Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: Leap: Leaving a Job with No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want by Tess Vigeland (audio)

When I first was let go from my job in 2010, and was feeling adrift and sometimes panicky and often like a failure, Tess Vigeland on Marketplace Money always calmed me down. So much so that sometimes I would save an episode or two and listen to the podcasts immediately before an interview as they left me feeling confidant and in charge. Then in 2012, she left, rather abruptly. I was sad. I tried listening to the show for another 6 months or so but I eventually stopped. I didn't like the new host or the new format very much. Maybe I should try it again, but I think I really liked Tess.

So last fall, when my husband and I were considering a grand leap—moving across the country and both getting new jobs, and I heard Tess had a book coming out, and one that was about making big leaps in one's career, it seemed like kismet! And then a variety of things kept me from getting to read the book (for one, I was determined to listen to it on audio, but it wasn't available through Overdrive as a download.) And then I got let go from my new job and was in another unemployment funk. Seems like perfect timing so I requested the CDs.

And ah, there was my friend Tess again. The one who has her head screwed on straight, is sensible, and yet is also human and not afraid to admit it. The times I loved her the most on Marketplace was when she was admitting her own financial missteps, when she talked about how her and her husband combining their finances was a difficult decisions to make, when she talked about the several bouts with identity theft she's had to cope with. You felt like jeez, if these things can happen to an expert in personal finance who's at the top of her career, then of course I'm occasionally making a misstep myself—no one's perfect!

Now Tess doesn't even give away what was the event that lead to her leaving. And while I would love to hear the dirt, I appreciate her unwillingness to gossip. (Although it did feel like there was a bit of a hole in the story.) After all, why she left wasn't really about a single event. The book is about what to do when you decide you just can't take it any more but you also can't get something else lined up—whether because nothing else materializes before you get to the end of your rope, the time you gave yourself to transition out was too busy to do anything else, or because you just really don't know what to do next. It's no step-by-step guide to refiguring your career life, it's more about acceptance and about how the struggle to get to that next step in your life is okay.

Of course I didn't get to a breaking point and quit—I was let go—so it's not quite the same. But a heck of a lot still applied, and I even appreciated when she talked about some problems that I don't have as a "let go" rather than a "quit" unemployed person. Namely, I am not a "quitter," I don't have guilt for having put my family into this position financially on purpose, and Tess also experienced that a lot of her network didn't step up to help, as mine has, because they assumed she had something else already in mind, or else why would she quit? I had assumed that quitting was advantageous over being let go, but perhaps not.

While at the end, she doesn't have everything figured out just yet, she is in a better place mentally and emotionally, and she's ready for the next big thing to come along. And hearing that even Tess Vigeland occasionally is runner-up for an awesome job she'd love and be great at (host of NPR's Weekend Edition) makes it a little easier to swallow when I am runner-up for an awesome job I'd love and be great at. If I can have confidence that something else great is out there for her and she'll eventually find it, I ought to be able to have more confidence in my own situation, as hard as that is to do when everything feels like a personal rejection. So I learned no tips, I have no new knowledge, but I come away from her book with a slightly better state of mind, and I'm going to try to cut myself more slack, job hunting during the hardest time of the year. I do hope Tess will end up back on the radio or on a podcast, though, because I will listen to her talk about almost anything. I loved it. I highly recommend the audio version which instead of printing a speed she gave at the World Domination Forum, gives you the actual live recording complete with audience reactions and questions, etc.

I checked this audio book out of the library.

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