D-Day is today.

Yesterday evening, I received a text message from my dad, as follows:

“This is a good leadership lesson I came across. I thought you’d like it. In 1519 Captain Hernan Cortez landed in Veracruz to begin his conquest. Upon arriving, he gave orders to his men to burn the ships. Here’s the lesson: Retreat is easy when you have the option. We all cling to something that acts as our escape hatch or our exit strategy. We postpone action until we no longer feel fear. Either that, or our actions are shallow attempts never designed to succeed. In reality, we must learn to act decisively in spite of our fear.”

This message from my dad has some significant implications to me on a major decision I am going to be making.  But before I go on, let me back up slightly and give you all some background that you might appreciate having a better understanding.

For many of you that followed my last blog, Assentively Yours, you recall the struggle I had with being unemployed. I was an engineer for an oilfield service company and was laid off in March 2015 due to the result of falling oil prices.  The downturn in the oil & gas industry began in late summer and early fall of 2014 and is just barely beginning to recover now.  I was able to hold onto my job for almost 6 months, before the company I worked for let me go.  All said and done, this company reduced it’s staff by almost 1/3 on a global scale. Unfortunately for me, it left me without work for over a year. I was lucky enough to have plenty of money in savings and received a decent severance package. I paid off all of my debts, except student loans and my mortgage – that included 2 vehicles, 4 credit cards, 2 personal loans, and a few medical bills. After eliminating all of that debt, I still had enough money to take care of my family for a year.  I also received some unemployment benefits, that I held out on accepting, until 6 months into my layoff.  The benefits I received were not much, but since it is based upon your previous income, I received an amount that would have exceeded a full time job at minimum wage.

Since I had the chance to look for higher paying jobs, I spent the majority of a year doing just that. I applied for well over 1,000 jobs for that year. I looked at multiple industries and kept my search focused on jobs that I felt I was qualified to do.  Overwhelmingly, I was rejected and there were a few common reasons I heard: “You’re overqualified”. “You have more experience than we are looking for”. “We can’t pay you what you’re worth”. And my personal favorite, “We know you’ll go right back to oil & gas when it comes back.”  I spent so much time being frustrated about it all, I couldn’t handle it.  For shits and grins, I even began applying for that were truly below my abilities, just to see how it would work out: Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Uber (I actually drove for Uber for a while…that was kind of fun), etc.  These jobs always handed me an offer, but I refused them, because it would mean I lose my unemployment benefits, that paid more. I assumed it was in my best interest to use my time to focus on the jobs I really wanted and the jobs I felt would help me take care of my family.

During that time, however, I began to question so much about myself, about my relationship, about my sexuality, my identity as a father, my identity as a man, my sexuality, etc., etc.  I began to truly find so many faults with myself. This wasn’t a new thing for me, mind you, but it led me to some dark places, for sure – some of you have even witnessed some of it, recently. I tried dealing with my depression, anxieties and stress through various means. Some were healthy, like going hiking, going for walks, seeing a therapist, taking up rock climbing (I really enjoy these and need to get back to them), etc. Unfortunately, some were not healthy ways to deal with stress. I was drinking…a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean I probably, single-handedly, made Old Chicago’s revenue goals last year.  Granted, I’m sure I was a light-weight compared to some people, but I felt I was becoming an alcoholic at the time.  It was bad enough that my therapist suggested I go to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings.  Also, marriage was truly struggling – more so, than it had ever struggled in the past.

Eventually, however, things began coming to a definitive tipping point in my life. I found this current job’s advertisement at the end of December 2015 and began the application process. There were several people that I spoke with in interviews over the course of a couple of months. during this time, I kept expressing to my wife what my thoughts and opinions were on the job. I expressed what I thought was a good pay to accept the position, and I kept expressing that it would involve a move to Wyoming.  Eventually, I was invited out to their production plant and I was made an offer. It was $20,000/yr. more than I would have accepted it. When I was offered the job, they needed me to start immediately.

By this time, I had been out of work for 13 months, my savings were gone, my unemployment benefits were gone, and I had applied and accepted a position at McDonald’s. We were already two weeks overdue for our mortgage and unable to pay any bills. My wife was working part time and it wasn’t going to help our situation much.  Based on this situation, it made sense for me to accept the position.  My wife didn’t like it. She didn’t want to move.

I understood how she felt. Early on in our relationship, we had moved a few different times, always for work and always for my job. She was tired, and I was too, truthfully. We were finally in a home we had lived in for 10 years straight and our kids had finally had a place they felt secure and comfortable at. But, inevitably, we were poised to lose it all, anyways. This current job was going to be a saving grace for us and I felt it was imperative for me to take it. And so I began this job back in April.  My wife hated me for it.

Some of you might have remembered the post I made about this decision. It was not a good place to be, at all. I felt trapped, with little option to appease my wife and take care of the responsibilities I had. I expressed that this job was enough pay that she and I could literally split it down the middle and live in two different places and it would be good enough to take care of our bills and the last child we still have that is not an adult. she threatened divorce, threatened to call the police on me, if I came home. I was called everything anyone could imagine. She even threatened to tell everyone in my family about my sexuality (something I have kept hidden forever), since so many of my family were in support of me accepting this job.

I chose to compromise with her.

