At 59 years old I am faced with an interesting set of choices. After working in the corporate world with a focus on information systems for the past 32 years in primarily profit-driven companies, I have the opportunity to take a leadership role in a highly mission-driven organization that provides consulting, services, and programs around the world.
It is an exciting opportunity but one that has me question what really is next for me. At a time when many people are looking to slow down, I feel I have new vitality and excitement about the world. Coming out as a gay man has freed me to continually discover and learn who and what I am.
Early in my professional career, as a closeted gay man, I buried any social mission values that I had and packed them away with my gayness. I went for hard, cold technology jobs that had little emotional content or social value. I was afraid to discuss issues like AIDS or gay rights for fear of someone seeing the gay man within.
In coming out I have newfound freedom to express my own personal passions in the workplace without fear of anyone seeing me for who I am. This new job opportunity, possibly my last big job, potentially gives me the opportunity to make a difference in the world, a concept I long ago gave up on.
Leaving my current job brings up a level of guilt. My current boss and my company have been incredibly supportive of me as an out gay man. I am respected and secure in my job. I am also bored at work, having done the same job for the last five-plus years. I am ready for a change and for new challenges. I would also like to be closer to home and get rid of my two hours daily commute.
Coming out has had a profound effect on who I am as a person. Work has become less important, in part, because I have essentially done the same job in my last three companies – sixteen years, and I am ready for a change. I am ready for something new. I am ready to be passionate again if I am going to spend my waking days working at a job.
Act I was the first part of my professional life, marriage to a woman, and raising a son. Act II was coming out and in my mid-fifties beginning a brand new life. Act III is now. It is where I go next and what I do with the rest of my life. I am ready for a change. I am ready for the challenge.