Taking a Career Break to Do Things You Love

In Chapter 13 of 15 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, entrepreneur Audrey Parker French answers "How Are You Learning to Apply Your Passions in New Ways?"  French shares how taking time away from work has given her more time and energy to devote to her passions.  She creates time for singing in choir and physical activity while embracing married life. 

Audrey Parker French returns to CYF for her Year 3 interview after a one-year sabbatical from work and getting married.  She co-founded CLEAResult, an energy management consulting firm.  In 2010, CLEAResult ranked #144 in the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies.  In late 2010, CLEAResult was sold to General Catalyst Partners.  She graduated from Wake Forest University. 


Erik Michielsen: How are you learning to apply your passions in new ways?

Audrey Parker French: Well, it’s kind of coming naturally, I found that I’ve had time to rejoin a choir, I’ve been a singer all my life in my spare time, and I really just – it’s kind of a natural thing. 

I’ve had the time and I’ve wanted to get back into that and I have more time and energy to devote to it than I did before, so it’s actually having an even more fulfilling impact on my life than it did before when I was trying to wedge it in between a work day and you know, work business travel and all sorts of projects, I can actually have time for singing. I can have time for a healthier exercise routine. Physical health is one of my passions and before it was not something that I allowed or made the time – really made the time to do. And again, that was my choice but to have the time for those things, to have the time with family, to have the time to go spend that – spend time outside.

My husband and I both really love the outdoors and we can just go and just sit somewhere and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. I’ve always loved nature and it’s something that I’ve gotten to enjoy more now that I’ve had more time.

I also realized that for about the 5 or 6 years that I’ve been working so hard, I pretty much missed all the movies and pop culture happenings that had been going on in the world, and so my husband’s had fun kind of saying, “Well, let me show you this movie that you probably never heard of.” Because it came out in 2008 or whatever and it’s true, I’ve gotten caught up on movies and things that have happened, you know, in the world that I just – I didn’t have time for before.