Everything Happens for a Reason

Most of you are familiar with the Byrds song Turn! Turn! Turn! adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes. In particular the start of the song: “To everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn), and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

As the time rolls on, I become more and more convinced that everything…both good and bad…happens for a reason. The reason may not be apparent to us immediately. But there is a reason. A couple of examples:

I was laid off from two jobs within 14 months. I enjoyed both jobs and did not want to leave. But economic realities forced the companies to downsize. However, now I am in a position that I enjoy much more than the previous two. It was only a series of two layoffs that lead me down a winding road to my current job.

I heard of a more dramatic example of this recently. I young man was diagnosed with brain cancer. He needed costly surgery, so a small community pulled together to organize a fundraiser to help pay for the surgery. Part of the event involved people asking for sponsorship to get their heads shaved in solidarity for this young man who would also have his head shaved. A couple of weeks later, a lady who had her head shaved was diagnosed with skin cancer–on her head! Since it was caught early, hopefully her prognosis is good. Without her head being shaved, the cancer would likely have grown for months or years and likely spread.

Things are tough with a lot of people right now. Just try to keep in mind that even the bad things happen for a reason. We may not know why immediately, maybe not for week or months, maybe even never. But there is a reason. We just have to make the best of the hand we are dealt, and learn and grow from it.

Reasons I’m Smiling Today

You know, there are lots of things going on in the world, the country, and even personally that I could fret about. However, I’m finding lots of things to smile about. I’d rather focus on those. Here they are, in no particular order.

  • It’s Friday! That’s always a good reason to be happy.
  • The Broncos are ranked #9 nationally and poised to be invited to a BCS bowl game. Tomorrow, they will kick some Vandal butt.
  • We are entering my favorite time of the year with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. It’s always an opportunity to spend cherished time with family and friends, and enjoy good food and good times. More importantly, it’s a time to renew and reflect on the things that are truly important.
  • In just 3 short days, the Older Daughter will be getting her driver’s license. While this generates lots of mixed feelings with me, I’m very proud and excited for her.
  • I have a job that I love. Just 5 short months ago I was facing a layoff in a really tough job market. I was fortunate enough to find a new job and have no time out of work. The fact that I absolutely love the job is a big plus also.
  • I have the best family and friends in the world. They are more loving and supportive of me than I feel that I deserve at times.
  • Blogging rules! DITH is nearing its one year anniversary (just a few short shopping weeks left folks). I am having a great time and have made some great new friends along the way.
  • Did I mention it’s Friday? Have a good weekend!

Unemployed

For the first time in 17 years, I found myself unemployed on Friday. Regular readers know that I found out that I would be losing my job last fall and that I have, in fact, found a new job that I will start in about a week. So I’m actually only going to be unemployed for a week. But it makes for a good headline, no?

The final week at the old job was quite a challenge. I had accepted the finality of it and just wanted the week to be over so that I could move on. I grew more excited that the end was near as the week wore on. Then Friday rolled around. I had decided that I would spend the morning saying good-bye to as many people as I could. As I made the rounds, I felt a profound sadness. After all, these are the folks that I have shared a substantial part of my last 17 years with. We have shared teamwork, laughter, hard work, success (most of the time), and failure (occasionally). But we have always been a team…at times like a family. That’s the toughest thing to leave behind–the wonderful people.

As I walked out the door for the final time, a smile swept across my face. And in fact this smile lasted the rest of the day. It was a selfish smile. One celebrating the accomplishments of my time there, the fact that the turmoil is finished for me, and that I am moving on to a new, exciting chapter in my career.

For my colleagues that remain, I wish nothing but the best for them. Despite the huge personnel cuts, I still have a lot of friends at the company and the company means a lot to the local economy. I wish nothing but success for the company and my former colleagues going forward.

Good Fortune Ahead?

It’s a rare treat when The Wife and I are able to meet for lunch during a busy work day. Yesterday was such an occasion. We met for lunch at a Chinese place not too far from where I work. It was a nice break from a hectic day. We caught up on life, talked about the kids, talked about the new business, etc. Alas, the time passed much too fast and soon we were cracking open our fortune cookies and paying for lunch. My jaw dropped when I read my fortune:

Ok, I know you are like: so what? Those that follow this blog know that I am being laid off this summer. My last day happens to be July 18th. This is exactly 3 months after our lunch date: April 18th.

How freaky is that?

Unemployment Line or Lottery Winner?

I haven’t shared this publicly yet, but I’m being laid off (along with half of my department) from my employer of 17 years. Thankfully, I’ve been given lots of notice (I found out in October that my last day will be in July) and a nice severance package, but it’s obviously still not an easy process. I joined this company right out of college. I’m very loyal and probably would have spent my entire career there. But, it was not to be. That’s life, I get it.

I got into work with this employer through a prior summer internship, so there was no “real” search. So needless to say, my job searching skills are pretty lean. Today, I attended a job search workshop put on by the Idaho Department of Labor. They did a really good job and I picked up a lot of good tips. This is my first “real” job search ever, so all the help I can get it great.

At the beginning, we did the usual ice-breaker. You know, go around the room and introduce yourself (thanks for wasting my time). Now usually, you go around and tell a little bit about yourself, right? Well, not at this event. Here, we were asked to tell what we would do if we suddenly came into $50 million.   (sigh)   Okay, hold on. At a minimum, I’m going through an excruciating job search. Next best case is that I’m coming into the unemployment office each week to beg for my generous unemployment benefit. Worst case, I’m digging for left-over food out of a dumpster. So what do they do? They taunt me with the prospect of a $50 million windfall that would allow me to relax for the rest of my life. I don’t get it.