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Moving Onward

It was a day I’ll never forget…standing midway up the stairs looking down at my wife as she’s scrambling to leave with the kids as she takes them to school before heading to her part-time job. The night before we’d shared glasses of white wine and agreed one hundred percent – given the decision before us, I’d stay with the job. But in that brief moment…in my heart of hearts I knew it was wrong, and I know she did too…..

Last Tuesday I was given an option at my job. Take half your pay beginning December 1, or be fired and take three months of your full pay and benefits through February.

My daughter had just finished two days in the hospital fighting H1N1. The next day my son came down with H1N1. Two days later my wife came down with H1N1. Three days later all was well and it was my first time being able to actually deal with the reality of the decision before me. Before us.

A friend of mine who I respect fully called late Sunday night and dropped all kinds of entrepreneurial motivational words my way. They were sincere….they made me think and dream about what could be. Quite honestly it’s that euphoria time in your life where your chest gets filled with air and you think – “fuck yeah I can do that…I totally can do that!!!” But then that child screams, and the wife asks for help, discussions of bills fill legal pads, and reality creeps through every weakness you never knew you had.

We went to bed knowing I would remain in my job, despite half the pay, despite the slam to my ego having to walk in day-to-day knowing that everyone and board members knew what had happened. Knowing I was now a dying blip on the budget.

Then I woke up….and I knew what to do. I agonized, I talked with the wifey, I called multiple people, I stood outside Union Station freezing my hands off holding the phone and making sure I could hear every opinion from every person I respected….and then I knew. It was time to just leave.

In twelve years since I’ve graduated college I’ve never NOT worked. I’ve in fact been consistently rewarded for my work. I’ve been given raises, praises, and opportunities that I felt I’ve grasped. We’ve moved from mill house, to larger house, to a larger city. And yet…..I haven’t stopped to really understand my fortune.

For the past three nights, my family has sat at the table, together, eating dinner. That hasn’t happened in days. Last night, we had “game night.” First time in a few weeks.

I laid in bed with my seven-year-old son….and told him what happened. It was a huge stretch…but I’ve always been honest with him.

“So, are you upset daddy lost his job? Cause it’s OK, but I want you to know how lucky daddy is that he’s going to get a paycheck for the new few months.”

“Yes, but I promise I won’t tell anyone.”

“I want you to scream it to the world, cause maybe that’ll help me land a job, my man.”


“But in the meantime, you know what’s killer about this?”


“I’m gonna roll-up every day at 2:45 at your school with….the kickball. At least till it snows, then we’re going home.”

I’m a lucky lucky bastard. I talked to my best friend tonight and found out his wifey lost her job a month or so ago. I never knew. She’s no different than the thousands around the country. Some have no kids, others have many. Some got severance, others didn’t. Some are ashamed…..hell, we’re all ashamed. Some are about to find out a week before Christmas….some won’t have a Christmas.

Today I was put in my fucking place. Today I became a statistic. Today I was given a huge opportunity. Today it’s up to me to figure out tomorrow….

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Reader Comments (36)

You're brave. Know that on the days when you're thinking, "I can't believe I quit my job!" You were forced out, plain and simple. Enjoy the extra time with your kiddos, and hit the job search hard from day one. And keep writing!! You have raw talent. Turn it into a career you love! HUGS to you and your family!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMimiRuse

My husband's company ran out of work a couple months after we had just bought a house here in the Chicago burbs. Had no work for 9 months and I definitely don't make enough to pay the way. We are living pay check to pay check and back-peddling for the lost time and it sucks! Good luck to you and I hope something comes along soon! Until then, clean the house and make dinner for your wife! :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

Wow, what a great post. It was the brave decision. Now you've opened yourself up to new and better opportunities. Good for you for not letting your former employer devalue all that you've accomplished so far in your career by making you take a huge step backwards. Good things are headed your way, you know what they say about windows and doors, a huge ass door just opened for you!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda G.

