Flashback to July 1977. Graduation day! I graduated magna cum laude from college with a degree in accounting. I graduated on Friday and started my career on Monday with a large established manufacturing company 16 miles from my home.
Flash-forward to July 2008. I was now the Controller. 31 years I had invested with the same company. During the peak years, the plant had employed close to 1500 people. Unfortunately, the troubles of the automobile industry resulted in a slow decline and ultimately bankruptcy in 2006. There were years of layoffs and instability prior to and following the bankruptcy. In the end, the company restructured and continued in business. Two years after the bankruptcy, I was ready to move on. The years of uncertainty and long hours had taken their toll. My prayers were to find work that was meaningful and helpful to others. As I was considering possible career changes, an opportunity was offered to me at a local start up technology company. Unsure of how secure the position would be, I was hesitant at first to accept, but decided I couldn’t pass up this local opportunity. It was a big change to a small company and I found it to be very interesting. 18 months later the company moved to Arizona. For the first time in my entire adult life after 33 years of employment, I was unemployed.
When I told my 87-year-old mother that I had lost my job, she said. “Oh, that’s too bad. What are you bringing for dinner on Sunday?” My mom had always been very healthy, but she was slowing down and starting to have some health issues. There also seemed to be some dementia. It didn’t take long for me to realize what my new career would be. At just the right time, my schedule was free and my mom needed my help. I was able to devote a good portion of time to her doctor’s appointments and to help where needed.
I was able to spend time with my mother, without the demands of a job. I had meaningful work to do. This was compounded, when my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor, just 6 months after my layoff. My sister’s children lived far away and helping was difficult for them. It became clear that I had important work to do.
I quickly came to the realization that I had an answer to my prayer for meaningful work. This was it. I likely would have had great difficulty quitting a job to help out in this way. It was a blessing that I could focus on the tasks at hand and not have to worry about the day-to-day of a job.
In February 2011, my sister went to be with the Lord. In July 2011, my mother followed.
It was very emotionally draining, but I felt good that I had no regrets and thankful that I had the opportunity to be helpful to my family. I wrapped up my Mother’s estate by October 2011. With perfect timing, I received and accepted a job offer. Twenty-two months after losing my job in the layoff, I was again employed.
In 2017, I find myself working for Valve+Meter Performance Marketing. The progressive culture of this company encourages serving others and finding your meaningful work. Look for your meaningful work, sometimes it comes in ways you never expected. It’s a blessing!