It is the last day in the decade, and as such, I wish to capture what transpired, the first year in the last decade.
Did I grow, gain more knowledge, take risks, or was I just complacent. Many on here know complacency is not in my vocabulary, but only a few know where I was ten years ago. After a successful career as a military officer, and getting used to a $10K Entertainment budget, I found myself jobless in Dallas. The recession from ’09 was in full swing, and many companies were either going through extreme cut backs, or became victims of the declining economy, and went out of business.
Although my degree in engineering was backed by experience and leadership positions in both the military and DaimlerChrysler, the first three quarters of 2010 were grueling. With no income coming in, I barely made it with my savings and the small VA check at the end of the month. I went from a stress-free luxurious 6-figure income (with many perks) to wondering if I could afford my car insurance and gas. Needless to say, I humbly accepted an invitation to come back home with my parents, until a new opportunity arose.
For those of you who have gone from a fast-paced lifestyle of travel, VIP events, and excessive spending to having to be under someone else’s roof in order to survive; you understand how humbling the experience can be. During this time, I was fortunate to receive assistance from the VA’s Chapter 31, and began my second masters. One in project management. Krystin, my first born, was still under my custody, so we spent a lot more time together, especially doing our own homework.
I was still aggressively seeking new jobs, and was flying all over the Southwest to job fairs and interviews. Cutting into my savings even more. A great friend of mine, David Andrea, knowing of my situation, suggested I go to San Antonio and stay with him during this phase. This was such a selfless invitation by David, I was immensely thankful. Staying in San Antonio, allowed me to complete interviews in several large Texas cities by driving instead of flying. I am extremely grateful to David in many ways. This mini-move not only secured me my current job, it thwarted any attempt of being sucked into depression.
During this year, not only was I humbled, but I realized what true friendship looked like, and I would also meet my wife. Although she was not impressed by my over confident nature, or my ability to drift the 335i, she eventually disregarded my bad attributes, and we started dating. After attending a Massive concert by Tiesto, we solidified the relationship. Alma and I have been married since 2013, and just celebrated our daughter’s first birthday, this past November. My wife and I are quite opposites, but I think she now holds her own through the observations I make on those who try to take advantage of her.
Prior to what can be classified as the WORST interview I would ever experience, I was driving on I-10 in San Antonio. Enroute to another interview. It was July, full suit on, but with no A/C, since I was trying to save on gas; so the windows were down. The location of the interview was a good 45 minutes from Dave’s house. This turned out to be perfect since I received a call 5 minutes into the drive that would change my financial situation. The call was from the Engineering Department at Fort Bliss, Texas. So grudgingly rolled up the windows, and began my explanation of engineering experiences; feeling the heat from the mid-day sun and that of stress, the conversation was extremely difficult. I was able to provide all the information my future boss needed at the time, and my re-entry to government work began.
The Ft Bliss interview ended at my destination. But, I ended up leaving the facility where the interview was to be held in San Antonio, after I saw the line up of other candidates. A few weeks later, I was back in El Paso, awaiting all the processes to enter work as a GS. The process would take more than 4 months. During the time, I worked as a manager for EP Fitness. And, I would never forget my first month’s check, it was for $1780. I made more than that in “perks” from the job I had in 2009.
So, what has the last decade taught me? Humility, the appreciation of True Friends, understanding Family is first, the importance of health, and at any time in life, IT (whatever it is you cling to) can be taken away.