Good question, NattyP! I'll dive right in.
I was tossed out in 1983. Pregnant with my second child.
I'm reading that book titled Take Back Your Life. Some of it's a little late, but some of it is still about what's banging around in my head. Highly recommend it.
One thing the book recommends, that I did, was watch TV and read newspapers. Man, a whole world kept chugging along while I was kept locked up! I especially didn't know any of the primetime TV shows, and when I went back to school, that's the sort of stuff people would hang around and chat about. I felt like I'd just descended from a UFO!
But what struck me about your post, NattyP, was the question about struggling with "workaholic tendencies." Yes yes and yes!! I STILL feel guilty about taking a day off. I still feel like the world depends on me making my deadlines. As I get older, it's wearing off a little bit, but it's still pretty much there. When I had some people I managed, I really had to watch myself because even then I had a dim awareness that I was just a teensy bit pathological about being "dedicated" to a cause.
What do I still enjoy? Doing nothing! The small slices of time off had to be so packed with personal errands and stuff, that I never could just plop down and just be. I also enjoyed having time to spend with my daughters as they grew up, being able just to hang out at the park with them and not fret over "stats."
But the absolute best thing that I can do now that I couldn't do for my eight years on staff was <drum roll> reject other viewpoints and speak my mind!!! Aaaahhhh... the right to call it as I see it! THAT is heaven!
What a world of freedom it is!
"Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I."