I have been applying for jobs back home and looking for ways to remain in Colorado. Unfortunately, I have not found anything. I have one potential job that has not been offered, but the president of that company is interested in talking to me about a position. I have interviewed for it, and exchanged several emails with him, but nothing official has occurred. I have already over-extended the time I was supposed to relocate, because the other job sounded so promising. My wife and I had discussed this and she agreed to give it until the end of this month to receive an offer; and last week we discussed it again and unless I hear something by today, we need to make a definitive decision.  She has been looking for work back home, as well, in the hopes that by earning an income, I can accept a position that pays less.  I currently have another interview for a different job, set up Friday – it literally pays 36% of what I’m making right now.  That job would not help us, financially, in any way.

Unfortunately, I am stuck on this decision, but I have read a few things today – including the text message my dad sent – that are pretty telling to me. I know that this job, although in Wyoming (trust me, as much as my wife thinks I love it here, I hate it compared to Colorado), is a good option for my family. It’s got great benefits, great pay, and the potential to be something big. It’s also a huge gamble in a lot of ways too, but it’s what’s available right here and now. I truly believe, however, that I must get relocated pretty fast, in order to keep this job. But I also believe, that if I keep the job, my marriage will either end or be a life with a guilt-trip from here on out.

I simply see no other option at this point.

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42 thoughts on “D-Day is today.”

  1. Shit man – I remember talking to you about your situation a while ago. Tough choices. I know this doesn’t help at all and it’s easy for me to say but remember, even now you do have choices no matter how hard. I hope a way for you both shows itself! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s tough isn’t it when your other half can’t see what you can. Do you just do it and deal with the shit storm or stay and have to deal with possibly another shit storm?
        I think you know what needs to be done right?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Goodness. That’s a hard place to be in but at the end of the day, trust your instincts, listen to your gut and do what you have to do. Doors open, others close. It’s all a part of our universal journey. I will keep good thoughts for you & have faith that you will choose the path that is most meant to be. Hang in there 💐

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your father is a wise man. But, as Captain Spock once said, there are always alternatives… it’s just that some of them are nicer than others. I feel your pain in this; my company decided, after 21 years of service, that I was too expensive to keep working for them and wanted to get rid of me in the middle of a damned important project I was heading up.

    I told them that if they were getting rid of me, at least let me finish the project and they agreed, me six more months; at the end, I opted to retire than to be cashiered out like used toilet paper, which changed everything for me and my family. But I had a new, higher paying job three months later, only to wind up having a stroke.

    It called for harsh and major decisions and they weren’t easy to make but, from my perspective and after going over all of the alternatives I could think of, let’s just say that the final decision was a no-brainer even though it wasn’t the outcome that I would have preferred.

    It’s about survival and, namely, your own because if you don’t survive, you can’t do anything for anyone else. Would I take a lesser paying job to keep my family? If it would let me pay for the necessities – food, shelter, etc., – then, yes, I would. I might not like making less money than what I’m worth based on education, skills, and experience but I could set aside that “insult” if keeping my family intact was what I had to do, even if it meant having to work another job to pick up any slack.

    I know it’s just me but of my wife set some conditions like your wife has, that decision would be a no-brainer as well, even if I didn’t like having to make it; in life, you either lead, follow, or get out of the way.

    Your dad is right: We can never let our fears blunt our need to act decisively. Look at every possibility to the best of your ability then fearlessly make the decision that best fits the situation at hand.

    Good luck, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trust me, I have no qualms about earning less money, but I need to be able to support the necessities, but from my wife’s point of view, the house is a necessity. I am always open to compromise, but it also has to benefit both of us.

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      1. I understand; it’s about maintain a level of comfort that she’s used to and she won’t accept anything less than that, even if it’s not possible to keep affording it. Tough spot to be in, I know, because I’ve been there as well. When faced with this one, I asked my wife a simple question: Would you prefer to be homeless? Because if we continue to try to live beyond our current means, that’s what is gonna happen.

        She insisted that I do more than I was already doing… while she was doing less than she could have been doing to help and it made my decision an easy one since being homeless wasn’t in anyone’s best interests. She didn’t like the decision I made and I pointed out toner that she had two choices: Come with… or you’re on your own because, it’s not always about what you want but what you’re able to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh what a predicament. I can’t imagine being so tied to a dwelling. Home is where the heart is. You know what I’m saying? It seems obvious that you can’t take a job that won’t support your family if it means staying where you are. Is this an option: you rent a small apartment in Wyoming so that your family can stay in Colorado and you spend the week in Wyoming and the weekends back home? It would be tough… But I know some people have to do that here. Work in New York City all week and spend their weekends in PA with their families. I hope you can work it out or reach some kind of resolution because being in limbo is like being in hell. 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember your struggle with this, and I think you know my thoughts on the subject… it is really tough but surviving/making a living, must take priority, in my eyes.. your relationship would probably not survive anyway, if you both became homeless due to insufficient income..? I can not really understand your wife’s logic here, even though I try.. good luck in these tough times, friend! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

        1. The deadline is midnight. Sometimes big whigs in companies send out emails late at night. Tomorrow morning, I’ll have the conversation with my wife. Granted, if something happens, I can change the plan, but I got to get something in motion…the inaction is killing me.

          Liked by 1 person

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