When life hits the reset button

This last year I’ve been working as Director of Product Management for Agent Image, also known as The Design People.

Thursday, I got an invitation by email from my boss, one of the company owners, to join him and the other two owners later that day in a meeting titled “Update”.  I’ll admit I was suspicious.  I knew how difficult recent times have been for the company.

At the appointed time, I launched the video app I use to join meetings (I work remotely) and quickly found that only one of them had decided to show up.  This raised my suspicions.

On the video feed I could tell the poor guy was tortured by something.  He was far more fidgety than usual; I knew right away my suspicions were correct.

I should note, this is an extraordinarily nice person.  He means well, has a great heart, and it was difficult to watch him have to do this “we-just-can’t-afford-to-keep-you” thing.  I’ll admit, I made him go through the whole spiel without a comment or expression from me.  I just sat back and listened until he stopped talking.

But when he was done, I called him by name, and said, “… it’s all right, I’ll be just fine”.  I told him that I’d been on his side of the table before, and understood just how hard that is, and reassured him that he shouldn’t worry about me.

I closed the video program and sat there looking at my computer screen.

At that moment, perhaps I should have been thinking about my 6 kids.  Or about how it was almost Christmas, and how much it would change now.  I should have been thinking about how difficult it is right now to find a job, and how much I don’t want to be like my first three fathers, who all (try as they might) were repeatedly unable to provide well (that story here).

I should have been worried about keeping our house, having burned through our nest egg between the last two jobs, and not getting a severance this time (“can’t afford it”).

I should have been worried about my beautiful wife who is a full-time mom to a large family, her life’s dream, and her ability to keep that dream.

But I’ll admit, I was none of those things.

Perhaps being laid off last year before Christmas changed me.  I experienced all these things then.  Then, I was humiliated, embarrassed, and angry.

Not this time.

This time all I felt was excitement.

Perhaps it was the emergence of my faith and trust in the Lord, he having shown me over the last year that he will provide.  Perhaps it was the surfacing of my self confidence, which had been bolstered this past year as I took careful inventory of the skills and abilities which I have been given.  Perhaps it was because I have had ongoing insight as to how to turn this life-engineering hobby into a career, and have felt anxious to get started.

Perhaps it was all of these, and more.  And while some of those (mostly the anger) came in modest amounts later, the predominant emotion has still been excitement.

Excitement to devote more time and emotion to life-enginering.  Something I should have done after having lost my job last year, but didn’t.  It was like I had neglected the path I was intended for, and to help me on my way, had the reset button pushed on my career, once again, to give me a second chance.

Most of all, it was a reminder of a true principle.  All too often, hidden within the consequences of painful adversity, lie the greatest opportunities.  If life was robbed of adversity and conflict, what growth would there be?  True discovery, discovery of things that are everlastingly meaningful, are hidden within tough challenges and worthy quests.

This holiday season, my joy is full, for I have been given a most precious gift.  I have been given a true challenge.  I have a vision of something more that I can become, of something greater that I can do, and now an opportunity and motivation to make it happen.

How exciting.  I can think of no greater gift, for a person like me, than a real challenge, uniquely tailored to me, with the promise of a remarkable journey for me and my family that is sure to be remembered for a long time to come.

While I don’t wish for anyone else to lose their jobs, I do hope you find your Christmas equally stimulating, and choose to see within your current circumstance opportunities for greatness.  Make life a journey, and make it something to remember.

Merry Christmas,
Rusty

13 replies
  1. Alan H
    Alan H says:

    Rusty,

    Having been in your shoes of being laid off and facing an uncertain future more times than I would wish on anyone, I truly admire your attitude! You were one of the bright stars I had the privelege of working with at WebMiles. I know that you can succeed at whatever you put your mind to.

