My husband was supposed to be out of work two weeks after he accepted his “retirement package.” He was going to wake up on July 9th without an alarm clock and corporate responsibilities and begin creating a vision for our future––his and mine––narrowing down dozens of career possibilities into a plan. Would he buy an Ace Hardware franchise in Southern Oregon, work as a “Genius” at the Apple store in San Luis Obispo, hire on with the Santa Cruz contractor who built our house, form a consulting group to continue his work in entrepreneurial development, teach business courses at the local community college, or drive our R.V. cross country while I conducted memoir workshops at United Methodist Churches?
“I can be happy doing almost anything,” Kevin says. And it’s true. Throughout his career my husband has often been assigned to, rather than choosing, particular areas of focus in the corporate/computer world. He always becomes a passionate advocate for the programs he’s responsible for and to, dedicating his considerable intellectual resources to their success. Kevin has a natural ability to see and articulate the big picture as well as attending to every detail involved in creating and implementing programs. He inspires and empowers those he supervises, believing in sharing power rather than clinging to it, encouraging others to grow and thrive––success that benefits everyone. Kevin’s dedication and leadership have earned great respect from both his supervisors and team members, even when it hasn’t kept his departments free from budget cuts and downsizing.
Two weeks notice turned into two months notice at Kevin’s manager’s request. So, instead of spending the summer daydreaming about his future, my husband has been figuring out how to slash his program drastically while still honoring the commitments he and his group have made to entrepreneurs around the world. Along with reorganizing, he has had to “make redundant” (layoff) employees, and equip the “Fantastic Four” who will remain with his vast store of knowledge. He is relieved not to have left the program in limbo, but the extension has been taxing, as corporate life often is. Tomorrow my husband will say goodbye to his peers in an all hands meeting, turn in his badge and exit the building, leaving behind a fifteen year relationship.
From the parking lot, he will drive straight to an interview with the most innovative company in the world (according to a recent ranking in Forbes). And why is Kevin planning to wear a suit and not overalls to work for the next few years? One major reason––we consulted a mortgage broker when we listed our house for sale to ask about financing possibilities for the purchase of smaller, less expensive home, most likely in a different community. We found that underwriters, when looking at employment verification, want your job experience to be in a related field for a period of several years. This “retirement package” wasn’t the time for Kevin to completely switch careers, unless we could do that in our current home, which would be difficult.
My husband and I are fifty. God willing, we have a few dozen years ahead of us. In those decades, we will have myriad opportunities to explore and experiment with location and livelihood. For now, we are excited about Kevin working for this innovative company that has built corporate philanthropy into its DNA. It aligns so closely with his values and his work experience that we both think it is meant to be.
We are envisioning a home in Pacifica, a job for Kevin in San Franciso, commuting via public transit. We’re looking forward to more time together, to building a new life in a new community while we remodel a house.
We wait for the interview tomorrow, for a response to the rent-to-own offer we made on a house last week, for a buyer for our current home, anticipating changes, and believing “yeses” will come into our lives. Moving forward as if intention has become reality.