I once heard from someone wise, my mother, that the three biggest stresses in life were changing jobs, changing locations and having a child. I thought earlier this summer that we had all three in the bag. My wife graduated from residency and was starting a new job, hence the buying of a house and moving. Somewhere along the way we decided to get pregnant before we got too old and we succeeded in that endeavor too. I thought we were done but life has a way of surprising you.
I had a job that I loved mostly because I was in an employee owned company and we didn't have many employees when we started. Since I have started, the original group of employees, less than three dozen, have purchased several more companies and expanded the business dramatically to the tune of about 25% a year. All the shares I have collected over the years have secured my nest egg and for that I am fortunate. But over the last year or two, things began to change. We were getting big enough and the right mix of people were given power and things started going downhill. There was a lack of communication and I felt like I was at times spinning my wheels in the mud when working on projects that used to get full support from everyone. I wasn't liking my job anymore though I still loved the company.
So when my boss retired, I thought long and hard about how to fix the company and my suggestion was to hire someone over all the different areas who didn't have a vested interest who could force the communication. I mentioned it in the right ears and soon, we hired just such a person. Unfortunately, he was someone whom I have worked with in the past and whom I knew was hired to do one other thing besides force communication and that was to chop a few heads.
Although I only met with him a handful of times over a couple weeks, I began to regain my enthusiasm for my job because everyone of the things that I had felt needed to be done were started. Communication was improving and my wheels were starting to move on solid ground again. We were finally on the right track. Then the new guy, after being there for two weeks, called me into a meeting which when I walked into it saw that it was just with him and the Human Resources guy. I knew right then my goose was cooked and it was.
It wasn't the first time we had laid off people but it was the first time we laid off people during a banner year of profitability so I was a little shocked at first. They were gentlemen about it and so I was allowed to go back to my desk and pack up my stuff and carry it out with dignity. I said goodbye to my colleges, arranged a goodbye lunch the next day and headed to my new home. My new commute of 20 miles to work would last only four days.
I wasn't the only one laid off so I have company. Of my peers, I am definitely the most able to handle the financial blow of losing the bread winning job of a marriage since by the time my severance runs out, I wouldn't have been the bread winner anymore anyway. I have been laid off before so I have had previous experience which really helps with going through all the emotional steps of being laid off. I went through all of them pretty much before I even got home to tell my wife. I had a lot in savings despite just writing a huge check for a house and still waiting on the check from the sale of my house in a couple weeks. In short, other than not getting up and going to work 5 days a week, things are pretty much the same in our household right now. I am very fortunate and I have been giving my thanks to God a little extra these days for leading my down this path.
My wife also took the news well, especially it is the second time in our life that I have had to break that kind of news to her. She was more concerned about my sanity but I don't think she needs to be. I think I'm taking it quite well and have enjoyed my first week and a half of being unemployed (though still being paid thanks to a generous severance package). In fact, I am already on tasks that I thought I might not get to until later this fall and I've lost nearly ten pounds already. I attribute the latter from a relatively sedentary job behind a desk and in a lab where there were always chairs handy to one in which I have literally been sweating my butt off for six hours a day. Granted I have been enjoying my after lunch nap but even with it, I have been working my muscles a bit harder. That muscle in my head might start atrophying but I'll worry about it later.
I'm not sure what the future will bring for me but right now, I am looking forward to finding out. For now, I am hanging up my engineering skills and don't plan on using them in the foreseeable future, at least in the manufacturing industry which has been sour on engineers pretty much since I graduated college. I am going to work on fixing up our new house full time, instead of the planned nights and weekends, probably into this winter. By then, our new daughter will arrive and I will be a stay at home dad while the wife goes out and earns our bread doing what she loves. Since she didn't take her first choice for a job so that I could stay close to the job that I loved and now no longer have, if she doesn't like it here, we certainly can move a bit more easily than before.
Long term, I am contemplating remaking myself into something other than an engineer. I have several ideas for starting up hobbies/businesses that I love to do but couldn't justify it when I had a salaried and golden shares in a fast expanding company. But that is out there a ways and I first have to get used to all our other changes first. If there is an Olympic record for changes in a year, I would like to see someone who can beat two career changes, a new baby and buying and selling a house through a mortgage broker from hell. I have a feeling that I now have the gold medal in that category.