An Extended Break From the Rat Race Has Changed My Life

10 lessons learned that I never want to lose

Linda Castrilli


Photo: GettyImages

In the spring of 2021, I left the corporate job I had been in for the prior seventeen years.

It was the first time since graduating college — and we’re talking early 1990s here — that I had been unemployed. Back then, OJ Simpson wasn’t yet on trial for murder and Prince Charles and Princess Diana were still married.

Things were a bit different.

I was beyond building a career that would get me on any 30-under-30 or other age-based lists, which, like this article suggests, are nonsense anyway. Also, we were still in the midst of a global pandemic.

While my rational mind found it poetic that I would uproot my career while the stable ground below me was also being dug up by world events, it took some time for the rest of me to catch up and reach emotional equilibrium.

But with the luxury of a generous early retirement package and no time crunch to return to a steady paycheck, I set out on my hero’s journey — to find myself and a new opportunity or purpose.

Several months later, I can’t say with certainty that I’ve found myself. But I did find a new job. One I’m pretty excited about.