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Burnout coupled with a health scare gave me the clarity I needed to pull the plug on my career.

0 2 years ago
woman standing on a bridge with her hands in her pockets
Kimberly Eng.
  • Kimberly Eng is a former account manager at Amazon. She previously worked at Nike.
  • She decided to take a career sabbatical in January after experiencing burnout since summer 2019.
  • Eng plans to focus on her health, run, volunteer, and realign herself before returning to work.

In January, I quit my job as an account manager. After spending more than 20 years at Amazon and Nike, I didn’t resign unexpectedly.

A career sabbatical had long been a distant dream of mine, and the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with a health scare gave me the clarity I needed to pull the plug — for now.

I didn’t choose this exact moment — it chose me. Let me explain.

I’ve been blessed with an amazing career

I’ve traveled across the US, worked with talented colleagues from all backgrounds, negotiated with customers, met aspiring entrepreneurs, and delivered consequential business results for some of the world’s leading companies and clients.

I’ve also worked long hours, spent a lot of my time in airports, spent weeks away from my family, and battled for every promotion I’ve ever received. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, and I’m grateful for the opportunities along the way. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

But in the summer of 2019, I started to burn out

The battle of the city commute consumed my day. The after-hours emails disrupted family time. The deliverables seemed never-ending, and I saw my family less and less.

The days, weeks, and months started to fly faster with each passing year. The short weeks of vacation were never enough. I began to feel disconnected from myself and the people I loved. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel — not going anywhere or enjoying the ride.

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