It’s easy to focus on what I don’t have when I’m out of a job. But it has more to do with the constant reminders than anything else.

“Hey, heard your company crashed and burned”

“Sorry to hear about the job”

“Let me know if I can do anything”

When I mention that Ox Consulting and a few consulting gigs are keeping me out of the cheese lines, the comments take another slant.

“Medical insurance with four kids must be a killer”

“Must be stressful trying to create something on your own”

And my favorite, “You know, 80% of companies go out of business in their first year”

Change is difficult. Not only for me, but for those who know me if only peripherally. If I were a recent college grad in my 20’s, I bet most people would shrug their shoulders. That’s the agreed upon age to take risks, dive into new adventures, and follow your wildest dreams.

Once children arrive, my thoughts are supposed to turn to career stability, 30 year mortgage, 401k, health insurance, and the size of my office. I still chuckle when friends who have worked at Microsoft over 10 years tell me they moved to an office with windows. That’s how longevity, and success to some extent, is measured in our culture.

This past week, I visited my parents in North Ogden. They recently built a home after living in the same small brick house across from Weber State University for nearly 40 years. My father’s computer was acting up, and we spent a couple of days selecting parts and getting his music, pictures and documents moved over to a new i7 system.

Maybe I should have stayed home and continued my job search.

But I have no regrets because I got to spend hours with my father. We took a trip to the University of Utah bookstore and purchased matching “Ute” hats. We had lunch together, and I told him how much I appreciate his friendship. I don’t believe I’ve ever told that him that face to face. It’s not hard to thank him for the kindness he expresses towards my children. I’ve thanked him numerous times. But I’ve never sat across the table from him and told him how much he means to me.

I was able to sit next to my mother on her bright red leather sofa and listen to her explain how she’s dealing with her latest stroke. Her body has deteriorated, but her mind and wit is as sharp as ever. We had breakfast together each morning. She prepared for my arrival by purchasing a box of Captain Crunch Berries, my favorite cereal.

Visiting my parents forces me to slow down, and that’s exactly what I needed this week. I have a number of decisions to make about my career and my family over the next few months. I didn’t realize it at the time, but on the drive home I felt as though I’d recalibrated my life.

Close relationships have a way of doing that.

5 thoughts on “Recalibration

  1. Not only have you recalibrated your life, but you’ve had moments with your parents that you will truly cherish after they are gone. Tell them often.


    1. Was good to hear from you too, Dan. I’m still holding out that you’ll make a visit to Seattle instead of Disneyland.


  2. One of the things I am most thankful for is that I was between jobs during the last few months of my dad’s life. I was in a job that was really frustrating and I felt like I was being set up as a scapegoat for some problems. I could see the writing on the wall. Then I found out that my dad had cancer the same day we buried my grandfather.

    It didn’t take long to put everything into perspective and quit the job. I lined up a few part time things and had enough money coming in to almost cover my bills (BTW…substitute teaching is VERY flexible and actually pays ok).

    I got 6 months with my dad. I spent hours each week sitting with him during the afternoon to keep him company and I was able to drop everything every time there was a crisis or my mom needed someone to lean on.

    Sometimes being out of work is a blessing. I have a feeling that you will never forgot the freedom you have to spend time with your parents or your kids during this temporary setback for your career.

    Enjoy it. It will be over before you know it.


    1. Karen, thank you for the comment. I’m sure you’re right about looking back and being thankful for the time to spend with family. I was down at first, but it’s been a blessing to step away from a toxic environment and take on projects that I enjoy instead of commuting to an office 2 hours each day. I hope I can make it work on my own. So far so good.


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