}

March 8, 2017

My New Chapter Begins

A photo from last summer, but with an entire summer off coming up due to leaving my job,  I can't wait to spend time with the garden, and the dogs. After 27 years of working at one job, a bit of time to engage with the garden is just what I need.


Last Friday My position at Hasbro was 'eliminated'.  I'm good, thank you. Call it what you will - 'laid off', 'let go', 'position terminated', the truth is we all sort of knew that this was inevitable. When I began working in 1988 it seemed like a fine design job - but maybe one where I would stay 1 or 2 years.

Flash forward nearly 28 years, and here I am. A great ride. Exciting, always challenging, and really - I wouldn't have stayed so long if it wasn't interesting and stimulating.

I know that my position and career confused many people. "why is this guy writing a gardening blog when he also worked in the corporate world?" The confusion came both ways as well. It wasn't exactly an advantage, and my identity was muddled because of it. At work, my colleagues thought it was novel as well -- I often would say something like "oh, and I keep bees and raise show dogs," Until someone blurted out "did he tell you that he grows sweet peas and was in Martha Stewart last month!". Now, I can be a 'one-trick-pony'.

Tuberous nasturtiums bloom in the greenhouse in March - now I can watch them open, day-to-day in the warm, spring sunshine - rather than checking on them for an hour or so, every weekend.


I have some time now to think about next steps.  A year or so off to regroup, to address all of the cliche terms like "this is a new chapter" or "this is the first day of the rest of your life.". I'm OK, and fortunate to have some savings and a cushion to land on - at least for a while. I do wake up in the middle of the night worrying if I might lose the house next year, or not be able to pay the heat on the greenhouse, but I will cross those bridges when I get there. I have so many ideas, and so many things that I want to do now, that I kind-of feel confident that something will take off.

This is my transition week then. I need to buy a new laptop at the Apple Store this weekend, and then set up a new blogging studio - new software, new Adobe Photoshop and a new photo storage system. So bear with me as I upgrade digitally. By late next week, I should be a better and more efficient blogging machine - I am so excited.

Go on - say it--- My garden here? It's is going to look soooooooo incredible this year!

Those of us who keep corporate positions know that this is always an inevitable reality. In some ways, I found similarities with fellow garden blogger Margaret Roach and her career path. Not that I was a big VP at a publishing company, but close. As a principal at Hasbro, I had great demands of both time and talent. I never minded that, but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that there were times when I wished that I could have been working on something personal.  The day-to-day excitement can be invigorating for a creative but also a little exhausting. Mostly, it was the time demands that got to me. I always felt stretched and pressured, finding it challenging to fit both my lives into one, single life.

 If you read Margaret's book about transitioning from a big, corporate job to life in the country, then you know exactly of what I am referring to here, and in the end,  it was this escape that I sometimes dreamed about at night.

I was looking for Margaret's book all weekend  ( I think I lost  it). I wanted to re-read her chapters about transitioning, as part of me doesn't quite know what to do with myself (don;t worry - I'll figure it out!).  My copy of 'And I Shall Have Some Peace There" must have been loaned to a friend, so I'll order a new one.


I build my greenhouse after boarding a flight on 9'11 to Boston made me realize that some things are more important than a job and making money.


So-- here is the strange thing -  I noticed a peculiar fact while searching for Margaret's book in my book cases - there are many garden writers who began their garden writing career during this life-transition stages.  I suppose it makes sense. Wayne Winterrowd and both of the Beekman Boys come to mind. The end of a job often means the opening of a new career.  Getting laid off may be the best thing that ever happened to me, who knows.


For now? I am setting up new computers - and guess what? I am heading off to the Philadelphia Flower Show Friday and Saturday - a show which I could never make time to attend.

Join me as I grow with plants, this next year. Who knows what will be next?

34 comments :

  1. Looking forward to where your life takes you. I hope you blog about it so we can peek over your shoulder as you go.

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    1. I think that won't be a problem! Thanks

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  2. Congratulations on your new life adventures! Life - it constantly surprises!

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    1. Thanks Patricia, but I think I am ok with fewer surprises for a while!

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  3. Congratulations! Hope you get everything you want plus more.

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  4. Peter van Baaren-Grob2:42 AM

    OK, get in that marvellous greenhouse of yours and play https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3r9ifssLZQ on your I-pad. So many great things ahead of you! Take care.

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    1. Oh, Jessye Norman and Richard Strauss - how well you know me! Thanks for sharing this!

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  5. You have some excellent role models for transitioning into your next phase. I am certain you will figure it out just like they were able to do. Best of luck!

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    1. Thanks Michael! Looking forward to it.

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  6. Congratulations! I look forward to seeing where you take this new opportunity. Oh, and maybe write a book? I'll buy it, I know others will

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    1. A book would be terrific or podcasts. Lis

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  7. Best of luck, Matt!
    Being myself a weekend gardener, living in a capital and sitting my hours in a office every day, I'm getting all things very well you're experssing here. In some ways, I wish the same thing to happen to me.
    Snowy greetings from Estonia!

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  8. From an entirely selfish point of view I'm thrilled because I can't wait to see what you do next and I feel like all of your readers will reap the rewards of your newfound freedom. For what's worth we are in almost the same place, my husband parting with the job he had for 25 years at the end of last year. We're a few months in now and it's a little dicey, I won't lie, but we're happier and that is a big deal. Enjoy the garden show!

