Within 60 Seconds
By Contributing Author The Major of Kay Nou = Our House
Can my sudden unemployment and all the stresses that come with it actually serve as an opportunity to draw closer to my children? Time will tell.
Within 60 seconds, I was relieved of the job that I no longer liked nor really wanted. After five seconds of shock, a sense of relief began. It was over. I didn’t have to do this anymore.
Anyone who has lost an undesirable job can identify with these feelings. For people with options, life is too short to be doing something you hate.
In my case, the “good fit” that I felt I had achieved with my new law firm, quickly proved to be illusory. There was a marked difference between my perception of the place and the reality of it. Also, the job that I took on was vastly different from the one described during the courtly interview.
When I came to this realization (a few months into the gig), I began a cursory job search. However, I tempered my efforts in light of the fact that I did not want to be perceived in the local legal community as a “quitter.” Instead, I decided to stick it out and make it work.
In the end, the kindest thing I can say is that it was just a bad fit.
Anyone who has lost a job can also identify with the waves of apprehension that follow the initial relief. The loss of the big paycheck (especially if you are the main breadwinner of the fam) is the Big Kahuna. It will pick you up and pile-drive you head-first into the sand. When you resurface, you’re like “Dude! Anyone seen my board?”
This particular surfer deals well with crisis. I’ve extricated a spouse and child from an earthquake-devasted region in which the local government completely ceased functioning. I rode out “The Perfect Storm” in a house on stilts on the outer banks of North Carolina in the early 1990s.
As I always do, I hit the ground running. Within 24 hours, I was ensconced in a law office gratuitously provided by a friend. I had an office, desk, phone, computer, and support staff at my disposal to assist me during my search process. Thank goodness for loyal friends.
From my new command post, I mounted a full-scale operation in support of my objective. Within the first week, I had been on three interviews, and had met with several potential partners. I set the nearly unobtainable goal of landing a job within a week. I was relentless in my pursuit. I followed up on every potential lead. I created opportunity through networking.
Not surprisingly, I failed to meet my totally unrealistic goal.
Now I’m into the next phase of this operation. It’s tantamount to a general setting his forces and exercising “battlefield patience.” It’s no different than a fisherman awaiting that telltale tug on one of his baited lines.
Taking a step back and examining the macro of the situation, my “vacation” could not have come at a better time. We are financially able to weather this thing (for a little while). My oldest son is leaving for college next week. My younger son is craving my attention.
Each of these scenarios present different challenges. To match up with my freshman-to-be, I have to work myself into his busy summer schedule. Most of his time is sopped up by the Bermuda Triangle of work—girlfriend—parties. Factoring in 10 hours of sleep (he is a teenager) and on-line gaming, there’s very little left for a parent who is beginning to realize that the deep impressions left in the blue chair in the corner will soon be all that is left of him around these parts. The good news is that his campus is only a little over an hour away.
My first grader is a whole ‘nutha bag of issues. Adopted from Haiti at 3 ½, my guy possesses a batch of particular needs that drive this cranky 47-year old up a wall. St. Francis of Assisi was allegedly of a disposition so patient and understanding that the birds of the field found comfort in his hands. I’d really like to see what St. Fran would do with my youngest. Honestly, I would stand in the background with a clipboard furiously scribbling notes. I’m sure I would learn something.
The Saturday after the axe fell, my family ventured forth on its weekly food shopping expedition. In light of our newly-imposed budget restraints, all members of the family came along to assist in trying to pair the weekly grocery tab (at times north of $300) down to its essentials. The biggest challenge fell to my 15-year old. She has always had an acquisitive nature. I don’t write about her much on this blog because it’s entitled Raising BOYS World.
Anyhow, everyone in the family stepped up. We cut out the frills and the bill was well below $200. I was so proud of my guys that I offered to buy everyone a treat on the spot. My wife wisely stopped me as this would have been diametrically opposed to the lesson presented by our new sitch. The next Saturday, our bill was even lower.
Now, we are trying to teach the gifts of conservation to our kids. Lights and ceiling fans are extinguished when we exit a room. Food is not wasted. Treats are…well, treats. They’re for special occasions. At times, these hard lessons appear to be sinking in. In short, my wife and I have become our depression-era grandparents.
The key to this (hopefully short) phase of our lives will be to capitalize on the opportunities while learning from the lashes. We are a family. We stick together – particularly during hard times.
That’s the bottom line.
Oh, and…if you hear of anything for trial lawyer with decent writing skills, please let me know.
About the Author: The Major is an attorney and former Army officer. He and his wife (and fellow blogger) Running Girl are doing their best to raise a family of five in Western New York. Please visit their family blog at Kay Nou = Our House
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