The three most stressful moments in no particular order: buying your first house, standing in front of a crowded church at your first wedding and starting a new job. I would add to that list watching the Cowboys in the fourth quarter of any game for the past 10 years, but that’s just too depressing.
A good friend once told me never to do more than one of those life changers at any one time.
In other words: if you’re getting married, don’t immediately start building a new house or take a new job. Many, including yours truly, haven’t taken that advice in the past and suffered dearly under enough pressure to turn coal into a diamond.
Luckily, I’ve learned my lesson. I recently changed jobs while living in an old house with an old wife. Wait, scratch that last part. Existing wife. Current wife. Long-time wife. Crap. Forget it. But something else unexpected happened during this recent job change. This marked the first time my kids factored into the change.
I wasn’t taking a job that forced a move, so the kids are staying in their same school with their same friends and near their same Chili’s. Yes, a job that includes a moving truck in the driveway is completely anarchy for sure. But this change actually brings me closer to home. Very close. Perhaps too close for comfort close. This job has me working out of the front bedroom (aka the home office) of the house instead of spending two hours each day driving to and from Fort Worth.
So, yeah, there are some new challenges to work through. My last job selling sponsorships at TCU lasted eight years. My son is 9 years old. You do the math. For the little guy, that job was the only job he’s ever known for his dad. He just didn’t understand why in the world people changed jobs since he’s never seen me, you know, change jobs.
My teenage daughter was a bit more experienced with my job changes. She spent three years in Los Angeles when I worked for DirecTV and then was old enough to figure out when I transitioned to a couple of new jobs in DFW. So her adjustment was more about me working from the front bedroom vs. the actual new job. And since she’s much more interested in what’s happening on Instagram, I’m thinking I could change jobs each week and she wouldn’t figure it out until she saw me waiting tables at Chili’s.
How much should you include the kids into any big move like a job change? I may be in the minority on this subject, but my answer is not to include them at all. A bit harsh? Perhaps. But until they actually have a job themselves, a job that helps pay for their home, car, clothes, food, kids, iPhones, kids, iPhone cases and kids, well, they don’t get a vote.
My kids are fairly smart – not MENSA smart, but smart enough – but during my decision-making process when looking at changing jobs I made the mistake of asking my son his thoughts. Here’s how that went . . . Me: “Son, what would you think if Dad decided to take a new job?” Him: “Does that mean we won’t get to go to TCU games anymore?” Me: “No, we’ll still get to go and cheer for the Frogs but I just won’t be working there.” Him: “Does that mean I can’t wear purple anymore?” Me: “Let’s go get some ice cream and forget about it.”
See, what sounds like a good idea just added another layer of worry for me that was senseless. How could l listen to a 9 year old who’s not sure if I sold t-shirts at the games or talked on the radio about the game. For the record, I did neither.
My new job is selling sponsorships in the high school sports arena with a small company that I’ll have a bit more room to grow. But it’s a small company and I’ll be working often from the homestead of Flower Mound. Now the working from home thing is a whole new enchilada. Working from home changes the home dynamic pretty dramatically. For instance, afternoon nap time for the wife has been virtually eliminated. Also, my chauffeur services have increased 10 fold. And I now get more work done before lunch time than I did in three days at the office, but I’m so desperate to talk about my fantasy football team that I find myself asking the Tom Thumb checker who I should start at receiver each week. OK, so I’m a bit lonely.
The good news is that I’m still shaving every morning, haven’t donned sweat pants or shorts on more than three days each week and I’ve yet to play golf in the middle of the day . . . until last Wednesday when the wind died down and a fellow work-at-home homey called with a sweet tee time at Bridlewood. I just couldn’t resist. Don’t judge.
Work is a necessary evil to be sure. While it helps us pay for fun stuff, it also steals years off our lives. I for one, can’t wait until retirement. I won’t have an issue with keeping myself busy all day every day. In fact, I already have the first item on my retirement to-do list: Go bug the kids at their jobs!
Rudy lives in Flower Mound, works in Fort Worth and plays everywhere in between. He has one wife, one daughter, one son, one published book, one obsession with sports and 20 million observations on marriage and children. Follow him on Twitter: Manifesto10.
Published May 2014