How individuals handle adversity says a lot about their character. With unemployment rates climbing to double digits in many areas of the country, we can get a interesting view into the character of those affected.
Two weeks ago, I had the dreaded meeting. First thing Monday morning, I was pulled into a conference room and given the standard HR pitch: “In an examination of the entire organization, we are making some cuts. Your position is one that will be eliminated. You’ve been a great asset to the company, yada, yada, yada.”
And like so many people across the country, I was downsized, laid off, let go, whatever. I lost my job.
(I wonder how Obama will figure me into his “saved jobs” statistic? But, I digress.)
So two Monday’s ago, I left the office and hit the W&OD Trail in Vienna, VA to go for a run and think. What am I going to do now? It didn’t take long to figure it out…
After the requisite conversations with myself about what I wish I’d said to the firing manager (an intolerable b&%ch) I moved on to more productive thoughts. I decided right then and there, a mere hour after my firing, that I would start my own business. And that’s just what I did.
After shaking off the initial shock, I went into action. Calls to the State Corporation Commission, a corporate lawyer, set up 800# and got my company website up. Called my accountant to discuss invoicing and billing. Immediately updated my LinkedIn profile, and began sifting through all kinds of business and industry contacts to discuss partnerships and potential client needs.
Nine business days later, we’ve onboarded a few clients, set up speaking engagements with partners, and we’re actvely recruiting sales people (no shortage there). Productivity is the name of the game – not a second to lose – my future depends on it.
At least twice a day I send or receive an e-mail with my wife that says something like, “We’re on our way!” or, “I know this is going to work!” And it will. Drive, passion, and knowing that the only thing holding me back is me. Nobody is going to make my business work except me.
My wife, almost in jest, asked me if I was going to apply for unemployment. It was a jest because she knew the answer before she asked: No. Although I have been dropping some 45% of my paychecks into some government bureaucracy or another since I was 14, I don’t want that money. Those dollars are stained with tyranny. They are not clean dollars. They signify everything that I stand against. I so not want any handout. I am able -bodied, strong, knowledgeable, and driven to succeed – I am the embodiment of a modern conservative.
Sure, I could start sleeping in, hitting Starbucks from 10 am to noon, dressing in shorts and a tee shirt, and tactily start looking for a new job, while collecting unemployment and complaining that “there’s nothing out there.” Or I could do what I am doing – produce something.
It is interesting to note that I received a notification that Obama’s Recovery & Reinvestment Act will cover all but 35% of my COBRA bills. This will save me and my family some $600 per month for the next 9 months in health care costs. But guess who pays for it? My former employer. So here we have a situation where my company was stretched so thin that they had to lay off some 50 sales people and a few other positions – mine included. And now they are going to have to pay my health care premiums for the next nine months.
Did any brilliant politician stop to think that making employers pay the COBRA premiums for displaced employees will make it harder for those same companies to recover and hire back their work force?
Well, our politicians are not known for their intelligence. I am just annoyed that so many R’s signed on to this ridiculous “recovery act).
When it’s all said and done, I will be fine. So will all the rest of the people in this country who pull themselves up by the boot straps and do something. Nobody will make you successful – that is for each of us to do on our own. While some will complain and do poorly, others will thrive. Put me in the latter group.