I have realized a few things about myself during this process. I enjoyed the security and stability of having an employer who provided me with benefits and a paycheck. I had a great setup. I had freedom of creativity and time and a great team of people to work with.

Now I want more freedom. My kids are grown, I have time to dedicate to what I want to do and the impact I want to make with my life going forward. The first time around I was focused on what career I could pick that would allow me to have a good work-life balance and allow me to be a mom and have a career. Now I get the opportunity to start over again with what I know now, my options are great when I look at the big picture.

I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out my “transferable skills” as well as the things that gave me energy in my career like working on public health crises’, like the opioid epidemic. I ask myself, what was it about those experiences that brought me the most joy? I believe it was working together with the people in my community as a team, with one common mission and synergy, we got things done. Partly it was working with great leaders, like Dr. Burstein and Dr. Updike who were effective at pulling people together and getting us all on the same page.

In addition to working with great leaders, I need a creative outlet. Part of that is being met by blog writing. I also want to build something based on my skills including knowing the pitfalls of our healthcare system and the waste and inefficiencies. I know how to improve the quality of people’s lives with appropriate drug use. I know the actions that need to be taken that will improve public health. I love solving problems by getting to the root of the problem. I love teaching what I know to anyone who will listen. I love connecting with people.

I was given an exercise by my career coach to list my negotiables and non-negotiables for my ideal job into two columns. This has been eye opening for me because I wrote down so many non-negotiables thinking, oh my god! I am such a princess! Then I realized that if I were to have all of those things, it would be my dream job. Isn’t that what this is all about? Finding my dream job?

Through this process, I am learning about options that aren’t the traditional employer/employee model that would allow me to have the freedom of generating income on my own terms. The affordable care act makes it possible to get health benefits without an actual employer. There are supportive services in our community to guide us on how to become small business owners, like the one I have been utilizing at Buffalo State College. As the universe continues to guide me I am finding that every barrier has a solution. It is a refreshing mind shift to finally come to this conclusion and the possibilities are exciting.