Letdown


I was enjoying some brussels sprouts and charcuterie with Tobias Peggs right after my last day of work. School was finishing up and the summer break was ahead of me. I could sense many feelings over the change. What do I do next? I will have so much mental energy to channel without the old burdens!

“Mate, you need a real break. Trust me, your body is going to go into a real letdown as the adrenalin that was powering you along disapates.”

Tobias is a serial entrepreneur, who I have known for some time, even before he joined my old team at Walmart through the acquisition of OneRiot. Since then he went on to run Aviary, sell that to Adobe, and now he is back to another venture (where brussels sprouts are involved!)

A letdown?

I had worked hard to keep my energy high, and I was coming out of an intense situation. Surely I will be bouncing off the walls with all of the space I will have?

But Tobias was right. For one, your mind doesn’t forget work that quickly. Weening off of it felt like practicing meditation for me. I would catch myself thinking about some work problem and remind myself:

“You aren’t responsible for that any more. The team will be able to work it out just fine. They are awesome.”

Over time longer periods would go by between these thoughts. There are still some triggers now: someone reaching out, or morning work outs where I used to plan my day and think about my direct reports. But even these are fading.



And then there were the naps

I was tired. Partly it turns out that running after kids is more physical work than a desk job (even with walking 1:1’s and a standing desk :), but mentally I do think my body was taking the opportunity to regroup.

About a month later I felt it. An intense joy and feeling of top energy. My mind was clear and I was ready to take on new challenges.

I started to reflect on how rare it is to have the opportunity for a real break from a day job. Companies should mandate a break! Employees tend to be excited to join, and companies needed the role filled last month… So you give two weeks notice and get cracking.

The excitement for the new job kicks in and you don’t even realize that you really did need a real transition period.

I was fortunate enough to get this opportunity once before. John Lilly and Mozilla explicitly said “hey, take a month before joining so you are fully charged”. Wise words indeed. I am still very grateful.

I am partly writing this to help me to remember this the next time I transition, or the next time someone joins my team. It is never so important that someone has to join today. I will give myself and others the gift of time. Now I need to use this energy to dive in.

Have you ever experienced this? Do you have other transition advice?


Ps. There are always exceptions. For example, The folk who joined Google the day before the IPO were smart to make that happen.

Pps. Maybe it is OK to take that sabatical at work to get a recharge without a job change? 🙂

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