The twist to my real-life reality show came when I was handed my pink slip after 25 successful years in the working world.
At age 42, married and a father of three, this was not the way the script was supposed to go.
This is my journey, bumps and all.
When I was working, I lived by a very structured schedule.
Wake up, buy an overpriced cup of caffeine, work from 9a to 9p (on a good day), go home, watch TV, rinse and repeat.
Pretty much all of those activities have been eliminated, except for the structure.
Now it goes a little something like this -- wake up, work out, make a cheap cup of coffee at home, check my email, do stuff until the kids come home from school, check my email, do more stuff with the kids, check my email, go to bed.
To be honest, I’m not sure how much I miss about my former life, except for the two times a month where I actually believed that my commitment was appreciated.
Insert joke here.
For many people, losing their job means losing their identity and about six months into the 18 months I’ve been out of work, I definitely felt that way.
But not anymore.
I know there is a lot more to me than that itty bitty font on my business card.
It took me a LONG time to figure that out, but then again, Jim Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Even as I've grown comfortable with my new life, I do realize that I am one phone call or email away from jumping right back into the rat race.
Of course, I’ve been waiting for that call or email for so long now that I have serious doubts that it will ever happen.
When I mention that to my wife or close friends, they pretty much tell me to shut up.
But let’s be honest, with every day that I am sitting at home, which way is my stock going?
If you guessed down, you win a free book of food stamps.
Do I believe that I can do a good job?
I KNOW I can still do a GREAT job!
Do I believe that I will get a chance to do ANY job?
Not so much.
Here’s the bottom line -- Clarence Oddbody won’t be knocking on my door anytime soon, so it’s up to me to recreate my wonderful life.
But that may not be such a bad thing.
I don’t know yet what I can do or how I can do it, but just imagine if we were all able to create the rules to our own life.
Is it a longshot?
Is it possible?
Just ask the genius who had the vision that someday you could build a Starbucks in the parking lot, 100 yards away from the Starbucks in the supermarket.
Now I don’t have these gigantic dreams of changing the world, but I know that I still got game.
I spoke with my stepmother the other day for the first time in a while. We were pretty close when my dad was alive, but through no reason other than, no reason at all, we don’t speak as much as we used to.
(Note to self: you have something to work on.)
I updated her on my lack of employment and as always, she knew exactly what to say. A couple of years ago, her son-in-law had gone through something very similar.
The hard part about talking to people that you haven’t spoken to in a long time is that as soon as you mention you are unemployed, they think you are unemployed AND depressed.
I am far from depressed.
Not every day is a good day, not every minute is a good minute, but I am very happy with my life and very happy to be a stay-at-home dad.
I think she could hear some optimism in my voice, which is amazing considering I was on a cell phone and I have AT&T.
The advice she gave me was pretty clear and straight to the point -- forget what you used to do, figure out what you do well and put those skills to use.
Her advice was simple, but absolutely correct.
I took what she said to heart, after all, that’s where it was coming from.
And doggone it, I have a lot of great qualities -- I’m funny, I can write, I’m a huge sports fan, I remember the 80‘s better than anyone.