Ellen cautioned me to put on the brakes: "When you’re about to leap, you can make the mistake of acting too quickly." Ha! Just when I thought the coach’s job was done, she had a critical role to play. "The excitement is masking the terror," Ellen told me. "You need to be grounded to make the right move." So I made a list of pros and cons, talked with each company again, and within a couple of weeks — four months after starting the coaching process — I negotiated the right deal with the right company.
Now I work as a book packager, two days a week from the office and three days from home. I also teach a kids’ cooking class and consult for publishing companies. I volunteer for two nonprofits. I go to a noon yoga class. Nine months in, here is what I know: Being happy in work makes me better at everything else I do. And here is what I don’t know: whether it’s going to work out financially. My income has been as low as I anticipated, less than half of what I had been earning. We may have to move; my older son may have to apply for financial aid. But any trade-off will be worth it. At last, I’m energized, invigorated, and setting an example of professional happiness for my children. And if I need to make another change down the road, I’ve got a process — and the coach’s number.
Pam Abrams is flourishing at Downtown Bookworks in New York City. Her cookbook for kids, Gadgetology, is coming out this month.
Originally published in MORE magazine, April 2007.