DiaryDad has been down on his luck…
Three years ago I was out of work… I had lost my job after 15+ years of steady employment. Needless to say I was devastated. I honestly spent quite some time lost not really sure what to do next…
Every morning I’d pack up and head to the library to search online for work, and find books and resources to brush up on my skills. One day my youngest was watching my search for jobs at the kitchen table. He asked me what I was doing and I told him. He looked at my stack of books I had brought home from the library that day and asked if that was why I had those books, and I said yes. Then he asked “are you going to be a rock ‘n’ roll guy and play on stages?” I looked quizzically at him and then he pulled out the guitar book I had borrowed for my “me time”. Then he said “I think you’d be really good at that…”
Later that same day I was sitting in the front room and my oldest climbed up on my lap for a chat. I asked him how his day had been, we talked about the different things he had done and how he was feeling in general. Then he asked me about what it was like looking for jobs. I told him a little about my process, then I asked him what job he thought I should be doing. His answer was immediate. “I think you should be a DJ!”
I was a weekend DJ for 3 years before he was born and I spent a year in operations at a Public Radio station when he was 3, so I asked him if he thought I should look for Radio jobs. His answer to that was equally quick “No, I mean like Deadmau5, Mixmaster Mike or Daft Punk… You are really good at DJ Hero on the Wii and that is basically what you need to do Dad….”
So there you go if it had been up to my kids my next job would have be performing on stage as a rock star or DJ… and if talent, experience, and lack of equipment weren’t an issue I’d be totally on board.
However I was living in the “real” world despite my best efforts to deny it. In that world having no job meant I had to figure out how to keep my family insured, how to navigate the unemployment insurance system, update old resumes, and apply for jobs… None of those were very quick processes and they were very, very frustrating…
I was given plenty of advice, I read many books, and read many articles on how this was such a great opportunity for me. I think in the long-run it was, however, while I was down in the murky, unclear, just plain hard part of it all it was hard to believe. It was hard to believe that the thing that is supposedly such a great opportunity is out there when I was going through all the rejection letters and slogging through the bureaucratic quagmires to get the services and coverage that my family needed.
That motivational read about this being “the first day of the rest of your life” started to fade during the second hour in line at the unemployment office. It definitely didn’t pack the same punch after multiple rejection letters. Sometimes it seemed that the logical thing to do would be to look for a job that is far below what I was capable of because that job is probably more open and maybe flipping burgers isn’t as bad as it seems.
Before I could let myself go down that road I had to remind myself that I had two boys that believed I could go out and be a rock star/DJ, and while those jobs might be a tad unrealistic, those boys believed and trusted that I would do the best and work the hardest for them (and their mom). Which meant I had to sit down in the quagmire a little longer, I had to search a little harder, I had to start thinking outside of the box, and I had to pull myself out of each of the funks that I got into.
I learned through this process that my children needed to see me struggle through hard things, to give them a blueprint of how to struggle themselves. They needed to know that it is “OK” for some situations to be hard because they will also face hard situations. They needed to know that I do not always have all the answers because they will not always have all the answers. They needed to see me not give up when I struggled so they can trust me to help them when they need to struggle. I was doing one of the most important job I have being a Dad.
I had no idea where I was going to be when I finally landed a job, and it was a long hard year no doubt about it. I do know that the experience made me a better person, and a better father…
…and it didn’t hurt, to learn your kids think you could be rock star!
Photo Credit: the author.