Saturday, May 31, 2008

Career Change

In November, 2000, I worked for Charles Schwab. At that time, the bottom fell out of the world as we knew it. Schwab employees were informed that there would be a company-wide lay-off within the next six months. Never in the history of the company had there been a lay-off before. We didn't quite know what to expect.

Rather than sit around worrying about it, I went on a good, long, expensive vacation. I took a bike tour to New Zealand and Australia for the entire month of April, 2001. I knew that within days of my return, we would be informed of the lay-offs. So, I had a month to contemplate what my next career move would be if I was laid off.

Crazy as it sounds, I decided I wanted to ride my bike for a living. I wasn't young enough or genetically gifted enough to be a pro racer (and women can't really make a full-time living as a bike racer anyways). Instead, I thought about becoming a bike messenger, a bicycle tour guide, and a cycling coach. We all know how that story ended.

I had decided that I didn't want to be a bicycle tour guide because they work too hard. Instead of simply riding a bike everyday, tour guides drive a van, haul luggage, solve problems, have to smile and be nice to the tourists, and are basically on call 24 hours a day. Since I'm kinda lazy and not a very nice person, I decided that wouldn't be a very good career match.

Alas, one of my friends has a bicycle tour company -- Undiscovered Country Tours. He's been asking me for years to work with him. I finally gave in, and this weekend I depart for the wine country to lead a week-long tour. I guess we'll see just how lazy and not nice I really am.

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