Rollercoaster or Merry-go-Round? My Chat With Tess Vigeland

I’d rather be on a rollercoaster than a merry-go-round. ~ Tess Vigeland

tess-vigland-mmiMy recent interview with Tess Vigeland is full of stories about the last three years of her life since leaving her dream job, voluntarily, without a plan for what was next.

The quote about the rollercoaster followed a discussion about the inevitable ups and downs of any huge transition like a career change.

She talked about being ecstatic some days and others when she could barely get out of bed thinking she had made the biggest mistake of her life. But, even with all the highs and lows, she is glad that she took the leap, taking the path less traveled, instead of continuing to rotate around in circles in her prior job, on a predictable path that did not ultimately take her where she wanted to go.

We also discussed how, as a result of walking her own journey, as well as interviewing 80 people in similar situations as part of the research for her book, Leap: Leaving a Job With no Plan B, she has come to feel that our careers are not the straight line so many people seem to think that their careers are and should be.

Tess thinks it’s  more helpful to think of our careers – and by extension our lives – as an Etch-a-Sketch, a toy that can be used to make intricate images and then, when one has tired of that particular image, can be shaken up to produce a blank canvas upon which to create a new picture. I find the playfulness of this imagery enormously helpful.

Finally, Tess shared her thoughts about how the way we work in America makes us sick.

The work ethic, the fears about leaving a job that is not working for you because of not being marketable and/or damaging your reputation, and how we put work before almost all else in our lives is a cause that she now stands up for, her “I’m-mad-as-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore” attitude where she is ready to carve her own path to learn more about how NOT to let work be the most important thing about a person.

In fact, her next chapter comes on the heels of having accompanied her father to Peru to a region where people live much more simply, have much less stuff, and are happy with their lives. At this writing, Tess has an open-ended ticket to South East Asia, where she will spend time in various regions learning about how other cultures live, telling their stories, and finding out how we can learn from other cultures to improve our work culture so that we can live happier, healthier lives.

I’m thoroughly inspired by Tess, so do listen to the chat and check out her new book—I think you’ll be inspired, too!


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