I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t the best photo. The digital zoom on my phone was cranked up to the maximum. But let me explain.
Ten years ago this month, at my former employer, a good number of people lost their jobs, including me. It was a poor job market for anyone, let alone someone on the other side of age 50.
In a way, though, being unemployed all those months turned out to be sort of a sabbatical. Early in 2009 I learned about Tabby’s Place and began volunteering there. I also had fun volunteering at a local library for awhile, and if “cats and books” doesn’t spell “introvert” in capital letters, I don’t know what does.
Another way of getting through the days was getting back into tabletop baseball, which I hadn’t done since college. To get an edge building my teams, I input player ratings into a set of detailed Excel spreadsheets, manipulating them to determine the best men to draft and trade for. My teams had some good seasons, and although none ever won their league’s “World Series”, it still provided a welcome feeling of accomplishment and competency.
Months, years passed. In summer 2012, an area temp agency phoned for the first time in years with a contract position at an insurance company. The job involved helping clients calculate their premiums by building for them… wait for it… detailed Excel spreadsheets.
I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and didn’t let go. They hired me full-time in July 2013. Ten months later I moved into the role I have now, a role that allows me to work from home from time to time. When I do, I can look out the window of my improvised office, and sometimes, in the weeping cherry tree just outside, I can see little birds.