Old sofa and cat.

I'm not Going to Miss this Sofa

October 1, 2010, the day my world changed again. The company I worked for sold. On this day, the papers were to be signed. Two gentlemen from the new company came to our office. One sat in a spare office. The other took ownership of the conference room. My co-workers and I tried to do our duties, but our thoughts were on our fate. We feigned activity. No work was done.

The deal was to be signed at 10 AM. The minute hand crept past the hour. There was no indication of our fate from the two men. Occasionally they stepped outside, smoked, paced and talked on their cell phones. There was a delay in signing.

We waited.

I was not confident. They had their own project management team. I feared my fate would be a handshake and an unfeeling, "I'm sorry!"

At 2 PM the slaughter began. I was called into the office. "Mike," the man said. "In times like this, decisions have to be made ..."

I was out. A six month emotional journey began.

The first few weeks, I sat on my behind on the sofa and brooded. I was in denial. What would I do now? I had six months of unemployment insurance to help, but it paid far less than what my job. Ginny had a job. It would help us get over the hump. Her job didn't pay much, but we could get by for a bit, if we were careful.

My two weeks of brooding ended. It was time to make a plan. I needed to get to work. With the help of a friend, I redid my resume. With an updated profile placed on the various technical job boards, I waited for the phone to ring.

A month went by. There were no calls from prospective employers or recruiters. My excitement dwindled. I sat on the sofa and brooded again.

In November a recruiter called. He wanted to know if I was interested in a contract position in Indiana. The salary was good. I said, "Yes." He submitted my resume for the job. A few days later, another recruiter called. The job was in Washington State.

I started to feel confident. "I'm on a roll!" I thought.

In late November, Ginny came home from work. "Mike, we need to talk." When she says this, I know it isn't good. "I'm going to lose my job. The company is going out of business."

Christmas came and went. It was a meager affair. We made the best of it. The recruiters who submitted my resume never called back. I was back to brooding, my sofa and the cat.

It was an emotional rollercoaster. I was high with hope, the wind in my face and then felt the centrifugal force of disappointment, as I plunged to the bottom of another disappointment.

January's cold was as bitter as my mood. A few recruiters called, submitted my resume for jobs and never called back. Each time, I felt the wind in my face and then the pressure of disappointment, as I plunged back into the hole of despair.

"I'm so tired of this." I said to myself one night. My cat looked up. "Not you, Kitten! I mean going from job-to-job. I want a position that will support us."

March winds blew through the Treasure Valley of Idaho. It was the rainy season. I sat on the sofa, stared out the window at the grey skies, and watched the rain fall. The weather reflected my mood. My unemployment would end in a month, Ginny's a month later. What then?

The phone rang. It was another recruiter. He called about a position in Boise, twenty miles from my home. Was I interested? I said, "Yes."

After all the other calls, I had no hope.

A few days later, he called back. "Michael, they would like to interview you over the phone. Are you available on Monday?"

"Absolutely!" I replied, but had no confidence. There were interviews before. I thought they went well. There were no offers.

I woke early on the appointed day. The phone was to ring at 8 AM. I sat on the sofa - my new friend - and waited. The phone rang. I jumped and answered. The interview went well. I refused to get excited. The thought of plunging into another valley of despair scared me. I'll just stay at the bottom, thank you very much.

On Friday, April 1st the phone rang. "Michael?"


"The client wants to bring you on. This is an eight month contract. Are you willing to accept."

Was it an April Fools joke?

It wasn't.

He was in Texas. I live in Idaho. He's lucky. I would have kissed him.

"Yes, of course."

People say it is like having the weight of the world lifted off your shoulders. It's the wrong description. It's like an elephant standing on your chest. The weight keeps you from breathing. My elephant stepped off. I can breathe again.

It's time to get to work.

I'm not going to miss this sofa.

Note: I start on April 11th. Thanks to all of you for your constant prayers during these hard times for me.  LOVE YOU ALL.

~ Michael T. Smith ~

Michael lives in Ohio with his wife Ginny and his stepdaughter's family. You can see a list of Mike's stories here: http://tinyurl.com/moud8u And you can get his stories emailed to you by signing up here: http://tinyurl.com/ldjruh  Let Michael know what you think of his story:  Michael T. Smith
[ by: Michael T. Smith Copyright © 2010, ( heartsandhumor@gmail.com ) -- {used with permission} ]

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