After a 33-year career as a college biology professor and/or adminstrator, and a six-year elected position as leader of my religious community, it happened–I joined the ranks of the unemployed. I’ve never been “between jobs” before, and it made me empathize with the unemployed (of course, sisters are never really unemployed: we are always seeking to do the will of God and furthering the mission of our community…and besides, someone will always find something for us to do)!

But as a newly “unemployed” person, I began to notice things. For example, when someone meets you, the first thing they want to know is what you DO. They don’t particularly want to know who you ARE (like, an Ursuline Sister of Maple Mount, Kentucky; a native New Mexican of Irish-Scottish-Austrian descent; a lover of nature, including insects; an incurable optimist…) no, they want to know what you DO. Well! does saying you’re “between jobs” make you sound like a loser? So I found myself saying that I was a “former” this or that, which seemed somehow unsatisfactory and even unhealthy. But there I was–no title, no salary–a situation many of us are experiencing these days.

I was lucky; I got to take advantage of a transition program that my community offered me, which gave me the time to think about what I should do next, and to explore this new “self” and what it might have the potential to become. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you what I learned about transitions…