Sunday, November 3, 2013

Taking Chances

For years, I watched a company, where I had worked for many years, shrink.  The big old converted warehouse, which had once had problems fitting all of its employees, now had huge, empty rooms as far as the eye could see.

The possibility that they would close the offices I was working in had steadily grown to a sure bet.  Still, I had held onto the hope that this company would be the place I would retire from.

I finally had to be realistic about what my future might be.  I had to become one with the odds that today would be the day they called me into personnel and say, "sorry, we won't be needing your services," or possibly, "we'd like you to move to our New Jersey offices."

Neither of these prospects thrilled me.  And this isn't a dig against New Joisey, I just can't see living in the New York metro area. Just not my kind of place.

I knew many who had been part of the systematic diaspora that the company I was working for had created over the years.  Through them, or a kindly recruiter, I could find a company where my years of experience could be leveraged so I could continue to the end of my career on “cruise control.”  Certainly, I could find a job where all of my experience would put me in a nice, cozy office keeping a company’s marketing and merchandising aspirations growing.  Meanwhile, I could continue to channel the ambition that still remained in me toward my creative loves of writing and music and art.

And somewhere between all that, find some space to watch my kids get their adult lives into full swing, and enjoy the company of my amazing, creative wife.

I’d worked hard for thirty years, and built up a pretty nice list of accomplishments.  I knew others my age who were taking more laid back positions as they moved into the latter years of their careers.  Sounded good to me.  I was tired.

An opportunity presented itself to go to a company that was a vendor I worked with.   They were a small company with big aspirations.  Given my state of mind, I should have had some sort of reservations.

A move across the country at the age of 51?  Uprooting everything I had known for the past 17 years with a wife who was having some major health issues?  The rigors of selling a house, buying another house?  Going to a start-up business, and the attendant risks that came with it? 

But then again, I should have had doubts when I joined the Army at the age of nineteen.  Should have had second thoughts when I married at the age of twenty.  Should never have just resigned and uprooted my family from San Diego to move back to Idaho, when I didn’t have a job lined up.  Should have played it smart, and taken a cut in pay to have a job locally in Idaho, when the company that was contracting me from afar said they would no longer need my contracted services.  I had nothing on the line at that time.

I’m not a gambler in the wagering sense.  Taking a chance on slot machines, or the cards, or the horses, or the wheel, or the dice, just doesn’t hold any appeal.  But as I look back on my life, some of the things I do seem like I’m gambling.  Certainly, some of the things I have done had a numerous possible outcomes, not all favorable.

So, I picked up the dice…


  1. Reading along Craig - I feel sorry I (we?) didn't know about DeDe's illness to offer some remote support. And sorry you've all been through such a hard time. I hope things are starting to limb back up now.

  2. Hi Jo, There are certainly challenges, but who among us can't say that?

    All in all, life is very good now, and we are enjoying living one day at a time.

  3. You've been very brave on so many fronts, Craig. When Mr Ashbless got "downsized" a few years back he thought it was the worst moment of his life ... yet he ended up getting a better job than he'd ever dreamed of and it's done him so much good in terms of confidence and personal validation and growth. He was in a career rut and it kicked him (painfully) out of it into a much better place. I do hope your move West is just a positive!

  4. Oh, thank you Janine. I remember the story of Mr. Ashbless' experience, which was not long before we made our move. I must say my experience, work-wise, has been very similar. It truly has been a revitalization for me at this new job, and for my family in his new place...