go.

    I am hopeful for you. What you do does not define who you are; neither do other people’s opinions. Cannot wait to see what comes next.

  14. Jennifer P.

    I echo the sentiments above. While you may feel some panic, I do hope you can live out the peaceful part of not constantly worrying about what’s next. Looking forward to riding along the journey with you. And maybe now you’ll have time to really get to know that great neighbor up the road! (Wait, I’d probably have to go on a creative sabbatical, too, to make that happen effectively!).

  15. Angel

    You are amazingly talented, wickedly funny and one smart cookie just as you are, today, this very minute. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes you.

  16. Tina

    BIG HUG!! Getting fired: SUCKS. Time off to be, create and reflect: PRICELESS.

  17. Kerri – I want to second — or maybe 17th?? — others’ excitement for you. You are such a beautiful writer, and a wonderfully creative person. Go with your heart. It’s going to work for you.

  18. GirlyGirl36

    I believe that God sometimes has such beautiful plans for us that He has to lovingly make it impossible for us to stay where we are. You, my friend are so talented and witty and wonderful that I cannot wait to see where your dreams will take you. Chase your them to their amazing end, Kerri. You don’t want to sit in a creaky old rocking chair when you are 80 years old and wonder what life could have been like…