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. But in coming out I have a new found 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 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.