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  9. CONGRATULATIONS! I can't imagine that you won't go "from strength to strength" as the English say. It is crazy in our binary world that your personal life was not so much recognized as an asset at your corporate job (and no you're not alone in that!) and yes, it's the time that is demanded in such jobs that make them so onerous. It's amazing what you have done despite those demands. In another place and time you might be recognized as the "renaissance man" that you truly are. All very best of luck for the next chapter and I will certainly be watching and cheering you on - and hopefully benefitting at a remove via the blog.

    On another subject? What about Bob? Is he still with you? My hubby and I talked very seriously about having him but landed on the side of "quite challenging" - with our two cats - and other factors. But if noone has taken him, please let me know? (fotoparadis@outlook.com) or post here? Thx so much. ALL BEST!

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  10. Jennifer Mattus12:12 PM

    Wow! How exciting! NOW you can finally plan a trip to visit your GA family :-)

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  11. You know??? The best thing you can do for yourself right now, is relax and take some much needed "You Time". Let things unfold naturally and let the universe guide you...you'll be just fine :-)))

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  12. It's going to be a great adventure! Remember I am available to co-pilot garden related field trips under the guise of "research" on a moments notice

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  13. Hello!
    This is my very first comment here as I discovered the blog one month ago. I can't imagine that my arrival on this site triggered such a radical change of life :)
    I wish you all the best and it's a great proof of courage to leave a job for "nothing" (i.e. no other job on short term), I'm only 36 but I've been considering this option for a while and there's always something that keeps me thinking "Ludo, you need this job to pay the rent, to raise the kid, to... whatever". Kudos!
    I read a big part of your articles and it makes me feel as if kindness and wisdom are glowing from you, I'm sure you'll make great benefit from this period of your life and I'm sure we will too, thanks to your future activities on this website.
    Cheers,
    Ludo

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  14. I too want to congratulate you. Similar circumstance happened to me last year. I was a healthcare executive and saw lay offs and EVRP ( early retirement packages) coming. I was one of the luck ones offered a EVRP. It was the best Christmas I ever had and these packages had been discussed openly for nine months. Thinking I might be offered one, I worked with outside experts ( financial etc) to prepare just in case. Well I was offered a deal and took it. I am so joyful because I can now explore other adventures just like you. I am taking great classes-!photography, in depth gardening, financial
    Planning and having a blast . Having the time to do these things is a blessing. Love your blog!!!

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  15. Congratulations! I started my career as a landscape designer at the age of 53 and have never been so fulfilled!

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  16. Anonymous6:06 PM

    dear matt
    those bumps in the path? they ARE the path....
    your readers respond in a way that shows that we believe you have unusual gifts and are skilled at using them. i agree with arlfred0508--trust the universe and smile at fear!
    all best, especially at this time--
    ~ 02568

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  17. I feel you man. On Tuesday (the 7th) the software company I work at laid off a third of our dev team. It was brutal. Watching all those friends go and being so mad that someone could do this. Tending my seedlings has been a real escape for me these past few days. Caring for them and planning out my spring season helps me calm down and re-center.

    So has watching Leslie Jones from SNL on Weekend Update go on about how you're never too old to do anything.

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  18. I am going to say congratulations, because you will likely have a great opportunity come your way. I went through a complete career change in my mid 30's after the company I worked for changed hands, leaving me with no job. I used it as an opportunity to turn a garden avocation into a vocation. Best of luck to you!

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  19. Carol7:21 AM

    Time to do what you were born to do! You will be even more successful than you currently are. I follow a lot of blogs, but yours is by far my favorite because of your emphasis on plants and your expertise. Best of luck to you.

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  20. Congratulations! You are about to start the best year of your life! I know it! I lived it myself when I quit my corporate job! That summer gardening season was the best summer that I can remember!

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  21. I am so excited for you! Retiring early was the best decision I ever made. I was able to focus on the garden and actually get paid to talk about it now. Who knew? I was only bored for about three months and started my blog as a hobby.

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  22. I know the unknown can be a little nerve-wracking, but this sounds like it could be the start of something wonderful! Enjoy some time off and finding your new direction!

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  23. If you can afford it, give yourself a travel year. Or at least several months. It will give you lots of time for your ideas to coalesce and let you see some of the biomes you've always wanted to see. Visit me in Ecuador. Hit Chile, South Africa, Vietnam and New Guinea.

    Or if you can afford it, just be retired and do what you want.

    It's a big shock, no matter how we prepare, to be unemployed. The key is to have things you want to do. That will not be a problem for you.

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  24. As a long-time self-employed person, I'd like to congratulate you on ditching the baggage of outside employment! I've never posted, but have been reading for a year. I especially enjoy the artwork/typography you include and the nods to vintage books. Thanks for providing all us crazy garden people with thoughtful entertainment. It really is appreciated.

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  25. Hi Matt,
    Looking forward to seeing your garden next year.
    Best of luck!

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  26. I'm sure you can find lots of contract design work. Pays well and you can do from home!

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  27. Good luck in your new life, sounds just as good to me as your old one, if not even more exciting!

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  28. Ahh! I feel so lucky to have just read your post. I have just left my "real job" to move to a farm in Iowa and it is so refreshing to hear another plant person making a big jump. I look forward to following your journey!

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