Monday, January 5, 2009

Life is what we choose it to be

For those of you stopping by for the first time or who are not recalling recent tales in this little internet niche where I hold forth, I was laid off from my job shortly before Thanksgiving. It was not just a job, but roughly half a career, since I had been with the company for more than twenty years.

For those of you with any sort of computing background, we're talking from early versions of DOS to Windows Vista, from a company with two computers to a company with thousands of network at all to a wide-area network which spans the country.

I have learned, these past weeks as I gathered myself to begin the next phase of my working life, that there is a great deal to learn in being laid off, and perhaps even more when one is laid off after a two-decade dedication to one employer.

Sure, there are all the negative and angry thoughts which pass through ones mind, and those have to be addressed if you seek to move forward.

There are the friendships which may well be lost once the friends are no longer close by. For me, this was where I knew I would need help in adjusting. Thankfully, I have friends who are willing to get together once in awhile so we can maintain a connection.

So, now that I am reaching that point where I will be deciding how to pay my way in the world--and it is important to note that I have no preconceived notions that it will necessarily be a computer-related job, or a job at all (consulting and contracting are possibilities, too)--it is a good moment to pause and consider.

For years, I have made decisions which first took into consideration my job. When you have a career with one company, it is a natural way of operating.

Now, though, I am in the oddly freeing situation where I need not consider my job simply because I don't have one.

What will I create in my life next?

My choice. It is easy to imagine this as either terrifying or completely invigorating. I'm pretty sure I'm enjoying a crazy mixture of both.

Regardless of the outcome, I'll continue to report on the ever-changing circumstances.

Today, for my life, I choose free flight, open arms, and loving whatever comes.


Sylvain said...

It sounds like you are progressing through this faster and in a healthier mindset than I was capable of ten years ago. Stay with the "it's a huge oppurtunity" angle as much as you can, because it is. Take your time and find something you love.
Also, as for the friendships, I work with a man in his second career, and he still has breakfast once a month with a group of 5 or 6 guys he worked with in his past life.

Rick Hamrick said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, Syl!

Olivia said...

Very healthy mindset, indeed, Rick. I am excited for you as you reinvent your career...and SHINE! Love, O

Rick Hamrick said...

Thanks, Olivia. I'm grateful for your consistently uplifting and supportive thoughts!

Lynilu said...

As difficult as it can be at times, I'm glad you're remaining philosophical about this part of your journey. I hope the promise of open windows following the closed door leads you to soaring. It is good to be open to anything, not limiting yourself to the past experience. I've had two careers, and learned another after retiring, so there are no barriers! And each new one was more fun than the one before, so good luck on whatever fate is dangling before you!

How goes the discussion about returning to your home-ground? If you remain in Denver, I may be in the area to visit my brother in the next few months, and I'd love to meet you and your wife for coffee or lunch. Let me know if you're game.

Rick Hamrick said...

Lynilu--We're not going anywhere in the short term. Our plans for moving somewhere which is green and has milder winters are for after our youngest is well on her way in college. She is a junior in high school this year.

So, shoot me an email (my address is on the front page of the blog and in my profile) once you have firmed up your dates for a trip to Denver! We will certainly arrange to meet you at some point while you are here. I love to meet folks in person that I know only from the blogging world.

Thanks again for your kind remarks, Lynilu.

Julie said...

Rick, I LOVE your attitude about this situation. As someone who has struggled over the past year with work decisions of her own, I find myself thinking about how positive you are and it is so encouraging to me in so many ways. It is a reminder that we are not our jobs.
Keep us posted on the entryway into the new chapters of your life....

dharmamama said...

Do you know Steve Pavlina? I might have mentioned him at the retreat:

Keep staying with those good-feeling thoughts!

Rick Hamrick said...


I have read some of Steve's stuff in the past, and these two articles you have pointed me to are great ones! I will take them in and see what resonates and what doesn't.

Fortunately, I have my own guru right here in the house, and we're working toward her being the front person for an enterprise which will make it possible for us to live a very different life than we have lived in the ten years we have been together.

In fact, it may turn out that today is the day when her manuscript is turned in. It is funny how quickly "The End" arrives! Two days ago, Julia was talking about additions and changes she needed to make, then, this morning, she allowed the three changes I sought in the preface--I'm the comma doctor, as we call it--and she wants to be done, done done...and moving on to promoting the book.

Our publisher, St Martin's Press, is ready to take it from the manuscript to the beautimous only 15 months or so (yikes).

We self-published Julia's first book five years ago. It took us, complete rookies at running a publishing business, less than six months.

In my opinion, the book-publishing industry is not doing as much to reinvent itself as it could. It reminds me of America's Big Three automakers. Unfortunately, I don't foresee a publishing-industry bailout taking place.

I know, Caren, I wandered far from your comment's point, but, hey, it is my blog. [grin]

Did it MY way said...

Never to late to start a new journey.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are so BRAVE! :) You inspire me and fill me with courage.

Beverly Keaton Smith said...

Best of luck to you Rick. Your perspective is empowering and inspiring..and I'm excited for you and this next chapter of your life. All things for a reason...

Rick Hamrick said...

Kelly--thanks for the reinforcing words. There can never be too many people offering their good wishes, and I am very grateful for yours.

Rick Hamrick said...

Bev--I'm most grateful to you for not only stopping by, but for offering your perspective, too.

All of the powerful, positive energy offered by my internet friends helps a great deal.

It's a beautiful thing, this little box on my desk which allows me, through this window, to touch people without geographic limits. I'm so indebted to all of you, my friends!