Monday, May 24, 2021

Where He Is Now: Ten Years Later

Me on a private jet (not mine, of course!) returning from Kiawah, SC, in March 2021.
Today is Commencement Day for the Yale School of Management's Class of 2021, making it 10 years since I graduated from their MBA program, and one year since last I posted an annual update.

My SOM cohort (Blue) reunites over Zoom.
My business school class had its 10-year reunion a few weeks ago -- virtually because, as of this writing, only 45% of the country is fully vaccinated from Covid-19, myself included. Yale did a good job with the multi-day programming, which offered a menu of lectures, discussions and catch-up sessions. Compared to our five-year reunion in 2016, everyone seemed more content and settled in their careers and personal lives. Lots of kids. It was great to see everyone’s faces and hear their voices. Here's hoping our 15-year reunion can be in person.

After bowling on my birthday
with "the core," December 2020.
Since posting my last update 12 months ago, much has evolved on the employment front. A year ago, I was happily working as an internal HR consultant at BASF, a large chemical company I joined after leaving Deloitte at the end of 2017. I wasn't actively looking to leave, but in July 2020 I quit BASF to work as a virtual contractor for a small tech company. They sounded like they were doing cool things, and the pay was double my salary at the time (although, not inconsequentially, it offered no benefits). My role was to help them build, deploy and fix a highly automated talent acquisition process.

Dose #1 in March. I'm now fully vaccinated!
I did it for 10 months. It was challenging and self-evidently not a viable long-term arrangement, but I learned a lot and made some friends (even though I never met them in person). When I started there, my original backup plan for when it ran its course was to return to BASF, as my former boss said I was welcome to do anytime. Unfortunately, in January, my old BASF team and hundreds of others were notified that their positions were being eliminated as part of a global restructuring. With that option gone, I needed a new plan.

Derby will turn 7 in two days!
Still a good boy.
After meeting with an alumni career coach from Yale's Career Development Office, reflecting on the past 20 years and looking ahead to the next 20, I decided I wanted to go back to consulting and build on the "future of work" area I'd been specializing in. It seemed obvious, then, that my next step should be to go back to Deloitte, the firm where I worked from 2011-2017. It's the top consultancy for that type of work, I already had a network there, and I knew I would enjoy being back. So I applied, reached out to a few people in my Deloitte network who were still there (and, lucky for me, in influential positions), and they supported me through the re-application process. I've now accepted an offer to return next month as a Senior Manager (one level higher than when I left) in their Workforce Transformation practice, which was created during my hiatus. I'm excited to be a "boomerang" and focus more on strategic talent issues vs. doing change management for big tech adoptions, which is what I fell into during my last stint.  
Me back in my first bedroom.
When I lived there, these beautiful
floors were hiding under carpet.
So it's been a bit of a tumultuous year work-wise, but I've ended up in a situation that I think is going to be awesome. In personal news, one of the more unusual adventures I had over the past year unfolded last month, when I found out that my childhood home was up for sale. Without hesitating, I headed to St. Louis to see it during an open house. "Surreal" is an overused word, but the right one here. This house, my home for the first 20 years of my life, has been the setting of my dreams at least once a week since my parents sold it in 1999, so to be back and roam around was phantasmagorical. I'm very grateful I got the chance to do this, and to finally meet some members of the family who lived there after we did. It also happened that our visit was a week before a family friend's 100th birthday, so I got to see her and give her a card in person. Even though she's fully vaccinated and I was half-vaccinated at the time, we wore masks and greeted with a fist bump.

Me with my parents in May 2021.
My family is generally well. My father had a heart attack last month, was discharged, then had a fall and went back to the hospital, but is now recovering nicely. My mom's mobility has declined over the past year or so, and she now uses a walker all the time. I was able to visit them down in Florida two weeks ago, for the first time since late 2019. My niece is 17 and graduating from high school a year early; she'll be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University this fall. My older nephew is about to turn 17, and my younger nephew is almost 15 and just wrapped up his freshman year at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. 

Last year, I won a B-level mixed doubles
round robin to raise money for cancer research.
It was my first tennis trophy ever.
Back home in New York, our oasis during these past 12 months has been our tennis club, which gradually started reopening last May and offered us social and recreational normalcy. I also took on a new role at the club as Chair of the Nominating Committee, which means I'm leading the effort to determine club officers (president, secretary, governors) for the next term. I'm also co-captaining one of our summer tennis teams, and organized a weekly Thursday evening mixer on the red clay that just began last week and will go through mid-October.

In Cancun for James' birthday.
Despite Covid-19, James and I managed to take a few trips over the past year, including to Cancun for his birthday in January. He's doing well in the real estate biz. I mentioned in my 2020 post that I'd stopped drinking for Lent and was continuing to live alcohol-free during the pandemic. I’ve remained sober since, 15 months and counting. This lifestyle change has been better for my physical and mental health, without question. It's a relief never to have to nurse a hangover or feel nervous that I can't remember the previous night's conversations. It's also pushed me to spend my social time doing things I genuinely enjoy instead of subconsciously gravitating toward activities where there'll be alcohol. And even though the past year has had many stresses, I believe I'm coping better as a totally sober person than I might otherwise. 

Looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months bring us! See you next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment