As I write this post, I’m a very grateful programmer, sitting in an apartment that my new company has graciously allowed me to stay in during my transitional period in my move from Huntsville to the Nashville area. I haven’t posted in some three months because I have been rebooting my life. My old company moved our entire development shop to New Hampshire to take advantage of synergies with a sister product already based in that location. This has led me to my latest adventure with NC2 Media in Franklin. I’m a lucky guy because the company I’m leaving has been extremely good to all of us as former employees and the company to which I am moving has been incredible in lending help to me in my transition.
Even with all of the help, it has been a stressful time. Let’s take inventory. Laid off, job interviews, house sale, house sale issues, house price reductions, house hunting, multiple trips to Nashville house hunting, school research for kids, 50th wedding anniversary trip planning and going for parents, seeking out a new church, applying for a new mortgage with the accompanying paperwork, moving all of our earthly possessions into storage, finding and moving into temporary corporate housing while the house is finished being built, and throw a few birthdays and holidays into the mix. It has been the only time in my life that I feel that I have not had my hands around everything that has been going on.
There’s a fun (sarcasm intended) website over at the American Institute of Stress that has the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. If you have ever wondered just how close you are (or just want justification for) a complete meltdown, I would highly recommend taking this little test. Check out how well I did:
- 8. Being fired at work (ok, I wasn’t fired. My company had to relocate the product. Still, I claim credit here) – 47
- 16. Major change in financial state (Luckily, I was able to get a job quickly, but this has been a weird financial time) – 38
- 20. Taking on a mortgage (new house – woo hoo!) – 31
- 22. Major change in responsibilities at work (New job, new deal all around here) – 29
- 28. Major change in living condition (Let’s see. Not living in the old house. Not spending all my time at the corporate apartment, either. Spending about 3 nights at my new company’s apartment) – 25
- 29. Revision of personal habits (Up and down the road, waking up at 4:00 to leave Huntsville, packing constantly) – 24
- 31. Major change in working hours or conditions (New everything here) – 20
- 32. Changes in residence – 20
- 35. Major change in church activity (still looking) – 19
- 38. Major change in sleeping habits (Sleeping in the corporate apartment bed while mine is in storage doesn’t help here) – 16
- 40. Major change in eating habits (Up and down the road. Junk food city) – 15
- 41. Vacation (Just got back from a great time with my family at Gatlinburg) – 13
- 42. Major holidays (With 3 kids going different directions, every holiday is major) – 12
- 43. Minor violations of the law (I’m not sure the officer was impressed when I told him the only reason that I was going 81 in a 65 was because I was distracted turning around talking to one of my kids. Go figure) – 11
That’s just the high points and it adds up to 320 points. According to Holmes and Rahe, I’m geared up for a full-on, completely justified wig-out. I’d probably take them up on it, except that it would just add one more thing to the list for me to add up (I’m sitting here laughing at that, BTW).
Thankfully, Dear Reader, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have sold our house, found a new one for which we will close on soon, I am getting settled at my new job, and we will be moving the whole rest of the family up here at Christmas when the school semester is over. It has been one wild ride, but I think that we might get back to some semblance of a routine in a couple months.
So, what can you take from this? What nuggets can I share from this experience? What can I suggest that you do when you are hit with many stressors like this? Here are just a few thoughts:
1. Take care of yourself
On a plane, when the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling, they say you are supposed to put yours on first, and then put the mask on your child and/or the guy passed out in 16B from too many bloody marys. To a parent, these instructions seem counter-intuitive. However, if you don’t take care of yourself and then you pass out, that guy in 16B isn’t going to take care of your child. It’s on you to make sure that you are together for yourself and for the ones you love.
I’m not suggesting that you become self-indulgent. I’m merely suggesting that you keep a positive outlook and give yourself something to focus on from time-to-time that has nothing to do with employment or the stress of the next paycheck.
2. Take care of your family
When the smoke clears, your family will still be there and they need you. I often tell the men that I work with that they need to go buy flowers on the way home and hug their wives. It’s the little things that count the most and you need to remember to try to stay connected. I need to do better at this and you probably do, too. Also, take time out to focus on your kids. Whether we are conscious of it or not in the midst of our turmoil, they are still growing and observing. It’s on us to spend time with them and show them how to be calm in the midst of change.
3. Take time to dream of the future
When I was growing up, the preacher at our church talked about king who wanted a ring that, when he looked at it when he was sad, it would make him happy. However, the ring inadvertently had the power to do the opposite, it could also make him sad when he was happy. The ring simply said, “This too shall pass.” For me, I’m not feeling sad. On the contrary, I’m feeling quite blessed. However, I could use some settled, so I like to dream of when the time driving up and down interstate 65 will pass and we can be settled here when our home is finished.
It has been enjoyable to look at our house go up and to plan for the time when we will all be here and settled in. I have enjoyed planning where the furniture will be and making plans for the gatherings we will have at the house. I’m particularly looking forward to reading out on our back porch.
If you find yourself in a similar crazy situation like ours, make sure to take the time to look ahead. It will help lighten your present load quite a bit.
In conclusion, I and my family are on the spin up side of this reboot and that makes me quite happy. When we get the system fully restored, we’ll have an upgraded house that is big enough for all of us, we will be closer to family, the kids will be in the #1 school system in Tennessee, and we will have very good, interesting jobs. All in all, I think it will be a very good upgrade.