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NABBW Member Tammy Hader Explains Why She Pivoted to “The Path Not Taken” in Order to Leave a Meaningful Legacy

By Tammy Hader for the NABBW

After 30 years of defining myself as an accountant and developing an adequately successful career, I decided to retire and explore a different path. This task sounds simple on paper, but translation to reality is anything but simple.

I realized I had to answer several questions for myself, including:

  • Where do I want to venture from here?
  • What would be stimulating and fulfilling for the second half of my existence?
  • How can I make a difference in the world, leave a mark after I am gone?

When you start thinking about it, you realize these are tough questions. Life is full of choices, each leading to another series of options, then another and another. Perhaps a path not taken could be my next identity. Are are the steps I eventually determined I needed to follow:

  1. How to Decide What’s Next

The thought of what to do next overwhelmed me until I slowed down and attacked the dilemma with a tactical approach. First, I narrowed the playing field by setting parameters for my search. I took the time to be honest about what I wanted, and what I did not want, out of a new career path. I took a year off, caught up on neglected projects around the house, and determined the boxes a new job needed to tick. I figured out I enjoy working from home, prefer to be my own boss, love having a flexible schedule, and wanted to exercise my brain to maintain cognitive health.

  1. Stay Within Your Parameters

I applied my wish list to potential jobs and produced a manageable number of options. I knew that selecting a path that stayed within the lines drawn by my parameters would be helpful to the achievement of my goals. After several months of thoughtful review of the history of me, regressive contemplation led me all the way back to the early 1980’s and Mrs. Ferrell’s high school English class. Decades ago, Mrs. Ferrell wrote a note on one of my essays that read, “I love the way you write.” So of course, I became an accountant. I was young, and Mrs. Ferrell’s praise of my talents simply did not correlate with career advice in my youthful mind. My mature perspective, however, now sees Mrs. Ferrell’s suggestion ticking all of my boxes. Words instead of numbers this time around.

  1. Expect the Unexpected

I am a planner. It’s who I am. The advice I often give to myself is to plan thoroughly and then go with the flow. Recognize when it is best to pivot to an alternate version of Plan A. Evolution happens and Plan B, C, or D can be the unexpected perfect direction to go.

My writing evolved in this way from random essays on Medium.com, eventually becoming an adventure I would not have initially predicted. These days, I have a contract with WebMD for monthly migraine blogs, I am a contributing author for the Daily Gift Book Series, and I am releasing my first solo book in mid-June 2023. Keep an eye out for “Walking Old Roads” and decide for yourself if Mrs. Ferrell was right or wrong.

Tammy Hader

The 18-year-old me made a choice over 40 years ago. As with so many of life’s junctions, neither road was right or wrong, just different. I do not regret having lived a life of spreadsheets; it’s been well balanced and profitable, as you might expect for an accountant.

Exploring the path not taken is stimulating and fulfilling for me for now. Time will tell if my writing influences the lives of others and becomes my legacy to the world or if it will only be a means of personal growth throughout the second half of my existence. Either way, the future will at minimum be interesting and with any luck, adequately successful.

Where do YOU plan to go from here? Best of luck to all of you out there who are contemplating pivoting to your path not taken.

Tammy Hader

www.tammyhader.com, mtdewers@outlook.com

Tammy Hader is a retired accountant turned essay writer at BizCatalyst360, Medium, and WebMD. She is an editor for the publication Journal of Journeys, and she is a contributing author in the Daily Gift Book Series.


NABBW Contributing Author

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