I’ll Be Myself (IBM)

Why did I abandon my six figure income as an IBM engineer to become a healing practitioner?  Who walks away from a substantial salary, enviable benefits, reasonable job security, plus ten years of hard-earned education? Even my manager said she’d never had an employee quit, explaining they all either retired or were laid off. I was well-paid, well-appraised, and so miserable it was hard to drag myself to work. I faced seven long years until retirement and was unlikely to get laid off even though my misery seemed to spill into everything I touched. My management reassured me I was doing well but inside I was not.

Every day at IBM I shriveled more, feeling underemployed, disconnected, and without purposeful livelihood. Eventually I admitted to myself I wasn’t the same person who slogged through my Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate in Chemical Engineering who could tolerate work that didn’t energize me. I had become someone else. Myself. I knew I had to leave the corporation I’d started working for after my freshman year at Purdue University way back in 1981 and close the door forever. I made sure I had no option to return, no possible reversal.

This didn’t come from some entrepreneurial aspiration. I wanted to serve others and have a rich and meaningful life instead of an arid and unsatisfying one.  As clear as the internal shift was, it took me years and then a few more years to give myself permission to quit.  By the time I finally did leave, I was already blessed with unexpected intuitive healing abilities and the fortuitous arrival of Jin Shin Jyutsu® Japanese acupressure which is both cerebral and spiritual.  I quit IBM right after I became a Certified Jin Shin Jyutsu® Practitioner in July 2010.  At that point I wasn’t even aware of the Akashic Records that would later become such a powerful part of my life and my healing practice.

While IBM did offer material security and consistency, being myself is priceless.  I’m aligned to myself, others, and the Divine with a depth and resonance I never expected.  What a blessing and privilege to live and share transformation!

40 comments

    • Thanks for your kind words! I’ll admit I still have occasional flashes when I wonder if I’m crazy, some of which came up while writing this post, and then I remember how much it cost me to stay there in misery. I’m glad what I wrote spoke to you.

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  1. What a beautiful post! You are so inspiring, Christy! Thank you for the reminder that being ourselves is priceless!

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    • Thank you, Annemarie! I’m glad you were inspired by what I wrote. Yes, yes, being ourselves has such a high value! I love that what became a necessity for me, which seemed to have a high “cost” on one hand, is paying off so generously on the other. Plus I love how it multiplies when I share about it. Thanks again for what you wrote.

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  2. you said it well! and knowing you throughout that process, i can see what you mean by being “yourself now” and being willing to let go of yourself of the past” you rock Christy!

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    • Thanks, Markey! I appreciate your kind witnessing as well as the role you played during my transition. I’ll never forget the powerful vision board you had me make and how reluctant I was at first and then how excited I was when it turned out to be so aligned to me. Sometimes we don’t grasp what we know until we see it! That board from 2008 is a stunningly accurate portrayal of my 2013 life.

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  3. I am not sure i would have been able to do that.. bravo to you!! I was forced into my own business after 9/11. But since then i have grown a business into success and now looking to build on even more..

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  4. Christy, I still can’t help but marvel about the connection we’ve made. I can totally relate to your IBM post (except for the fact that I’ve never worked at IBM!). I look forward to exploring your blog some more. In the meantime, you might be interested in *meeting* an author I’m currently working with. Her book has just been chosen one of the NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winners for Summer 2013 in the “spirituality” category. I’ll introduce you to her (@SheilaApplegate) via twitter…

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  5. Well done for admitting to yourself that you were not happy and for having the courage to do something about it. Staying in such an unhappy position is detrimental to health and wellbeing. It takes a brave person to step out from the shadows but the rewards are worth the effort. I love the title I’ll Be Myself – not just a number in amongst 100’s of other numbers…..

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    • Thanks Diane, I appreciate your visit and kind words. Yes, misery definitely undermines health! What a relief not to be one of 100’s (really, one of 10,000’s or even 100,000’s!) and get to live an authentic life. Glad my post resonated!

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  6. WOW! What an inspiring story, Christy! Bless you! I was earning a 6 figure income and after 15 years, was replaced by an agency. I struggled at first and now, I am doing something that I truly enjoy and love. It was difficult but well worth it in the end. I’m not earning 6 figures…yet…and really don’t need to do so…I prefer to help other women get healthy and start their businesses. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  7. Wow, that took courage. Even though I left my corporate job, just walked away with no guarantee either…you had a degree, I’m sure a bigger paycheck, but also more stress. How inspiring your story is Christy, I’ll bet more women over 50 will re-think their futures now that you have shared your past.

