Around the 11th month of my intentionally planned career break, I decided to rejoin the workforce. Fueled by confidence in my qualifications and professional networks, I anticipated securing the right job within a conservative three-month timeframe – a miscalculation, as events would prove. The landscape of discouraging job-hunt experiences accumulated, gradually eroding the spirited and empowered self I had forged during my enriching sabbatical. Despite dedicating countless hours to refining my resumé, crafting my LinkedIn profile, and reviving my professional network, the job opportunities presented to me didn’t match my expectations. Frustration set in, and I spiraled into a funk. It was my dedication to spiritual and mindfulness practices that shattered the veil of scarcity thinking and negative self-talk. Through them, the tides shifted. Here’s how I not only found work after my career break, but said yes to work that felt aligned.
Part 1: Manifesting non-traditional work and money through high energetic vibration
Yes, my dear reader, I became a person who uses words like “manifest,” “universe,” and “magnetize” unashamedly and often in the same sentence. Upon deciding to re-enter the job market, I defined three non-negotiables to guide me into landing the right work opportunity: my next job had to be fully remote, pay well, and bring me joy. I was intentionally vague as I was unclear on what to pursue. I was holding on to a story that by the end of my career break I would find a different livelihood, perhaps as a full-time writer or an entrepreneur, or even return to corporate, but doing something drastically different. And guess what? I was channeling such a vibrant, magnetic energetic field that an opportunity landed without me having to submit resumés or lift a finger.
One day, a former coworker contacted me with an intriguing proposition: an invitation to join a tech startup. It would be a part-time commitment, enabling me to continue my job search concurrently. It was fully remote, so I could continue to be highly mobile and travel on my terms. The role involved crafting marketing strategies to help grow the business, a responsibility I found captivating. And while the compensation didn’t involve a fixed salary, I would receive payment in the form of stock options should the enterprise become successful.
However, by that time my savings weren’t as robust as a year earlier and I would have to make choices: either continue paying the household bills as previously agreed with my husband, or slow down on my travels. There wasn’t room for both. Unexpectedly, my husband greeted the startup opportunity with enthusiasm. It seemed that he found a way to experience a sense of adventure through my endeavors. To my astonishment, he finally revealed what I had eagerly wished for over a year: he was willing to take on the entire burden of the household bills while I explored new professional avenues. It felt like a miracle. Even though I wasn’t drawing a fixed salary from the company, this financial opportunity presented itself to me in an indirect way.
To be clear, I find great satisfaction in earning my income through my own hard work. I was brought up to value independence and not rely on anyone, especially a man, for my financial well-being. This principle is strongly rooted in me. Nevertheless, there existed a side of me that yearned to be looked after, a part that longed for some respite, a moment of relief. Embracing these contradictory feelings, I felt a mixture of excitement and self-accomplishment for magnetizing money through a different avenue, especially considering that a few months earlier, such a path seemed entirely implausible.
Part 2: The crash
I found satisfaction in working at the startup company while pursuing other job prospects. Cautious not to burn through my finances, I temporarily paused traveling. Work opportunities were coming, but nothing felt aligned. On top of that, I felt resistance to returning to corporate because of the underlying self-imposed narrative that I had to find something completely different to do with the rest of my life.
In one instance, I progressed to the final interview stage of a company that matched my non-negotiables, only to learn that it went on a hiring freeze. On another occasion, I dealt with the racist bias of a hiring manager who said point blank that she doesn’t don’t trust working with Latin Americans. Though I would never join such company even if it begged me, the junkyard of frustrations kept piling up. And three months after joining the startup company, I realized it was no longer a good fit. Leaving was the right decision, but by then my positivity reserves had deflated.
“Universe, are you listening to me?”
I began to grow cynical toward the Universe. I felt negative. My lower back started to hurt, and I know by now that lower back pain is a symptom that I’m in emotional misalignment. The enthusiastic voice I had found during my career break was no more. In job interviews, words turned stagnant in my throat, causing me to stumble and lose my train of thought. This downward spiral eroded my confidence and stifled my ability to express myself effectively. I wasn’t getting follow-up calls back, and job leads dwindled.
Fear kicked in and I was afraid that it would take me a very long time to find work that felt great and paid well. I devoted too many hours imagining my husband telling me “I told you so,” (he never did), but my pride was hurt. I was freaking out at the prospect that in months my husband might have to pay for my gasoline and manicures. The horror! It was clear that I was no longer operating at the peak of my mindfulness capabilities. My thoughts were clouded by scarcity thinking, where everything felt hard and soul-sucking.
