Sometimes the start of a new year doesn’t happen when expected. We all think of New Years Day, but that means nothing, really - just a societal convention. Nonetheless and to some degree, we all expect some magic moment in mid winter where some kind of difference is experienced. Like when you turned ten, and you awaited the mystical anointing that would herald in your second decade of life.
Such events rarely happen and - in my experience - never happen on time. No; major events happen in their own time and do not dance to the whims of man.
It so happened almost exactly a year ago I, while managing as small warehouse full of aluminum roofing materials, was instructed to downsize the real estate footprint of the business I served. Times were tough. Thus began one of the worst Decembers I can recall in my adult life. It also ushered in a difficult year for my working life.
January, a traditional doldrums for a roofing company, found me and a coworker, with no work. I sat at my desk rigging my laptop to the corporate Internet provider so keep awake. That’s no exaggeration. I spent the next several weeks getting paid to displace air at a certain place for a certain length of time. What work I had was in a sideline of web design, which I accomplished in an empty, inactive office. Once spring began, I believed, matters would improve, and I can again take up the job I have been place holding.
Not to be. Spring came, then summer, and this once proud roofing company floundered in the marketplace. No sales, no work. By July, it was evident that the company needed to close the office. We were let go; unceremoniously dumped.
Not unexpected, perhaps, yet unnerving. I panicked for my family’s sake and spend 80 hours over the next 9 days perusing the job boards until I found what looked to be a decent offer, and a new direction to my career. Looks deceived me. Although aptly warned during the interview process of needing to deal with "brassy" personalities, nothing - not even my youth spent with indifferent parenting - would prepare me for the neurotic insanity that prevailed at this family-owned company. I would bore you with a description, an anecdote or two, but I would neither do the truth justice, nor would anyone believe me.
From the onset, I was miserable, and for twelve weeks, I did my best to adjust for my family’s sake, and failed. After 60 days, a performance review showed, the obvious, that I couldn’t perform to expected levels. Thirty days later, more of the same. At that time I kindly asked my supervisor (who was not directly involved with the family psychosis), to kindly fire me for lack of performance. We both knew I was searching for work, hampered by my commitments, and unable interview without drawing suspicion. As a measure of his kindness and sanity, he allowed this thin veil, as long as I trained my replacement.
So, at the end of a fourteen week ordeal, I was again cast into the unemployment statistics: two days before my birthday. It may have been the best present I have gotten in recent years. Three weeks of difficult searching ended on Friday Nov 30, when I was asked in for a second interview in a local company (4 miles from home- that local), when I was hired to begin last Monday. Another small company, family-owned, and another new direction for me.
I could pontificate for days about the contrast in corporate cultures. I’ve been here less than a week and I already know my Year of Hard Knocks has ended. I have found a new home. I even have the energy, after a very busy day, to blog my experience and to welcome a new year. So Happy New Year to me, and to you, who may also be struggling through these difficult and dangerous times. May you always be open to better days ahead, and aware of the major events of your life and how they refuse to read a calendar.