This week, I found out that one of my newest co-workers attended school with my wife through grade and middle school. They were childhood friends. This led me to peruse my wife’s old yearbooks for incriminating photos with which I could tease my co-worker.
I guess perusing those old photos put me in a retrospective frame of mind.
This morning, I was thinking back to a job I lost 4 years ago. It was an important job with the state emergency management agency. I liked the job and was well-suited for it. The only problem was my immediate supervisor. To many of my colleagues it seemed that this person was just biding his time until retirement when he could collect his state pension and spend his time on personal pursuits, like saltwater fishing. Well, I thumbed my nose at his authority once too often, thinking I was in good graces with the division director and bureau chief above him. That didn’t work out the way I had hoped, and in September of 2001, I found myself looking for another job.
I didn’t miss a beat, employment-wise, as I landed another job in the same field with a different state agency. I did miss a beat in the emotional arena, however. My feelings were hurt and I underachieved at the next job. Heck, I checked out and was again let go just three months later…the week before Thanksgiving.
I was so embarrassed about my situation that I didn’t even tell my wife until AFTER the holiday weekend. During my brief unemployment, I had a few weeks to re-evaluate my priorities. That was a God thing, no doubt about it.
This morning, as I sat in traffic pondering the what-if’s, I realized that losing both state jobs in that three month time span was a blessing in disguise. Had I stayed on that career path, I could have made a name for myself in the field of emergency management. I would have been a high-profile state official during the record-setting hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005. I may have earned promotions and accolades, but at what cost to me and my family…my priorities.
Three jobs later and I’m in a place where I am very happy and my needs are met. I’m on pace to make more money than I would have made with the state even if I had stayed. I have not spent my life on the road or dealing with reporters and angry, displaced citizens. I do not get pages and phone calls in the middle of the night or on holidays, nor do I have to leave my family for weeks at a time to sweat in places like the Everglades.
Funny how much clearer I can see in retrospect God’s hand guiding me along life’s path.