three

between identities

THE REINVENTING PROCESS is rarely quick or easy, even for the veteran job-hopper. Emotionally, it is hard to let go of a career in which we have invested much time, training, and hard work. Letting go is even harder when the alternatives remain fuzzy. And yet there’s no avoiding this agonizing period between old and new careers: A transition can begin years before a concrete alternative materializes, as we start creating and testing possible selves.

This chapter describes the long and difficult middle period when our identities are in flux. In this transitional state, as June Prescott’s story shows, we oscillate between holding on to the past and embracing the future. We move forward without clearly defined destinations, ...

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