“No matter who you are, your life will have storms; you will encounter discouragement, doubt, and defeat. The difficulties you will face will amaze and overwhelm you at times, but it is your very response to such trials that will build your character and determine your destiny.”-Michael Middleton
You always have to be a careful when you talk about your employment when on the Internet, so I will tread lightly here. But about a month ago I was asked to resign from my job and given six weeks to find a new job. Where I was once happy, now I was forlorn. This was a shock for sure. I have been working for over 30 years and have never once been asked to step down from a job. Usually, I am the one leaving the job moving onto bigger and better things so this came as a surprise to me. Even worse than this was now having to face the prospect of going home and telling my wife the “good news” about the possibility of not being able support the family. Strangely, though, as I drove home underneath soggy skies, I didn’t feel panicked or downhearted. I had worked hard, honestly and competently, I really had nothing to be ashamed of.
But regardless of how I felt about myself at the time, here I was essentially out of a job. As someone who has countlessly talked about adversity as being part of God’s plan, part of what we had signed up for before coming down to earth, I guess I would now have to live what I had preached from my behind my computer screen. It is painful to have to take your own medicine because then you learn how hard it is to swallow, or worse you learn just how bad your own advice is. I would typically classify mine under the heading of “ill-advised”.
“We always think of failure as the antithesis of success, but it isn’t. Success often lies just the other side of failure.”
Surprisingly, my wife took the news about as well as she could. I mean she didn’t carp, henpeck or browbeat me and that was a good thing, right? Pretty much she said “it is done” and immediately got on the computer and started to religiously redo all of her budgeting spreadsheets. Among the many potential difficulties this could have put us in was that this resignation was ill-timed (Is there really any good time to be let go?) because we had already committed to remodeling our kitchen and it was too late for us to back out. In fact, the remodel was to start the next week.
After I gave her the job loss briefing, I did what any respectable man would do and I went upstairs and uncontrollably cried into my big boy pants, wildly throwing punches in the air. When I was just about to break into my angry dance a la Kevin Bacon in Footloose, my wife who had just come up the stairs stopped me, saving us both from a lot of grief and some mild embarrassment.
To her credit, she didn’t mollycoddle me or feel sorry for me, but gently explained to me that big boy pants were for wearing and not crying into, then handed me a chocolate-colored pocket square so I could finish weeping. About an hour later after my tear stains had dried , I came bumbling downstairs in my big boy pants feeling a lot better about myself.
As someone famous once said, “when you don’t have a job, then your job is to find a job”. So that is what I did in earnest and took it as a challenge to change. Looking for a job is definitely a humbling experience. I can’t say I like it. I have a hard time selling myself. I have a hard time convincing myself that I should be hired. It takes a lot of convincing, but once I get past persuading myself I usually do okay in interviews.
I did have my parents help me prep for a Skpe interview. I have to admit I was unprepared for the questions they peppered me with. I am pretty sure I failed the mock interviews. It’s difficult to pass off all of that job flim-flam to the very people who brought you up, changed your diapers, taught you to eat, walk, read and write and more importantly taught you to never stretch the truth. Despite my struggles, my parents, as always, were positive and encouraging even though my performance was atrocious.
“Everyone’s life is different, but all of us experience hard times. Sometimes we may feel sad or lonely. Sometimes we may be sick or confused. But there is one thing we can always do to make life sweeter and more joyful. We can be grateful!”-Dieter Uchtdorf
Despite all of the agonizing and worry, I did end up finding a job. Mercy fell on me like a gentle rain from heaven. In hindsight, my plight ended up just being a tiny bump in the road of life, but it was a good test of the tiny faith I do have. However, not sure my faith wouldn’t have wavered if the job search had gone on any longer. It’s no easy task to find a job in six weeks. I was both lucky and blessed. A little bit of rough patch in life is not the worst thing. Many people would do away, in vain, with pain and suffering. A promise they can never keep. And I think it’s been proven time and time again that those who promise to take away pain and suffering only compound the existing the misery (See Venezuela as a most recent example) rather than make anything better. Trials and tribulations, while not wishing to take on more than have come my way in this life, are all good if in the end they make me a little kinder, make me more understanding of others, and make me a bit more cheery, and a tad braver.
I have to thank all the people who were praying for me. How can you ever dislike someone who’s praying for you when you’re going through a rough patch? I was genuinely surprised by all the people that cared. But now they can pray for people much more deserving of their prayers than me. My wife, my rock, took everything in stride. I think we celebrated by experimenting with crock pot mac n’ cheese because our kitchen is non-functioning. I’ll just say this about crock pot mac n’ cheese: straight-up gluten wrapped in melted cheese is an acquired taste. Not sure that recipe should be out on the world-wide web without out a warning of what it’ll do to your insides. But that’s okay, I’ll eat more salads because I still need to be able to fit into my big boy pants, which I have been wearing a lot more as of late.