Part 3: The climb back to abundance – community, modern shamans, magnolias and my inner wild child
Here’s the deal: during my career break, I spent thousands of dollars on life coaching and personal development practices to help me unlearn ways of being that were no longer serving me. Traveling was a major component of my sabbatical, but recreating myself into a more empowered version was just as important. I needed to be in awe with me, to start loving me deeply, unapologetically. I needed to stop caring so much about what others thought of me. I needed to explore my hidden corners, the pieces of me that I had locked in a dark room and thrown the keys in a bottomless pit.
I’ve come a long way, but sustaining growth is a lifelong achievement. Just like your muscles will decay if you don’t keep them active, the mind also deteriorates when we don’t feed it spiritual nourishment. Though I was successful at achieving a sense of personal empowerment and freedom, I also learned we have these old programs that reactivate when triggered and can lead us to fall off the steps. And life will try to trigger us, always, for that’s how we grow. But because I invested in mindfulness practices to improve the quality of my life, I now bounce back quicker.
Community and magnolias
Aware that it was time to swim back to the surface, I contacted a former colleague who worked in Human Resources. We hadn’t spoken in years, but he let me vent my frustrations without judgment and gave me the pep talk I needed. I also went on a solo weekend retreat in the woods to reground and recharge.
Then, on a five-minute morning meditation, I visualized a magnolia in my mind’s eyes and the word “simple” blew softly in my ears. I’ve always been fascinated by these beautiful flowers so common in my neighborhood. They’re fierce, elegant, and drastically simple. I felt drawn to channel that same energy into my daily life, realizing that I was making everything complex and therefore hard for even me to articulate who I was professionally. I pay attention to these things now, to these whispers that dance in tune with the pit of my stomach. Call it intuition or God giving me pointers, but it’s something I no longer take for granted.
Back to basics
I went back to the drawing board and re-wrote my resumé and LinkedIn profile, simplifying my value statements. Tapped into the energy of simplicity, I decreased cover letter writing in half the time and created stronger reasons why I was a great fit for the roles I was applying for. I also changed my profile picture to one that made me smile. In the process, I gained clarity that I wanted to return to corporate, to what felt safe. I revisited my non-negotiables and dropped “fully remote” from the equation, opening up to a hybrid work arrangement that included working from home and going to the office a couple of times per week. Surprisingly, it felt right. I had spent more than a year on and off the road, so there was a part of me that wanted to anchor in familiar harbors.
I also joined a powerful group meditation session with a community of remarkable women who are on a path to break through their limitations and re-create themselves. In this session, my spiritual mentor Vanessa Loder helped us reconnect with two versions of our inner child, no mind-altering substances involved: the sweet, obedient, perfectionist girl who ensures those around her feel comfortable despite her own desires, and the wild child who shows up free and unafraid.
I felt resistant around “Missy Perfect” and it didn’t take long to realize that she was the part of me that was holding me back. So I took her hand, looked deeply into her eyes, kissed her cheek, and let her go expressing my gratitude for teaching me so many things. Then I told her that there was no space for her in my life anymore.
The jaguar rider
Soon in the meditation I was braving through mountains and rivers with “Wild Mini-Me,” her crazy wild hair blowing in the wind, her eyes bright with curiosity, her body dirty from playing in the mud. And voilá, she even rode a jaguar, a pointy spear in hear hand, naked, defiant, carefree, unafraid, and deeply connected to her instincts. A creature of the wilderness, from that place we all started, from that space we so often forget we belong. She was a joyful thing to see and was completely available to be by my side, to guide me. As the meditation progressed, I also had a vision of an energetic force being expelled from my throat.
Back into consciousness, the results were immediate. I felt a rush running through my body and a physical release in the walls of my neck. My lower back pain dissolved within hours. The next day, after a hiatus of more than a month without a good job lead, I was contacted by three companies, kicking off interview processes where I felt calm, excited, and on top of my game.
Finding work after my career break
I stayed close to my inner wild child, tapping into her fearless energy before each professional engagement. The blockage of self-expression was gone and words poured out of me easily again. In less than a month, I accepted a job offer that met my non-negotiables: it felt joyful, aligned and paid well. The week before work started, I celebrated the end of my career break chapter at the Belizean jungle, all by myself, savoring the metaphysical presence of Wild Me as close to the dirt of the Earth as possible.
Reconnecting with my wild child was a breakthrough experience that I intend to replicate for the rest of my life whenever I feel that perfectionism and scarcity are clouding my thoughts. I’ve told her we’ll ride that jaguar together into the wilderness. Because it’s in the wild (the mountains, the rivers, the ocean, the desert, or in the quiet five minutes of the day when we look deeply inwards) that we find rejuvenation and clarity for the future we want to create.
This blog post was written in collaboration with my newest creative colleague, ChatGPT.