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    • Thanks, Carla! It’s interesting how attached we become to what we had or the perception of it, anyway. What appeared so “rich” was actually leaving me bankrupt in other ways. I hope my story inspires women and men of all ages to prioritize their inner compasses over what society or family considers valuable. Glad you too found a new, more fulfilling direction.

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  8. As a retired career counselor with 30 years experience I can relate to your story in 2 ways. Firstly, I’m so happy you explored & found a new area that resonated with you BEFORE you finally left IBM. It may seem to you in hindsight that you couldof, shouldof left the job sooner, but everything was not aligned. When you did leave, it was the right time.
    Secondly, my story in brief. I was enjoying retirement for 8 years but not feeling fulfilled. MY life always had meaning & working with people, I knew I made a difference. I was an extraordinary civil servant & met many an ex IBMer. I was always looking for something to excite me, but was clueless. Took a class because I liked pretty beads & now 6 years later I have a business I am passionate about. I share my journey into beading thru my last years blogs. Now that Ive arrived so to speak, my blogs are taking me in another direction. So glad you joined our group.

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    • Roslyn, thanks for stopping by and posting. I believe everything we do, even those things we ultimately regret, occur at the right time. Even my misery was perfect for me. 🙂

      I’m curious where you live since you met many ex-IBM’ers, if you feel like sharing. I worked at four different IBM locations between my semesters as a co-op student and after I left graduate school.

      How fantastic you found your passion plus the bonus of expressing yourself creatively! So where is your blog taking you? Sounds exciting!

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  9. I know exactly how you feel. I was on a good wage but in a job I hated. I would cry on a regular basis because I didn’t want to go, or was fed up there.
    I’m now self employed, took a massive risk into Personal Training, not even knowing if I would like it.
    I’m now happier then ever on half the money :-).

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  10. Well done Christy for taking such a brave step. My story’s a little similar in that I’ve downsized my music teaching practice, though not because I didn’t enjoy it, as I enjoy my teaching too! However, when I got diagnosed with sleep apnoea and realised how common it is, yet most people being undiagnosed, I knew I had to do something to change this. I’d lost my own mother at her young age of 49 to sleep apnoea and didn’t want others to go through this. Whilst I’m on nowhere near the income I was, I’m helping to save lives and for people to live healthier lives too 🙂 I still run my teaching on a smaller scale, as this is also rewarding to me.

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    • Thanks, Kath. How hard to lose your mother when she was so young yet how satisfying it must be to help others with the same condition! What a lovely, inspiring transformation. Thank you for sharing.

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      • Yes my mother will be proud looking down on me, and if her life hadn’t been cut short by sleep apnoea she’d be here with me now raising awareness and supporting our fellow sufferers – that’s the kind of person she was 🙂

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    • Yes, Norma, I did appear to have it all but you’re so right about the pointlessness of being miserable all those hours. Plus the misery didn’t stop when I left work for the day, either. I appreciate your encouraging words. I’m not sure I’m reaching for stars but I’m definitely immersed in meaning and living a life of purpose now.

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  11. It takes such bravery to do what you did, not many people could. My sister is in a similar situation and wants to flip her life to become a healer. Amazing stuff! I’m proud of you and how you ventured through!

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    • Hi Gilly,
      Thanks for your comment and kind words. What I did doesn’t seem brave to me, more like I eventually had to either shoot myself out of the cannon or wither where I was. Good luck to your sister and may she find just what she needs to reinvent her life!

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    • Nice to meet you too, Dawn! True grit or true desperation in my case. I suspect it’s just a matter of getting to the point where staying just doesn’t seem possible any more which took a long, long time for me. Perhaps the “grit” was building the pearl of my new life. 😉

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  12. Being in the wrong place, doing the wrong work, eats us from the inside out. Not only does it not nurture us, Christy, I believe it actually sucks at our soul. The financial comfort of a secure job can “sound” good, but I know I’ve never been willing to live it, despite an MBA from Wharton and wonderful opportunities. Thanks for voicing it so eloquently!

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    • I absolutely agree, Sharon. Every day I felt further and further depleted. Congratulations on being well aligned to your own knowing, I was oblivious for so many years! Glad my post resonated with you and thanks for your post.

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    • Hi Lorii,
      Thanks for your comment and interest. My new career is a constant source of replenishment! I love what I do, the unique way I do it, my impact on my clients’ lives which stuns and humbles me both – suffice it to say I could go on and on about this enrichment. Creating a life specific to who I am as a person and soul lends itself to a special sort of resonance. I feel blessed every day.

      I’m glad you asked because I enjoyed responding and remembering yet again how lucky I am. 🙂

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