Tom’s Journal-February 23, 2008
This is the major leagues. I’ve had a few life altering events—births, marriage, deaths; you know the stuff. But this is right up there as I follow my cardiologist’s guidance to find a surgeon. Met with one today. He seemed fine but something wasn’t quite right. He was smart; had some warmth. Some. But a bit wooden. Leslie by my side felt similarly. It’s clear the surgery will be life changing—transformative. I will be better in many ways—not just the physics of my heart but my spirit may change as well.

Met later in the week with a second surgeon at a different hospital—he’s the one. Dr. N is my guy. Rutgers Med School—I like that having spent 17 years in the Garden State. Yes, New Jersey is the Garden State. Best tomatoes and sweet corn anywhere. I liked his confidence. Made me feel like this is a piece of cake—that I’ll be back 120% in no time. The decision was made. I’m ready to go to work. Someone said that once you know what it is you need to do (and who’s going to help you), fear begins to dissipate.


I like William Bridges” term “reinventing yourself” when it comes to your new self in new work. It’s the “Beginnings” stage of a transition—after all the hard work is accomplished in “Endings” and “Middles.” It’s not easy, of course, to reach this place as many internal and external forces are working against you as you start the work of making a transition. When you have a job, boss or a work environment which is debilitating, it’s natural to feel a desire to move on. You may even dust off your resume or have someone look at your LinkedIn profile. But at some point, reality hits—getting something better is going to be difficult.

William Willimon, Methodist bishop and theologian says, “The status quo is strongly alluring.  It is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the six-thirty news, our institutions, theologies and politics.  The only way we shall break its hold on us is to be transferred to another dominion, to be cut loose from our old certainties, to be thrust under the flood and then pulled forth fresh and newborn.” 

Willimon is preaching about spiritual transformation but it works for career, job and retirement too. We often need a profound event in our lives to get us going. And the resulting pressure can actually help us make a good decision. And get you moving toward new, meaningful work.


What event or experience have you had which might bring a sense of urgency to your life?

You hopefully don’t need open heart surgery…..but reflect on issues which need to be addressed e.g. time remaining in your life or this part of life for you to accomplish important goals; identifying the important work you may be called to; or gaining clarity on your gifts and talents and how people and organizations can benefit from them.

Is there someone who can help you get moving toward more satisfying work? What do you need to do to break the allure of the status quo?

*This TranSpirations focuses on the relationship between Tom’s journaling about his successful heart surgery in 2008 and possible lessons for career/work/retirement transitions.

Thomas Bachhuber, Ed.D., President of the Board and Executive DirectorThomas Bachhuber, Ed.D.
President of the Board and Executive Director for The Center for Life Transitions. Tom is responsible for overall Center leadership and strategy. His individual coaching/counseling as well as workshops and retreats focus on integrating leading career development ideas with spiritual exploration. Read more.