Back when I was working at Microsoft I had no free time because I was working all the time. Then I left Microsoft and looked forward to having lots of time to catch up on reading, ride my mountain bike and generally relax and enjoy life. I got to do a little of that, but the period lasted only about 6 months, then suddenly I was busy again. How did this happen?
Before I was busy with my job. Now I’m busy with the things I need to do to ensure I’ll be successful in the next chapter of my life. I’m in transition, and transitions are work-intensive. As I approach the end of school I have been revving up my networking engine and working to get my Airframe and Powerplant licenses.
As part of networking, I applied for some scholarships that will allow me to attend training with manufacturers and carriers. I won two of them – Pratt and Whitney engine maintenance training and UPS run-taxi training. Yes, this means I’m going to learn how to fix giant turbofans, and to drive a large jet around on a runway. (Squee!).
But that’s only half of it. The other part is that I get to meet the scholarship donors at a ceremony at the Women in Aviation International Conference. I can’t pass that up – that’s networking gold, so I’ll be going to Dallas in March. Then in April, funding sources willing, I’ll be going to the Aerospace Maintenance Competition to help my school’s team make a good showing. The event is run by someone who is kind of my air safety hero, plus the judges and participants are a fun and highly competent bunch of people, so I’m dying to go.
All good stuff and all necessary as I make the transition from software to aviation. But it takes time. Time to find the scholarships and events that are available, time to fill out applications and write up project plans and make travel plans. Time to go places and meet all the amazing people whose ranks I’ll soon be joining.
And that doesn’t even include the writing. I have also been steadily working at my writing career, first by publishing my first novel early last year, then by signing up with Booktrope to republish it under their imprint, and by starting my second book.
I had been feeling a little cranky about the recent lack of free time in my life, but then I realized – I’m in transition and transitions take work. There’s the work to build new skills and the work to build a new network. Someday, to use a project management term, I’ll be in run-state. But for now, I’m in transition to my dream careers and if I want to be good at them, it’s going to take some work.
When I frame it this way, I don’t mind giving up my free time. It’s hard work, but I’m in control of my life in a way that I have never been before. As for the work? It’s all in service of the dream.