In the New York Times business section last Sunday, October 26th, I read with great interest an article about Jenny Hourihan Bailin who lost her Wall Street investment banking job in a restructuring earlier this year. The article focused on how she’s found her “true north” compass heading – that which really makes her happy. She’s decided to retool and transfer her skills into the non-profit world.

The article highlighted several points for introspection that I believe are important to all of us:

  1. Are you making a living or living a life? We become complacent particularly in the fields where we are confident and we only take notice when we’ve been in the same job for 20 years. A lot of people are comfortably miserable but choose to stay due to golden parachutes and other perceived incentives.
  2. Are you just going through the motions? Although Hourihan-Bailin had interviewed for a job with a boutique firm and the chemistry was great, the managing partner in a follow-up discussion told her what she already knew. None of those she interviewed with felt like she wanted the job, so the entire interview process was more of a performance than her authentic self.
  3. Are you beaming about your current position or have you lost touch with who you are and what you enjoy? You can clearly see in her face, her smile when she speaks of how great it was to lose her job, because it gave her the opportunity to rediscover herself and spend an unbelievable amount of quality time with her loved ones. “I no longer have the same grueling work hours and it was delicious to have time to myself.” She goes on to say, “I resolved to enjoy the summer with my husband and two girls: we went to the beach and studied Spanish in Guatemala. I took yoga and read War and Piece.”

Remember that in these turbulent economic times, your portfolio of relationships become your biggest asset. They transcend across geography, any particular job, project or point in time in our lives. Invest in one relationship a week and you’ll see an exponential return on your involvement and influence!

We are products of the advice we take. For your sake get some independent perspective, on not just where you are today and what you’re doing, but why? And more importantly find out where you are headed, at what cost and to what end?

To read the article, Out of a job and realizing change is good, visit

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