    Keep the Faith!
    – Alan

    Reply
  2. Joe'll
    Joe'll says:

    Rusty,
    I just finished reading your post. Your words filled my heart in a way that is impossible to express. Indeed, you ARE called and qualified to lead, guide, direct and teach…to inspire others. Thank You for your courage. Thank You for sharing your inner core with all of us. I will be anxious to see what you will continue to become…and as we all watch and learn from you, we will all become greater…TOGETHER. Your strength, energy and character must have not only come from your own diligent work and effort, but from God’s divine hand and intervention. He will continue to “Uphold you by his righteous hand”. He is our God and will “still give the aid.” He’ll “strengthen thee help thee and CAUSE THEE TO STAND.”
    I love you, forever.
    Joe’ll

    Reply
  3. Josh R.
    Josh R. says:

    Rusty,
    The optimism you have shown this past week is amazing. You really have learn a lot from your experiences this past year. Time spent feeling sorry for yourself or being angry or frustated with your circumstances is wasted time – time you could have spent making plans for moving ahead. I’m proud of your for keeping above the fray. Things will work out – God is with you.
    You are an inspiration.
    Josh

    Reply
  4. Tony
    Tony says:

    Rusty, you have something much more and much better than a job, you have the belief that no matter what happens in life you will survive. Having been there many times myself, I no longer have a fear of losing my job, in fact, like you when it happens, I am usually very happy because I know I’ll go on to bigger and better things. Someone once gave me a great line for when you are employed, you are simply in between transitions. All the best, I know you will do well. Tony

    Reply
  5. Rusty Lindquist
    Rusty Lindquist says:

    Alan, Wow, I remember those WebMiles days, though it seems like an eternity ago. I’m glad your memories of me were good, because my memories of the time were that I was SO young and SO immature. Now I’m OLD and immature, and THAT’S a huge difference!

    Joe’ll, I love you, you’re the greatest strength I could ever ask for.

    Josh, thanks. And I agree with you wholeheartedly. You can waste a life wallowing in the past. Far better to let it go and move on.

    Tony, that’s awesome. Being between transitions is an exciting place to be. So many options, so many opportunities.

    Thanks again,
    Rusty

    Reply
  6. Otoabasi Umonting
    Otoabasi Umonting says:

    Rusty, I have to say, this article has inspired me greatly. Thank you for sharing this experience of yours with us. I believe that as you continue to trust in God for grace, He will never leave you nor forsake you. I wish you all the very best. God bless.

    Reply
  7. Alex Cortez
    Alex Cortez says:

    Aloha Rusty,

    It is always darkest before dawn. It seems as though you are headed to bigger and better things. As an AI client, I can say that I have had my issues with their service, but YOUR level of professionalism was the saving grace. I wish you and your family a great holiday season.

    Reply
  8. Rusty Lindquist
    Rusty Lindquist says:

    Bill, Alex,

    That was a very good idea. Regardless the experience they may have with Agent Image, I’d strongly prefer they don’t think I’m just ignoring them. And thank you, so much, for the supportive comments from you both.

    That was a tough one. I hugely enjoy working with people, and helping them solve problems. But it seemed like all I was able to do was say “I’m sorry”, which I truly was. But there was little of substance I was able to provide, and that was very frustrating, especially when, so often, I could see that they deserved more.

    I hope it doesn’t sound trite, but I can’t express how much it means to me that the two of you would bother to still come and offer such support. If there is ever anything that I can do for either of you, I hope you won’t hesitate to ask. At a minimum, I’m going to make sure you’re amongst the first to receive a copy of my book (the only value of which may be for kindling, but still…).

    Meanwhile, I agree with you Alex, I think this is a bigger and better thing (and hopefully longer lasting! ;-)

    I am extremely fortunate in that my life’s experiences have left me impassioned and empathetic towards people who struggle against life. It can be so brutal. And its left me with such a firm belief in mans ability to overcome obstacles and find greatness.

    My hope is that since my intent is genuine, it might come across as such, and I might be able to impart, in small ways, well-timed suport that makes a difference.

    Again, thank you. Please let me know if there’s ever anything I can do for you.

    Rusty

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I was talking to a friend today about change, and how exciting it is when life forces it upon you (like being laid off before Christmas). […]

  2. […] gift from the Lord, in a most unusual package.  Read the story on my life-engineering.com blog here, about how opportunity is often found in life’s greatest […]

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