I haven't known you long, but I do know you have drive like no one else. You love those kids and will do anything to provide for them. You also have the ability to make people love you. The way our Twitter world rallied around you shows you that. And listen to MimiRuse - this is your chance to find something you love to do. You have everything it takes to make this all work out.
Fuck yeah you can do this!!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercjaxon

I love the way you can take a rough situation and find the silver lining. You are going to be fine! It's extremely difficult right now, but you made the right choice. Another door will open for you and it will be better than before. Hugs.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter@Panteramack

Who knew you could also make me cry... They are good tears though. I am moved by your honesty, bravery, and "realness" here. It sounds like you are following your instincts and that is good. Spend time with the family, be grateful, and make sure you are listening to your inner guidance. I'm one of your biggest fans and I really feel great things are coming to you. Just don't let your ego take the wheel... :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeslee Horner

I have never been in your situation where I had to make the difficult choice of either taking a huge shaft up the nether side or cutting loose and hoping that I'd make it without work for a brief period of time, but I hope if I ever do, I meet it with the courage and strength that you've demonstrated. Good luck to you and your search for work -- I have a feeling it won't be too long.

(P.S. -- Let us help you by letting us know your qualifications and desires and so forth. The Power of Networking!)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Pralle

enjoy the time with your family right now. you will still be getting that severence pay and unemployment. you earned your unemployment. start looking for a job but right now dont settle! your family is lucky to have such a wonderful father/husband in their lives. you didnt just 'decide' you anylized, you discussed, you thought about it throughly and i am sure you made the best decision for you and your family!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterffades731

We face such life changing decisions everyday. Prior to becoming a mom, I had the opportunity. To move clear across the country. I saw the opportunity, applied and literally MOVED in 72 hours! Now, those decisions don't come easily. At the end of the day, what matters most is what you instill in your children. I read a quote the other day that said..."Our children become what we are, xo be someone worth becoming." You son will forevermore know that his daddy is worth becoming.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterManiacal Mom

I love you man. I am SOOO excited to read about your journey as you live it, breathe it and write about it.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim Jenkins

Something similar happened to our family approximately 5 years ago, I wish the children and I had been given the courtesy of communication and an opportunity to play the part of the decision making such as what you have extended your wife and kids. Your path is clear and you have got your priorities in check. Best wishes to you and your family, you rock!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAna

It is insane how the things that seem the worst always work out to be such a blessing in disguise. My hubby and I were both working shit jobs three years ago, and both got laid off two weeks before Christmas. After a rough holiday, he scored an amazing job doing what he really wanted, and making three times what he was making before, allowing me to stay at home with the kiddos and torture everyone with my blogging. We thought we were so screwed, and it ended up being the best thing that ever could have happened to us. Hang in there, man, your blessing is right around the corner.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKisha Floren

Onwards and upwards my good man. Now tell Mama what it is you want to do?

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLady Of The House

I really could just say 'diito' to your whole post (except game night - our 'game' last night was getting the kids to clean up their toys - and eating dinner together, because my hubby has had to pick up some work in the evenings to offset my lack of a paycheque).

I, too, am the 'main breadwinner' and am looking at starting my own business. I know I'm heading in the right direction because my heart goes all aflutter when I start talking about it or thinking about it.

Good luck - and welcome aboard the where-the-hell-are-headed train!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJacki (JackiYo)

You guys totally made the right decision. I have no doubt you will land a kick ass job in the next 60 days tops! Thinking of your family often while we are sequestered in our house!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLotta

It sounds trite and twee but there is a silverlining kicking around in all this shit somewhere. Good luck and happy thoughts to you and your family during all of this.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpomomama

A positive attitude really is the best - the only - way to deal with the things life throws at us. I truly admire your strength and grace and I wish you all the best!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZenMom

It's nice to meet real people who are willing to share their story no matter how it ends. Good luck on your next adventure :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertoywithme

@missxkaren sent this post to me. It hits close to home with us too. I was in a similar situation earlier this year, and given the choice I left with pay. It was a chance to do life over again, on my terms. We picked up, moved 8 hours from the hometowns we had lived in all our lives, and created a new life, our life. It's all about what you do with it, it already looks like you are doing the right thing with your time. All these folks unshackled from the jobs they have will invoke a new renaissance, once they realize the opportunity they were given, not the opportunity that was taken away.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter@Thirdbase7

I hat to admit this, because I know how many people desperately need jobs right now, but I was in a similar situation not so very long ago. My hours and my pay were significantly cut and I was told to look for another job because my employer wasn't sure when he'd be able to get me back to full time. After quite a bit of panic, I started making some inroads into other career paths - something that is long overdue. Last month, I was brought back to full time. Yay, right? Horrible to admit this - because, again, I'm sooooo grateful to have a job - but I was as disappointed as I was relieved.

It must be terrifying for you right now, but I sincerely hope that this turns out to be an excellent surprise opportunity for you. Best of luck!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMartini Mom

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