A Novel Idea – Part I

Life is a novel that is written as we go. We add to the pages each and everyday. Over time, eventually, gradually, it becomes the story of us, who we are, what we’ve done, and what we are yet to do.  We are a piece of history, each of us contribute to the legacy. In a sense a new novel is redundant to say, being that the word novel actually means new. For me as of right now it is applicable being that I am now writing a new novel. I am entering into something that is quite new, a new beginning, a new start. Unlike adding a new chapter to an old book. I am starting a new book with a new title, a novel idea.

PLC Panel

An Instrumentation Panel that I designed and fabricated. In a sense, my art.

My last day at a company I worked at for over 10.5 years came on June 30, 2014. I walked in, was escorted by security, signed a paper, said a couple goodbyes, and that was about it. For me saying goodbye wasn’t the part that mattered to me. The events that occurred from the day I was hired up to my last day are what truly mattered. The people I met and the things I learned along the way are what are valuable to me. Many will be my friends for life, we were a family. We worked together, we set goals together, we struggled, we conquered, and we lost together. We shared our lives with each other. In the end, the company we worked hard to build was sold. All the things we did together to create a business that had meaning and purpose was taken from us and given to someone else who knew nothing about what we did to make it what it was. Sure they read the newspaper articles and had all the documentation, but they did not feel what we felt. At the end of the day, that is what matters. What do you feel? Is it purposeful, does it have meaning? Are you making a difference? Are you happy? The last couple of years the answer to each of those questions was a resounding no!

The Passage

The passageways of my former life.

In the last quarter of 2008 we went through a very large reduction in force. My good friend and boss Dan Cooper was also let go during this lay off. It was a very disappointing and difficult day for many of us. We were reminded how vulnerable we were and how quickly life can change. This became a pivotal moment in time.  After Dan left I had to work for people at the company who really did not know me, they did not know where I came from, they did not watch me grow the way Dan did. Dan and I started our relationship in 1990. We met during Navy Electronics school in Orlando, Florida. So we have a pretty solid history of working together that is very unique and personal. My new bosses did not even know me, at all. They did not know my capabilities. Likewise with my fellow co-workers, who found themselves in a similar situation. The people that hired us were gone. The slate was wiped clean. Our new bosses did not know us, they were forced to take us on, and to no real fault of their own did not have the same appreciation for us as those who hired us. Sure they asked us questions and walked around and looked at what we did, but they knew nothing about us. Our value diminished day-by-day. Within a couple years we learned quickly that we were being prepped for a take-over by a much larger international corporation. Morale was at a all time low and our day-to-day activities were few due to the many changes. Very few projects were taken on. My work in particular revolved around projects, expansion, and growth. As an Instrumentation & Controls Engineer for the company I got to do some really cool stuff! Much of what I did, few understood or cared to understand, they just knew I did it. They let me do what I needed to do as I saw fit as it applied to the needs of the company. Again it was largely in part due to my original boss knowing me and knowing my capabilities. He trusted me and that trust built confidence.  I took on responsibilities that were typically sent to outside vendors and contracted out. I saw a need and I saw that it could be done better. Whenever and wherever possible I applied my creativity to my job, in that environment it was my art. It kept my mind and my hands busy. When all of that began to change, it became very difficult to get up in the morning and go into work. It was torture being there.

Fortunately over the last year or so I was given certain liberties to work on my next career move. Being that my next career move was much different than other’s this meant spending considerable time on social media, networking and branding myself. So what exactly is my next career move? Here is where one book ends and my novel idea begins. (to be continued in Part II)

 

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