About the Books
I began my writing journey in 2006 writing non-fiction. My first book, Falling in Love With Work was published in 2011 and I’m working on my second, From Boardroom to Beach Chair, which I hope to publish in 2015.
But for the last ten months, a story kept running through my head that I felt compelled to write and it became my first novel! I’m currently working on its sequel, which I hope to publish in Spring 2015.
The World is Decorated With Stars
My debut novel presents a love story for the ages. It tells two parallel stories of two couples, both named Abigail and Matthew, living in Massachusetts. This meticulously researched story deftly alternates between centuries and has a backdrop rooted in historical events.
Matthew and his wife Abigail live in Nantucket in the 1800s. As a sea captain during the height to the decline of the golden era of whaling, Matthew leaves for years at a time, often conflicted between staying home with his family and his love of the sea. Meanwhile Abigail heads their household, raises their children, and runs her family’s business.
The Matt and Abby of 2008 are successful heads of their own businesses in Boston and Nantucket. Unaware that they were husband wife in a previous life, they begin a relationship as business partners. Faced with modern-day challenges and the financial crisis, their friendship blossoms into something more.
Falling in Love With Work and From Boardroom to Beach Chair
Most of us fantasize about what it would be like to walk away from work. I did it.
On the surface, I had it all: a great job as CEO of a $100 million company, offices in thirty countries, and travel around the world. However, my great job was killing me because I couldn’t keep work in perspective. I let it take over my life and was exhausted, overworked, overweight, and endlessly running on a hamster wheel.
When it became too much, I took an unpaid sabbatical and spent months regaining a sense of balance in my life. I explored what drove me to work in such a destructive way and discovered many insights about work, and more importantly, what made me happy at work.
Falling in Love with Work offers a series of observations that, taken together, made me realize that there were many, many things that made me happy at work. When I added them all up, I knew I could be happy at work again. This is not, however, your traditional self-help book with step-by-step instructions.
Being happy at work is a complex issue and, as such, has a complex answer. Maybe there is a formula or a structured process that can help you find the answer. But that’s not what you’ll find in this book. Instead, this book is organized in the way that I recovered from my burnout. It gently guides readers to explore their own thoughts and feelings about work, and what makes them happy at work.
I hope that my book is especially helpful today when the world faces such an uncertain financial future and people may stay longer in their current jobs, and in some cases, feel even more trapped. My hope is that it will help reconnect readers to the feelings they had when they first started working, when work was fulfilling, enriching, even fun. The lessons in this book reveal to the reader that finding a new course does not always mean dramatic change—externally. You can continue on the journey you’ve chosen, but with a carry-on suitcase instead of over-sized, too-heavy-to-lift checked luggage.
Falling in Love with Work shares many key elements that help make me happy at work, such as:
We’re human beings, not human “doings.” Any time off from work, even a little, can restore and rejuvenate you.
Too often we feed the urgent while starving the important. We’re happier at work when we recognize the difference.
It’s perfectly fine to “Find out what you don’t do well, and don’t do it.” (To quote Alf, the 1980’s TV character.)
Be happy, now. We often postpone happiness waiting for a one-time event and if asked, cannot explain what makes us happy at work. It’s worth knowing.
From Boardroom to Beach Chair
This is my story of my recovery and how I fell in love with work all over again. I felt trapped by work and decided the only way out was to quit my job. Not only had I lost the feelings of joy and fulfillment that work could create, I was emotionally at the other extreme—I was addicted to the “dark side” of work—always needing to work longer and longer hours to get things done.
In the end, I took an unpaid sabbatical and ran for the hills—or more accurately, the beach on Nantucket Island. Like all addicts, I had to find my way back to a healthier, happier place and an important part of my recovery was my finding an unlikely teacher, Mike Phelps, the Norton Simon Professor and Chair of the Molecular and Medical Pharmacology Department at UCLA. My emails with Mike became the GPS to my new life.
When I left my job, I was at the very end of my rope. All I knew was that I needed to stop at any cost the workday life that had depleted me over the last 23 years. What was my plan? Go to the one place I knew would bring me peace: the beach at Nantucket.
I knew eventually I would have to get a new job: I was too young (46) to stop working for good and I couldn’t afford it. But I didn’t have the energy to make strategic decisions and create a post-sabbatical career plan.
I also felt guilty that I didn’t understand why I was leaving a job and career to which many people might aspire, but I was just too tired to figure it out. I didn’t really know why I was leaving—I just knew that I needed to go to Nantucket because that was the one place on Earth where I was always happy and peaceful.
Shortly after starting my sabbatical, I began an email exchange with Mike Phelps, the Norton Simon Professor and Chair of the Molecular and Medical Pharmacology Department at UCLA. Mike was a colleague of my husband, Michael. He sent us a book about the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and invited us to visit it with him. I sent him a thank you email, which turned out to be the first in a summer-long online dialogue.
From the very first exchange, my emails with Mike were intense and focused on what is important if you want to live a life full of purpose and meaning. Mike shared with me nuggets of wisdom that startled me awake; these lessons made me think deeply about what mattered most to me and I rediscovered feelings and desires about work I thought I had lost. How could a complete stranger have such a profound impact on my life? The reader learns, along with me, that we each have our own “Mike Phelps” inside of us who can guide us to what’s important in our own lives.
From Boardroom to Beach Chair is a story of discovery, or more accurately, rediscovery. I rediscovered all the things that I loved about work when I first started working, but somehow had lost after 23 years. Click here to read an excerpt.
Coming in 2015.