So we roll out of 2019 into 2020 and there’s nothing earth shaking going on that we’re really aware of.  We’re all just cookin’ along like normal.  The house I’ve had up for sale for a year finally comes under contact on January 14 and there’s a closing date of March 23.  I’m very much looking forward to getting out from underneath paying two mortgages.  The class and travel schedule is laid out and PTO is planned for the year.

Fast forward to the end of 2020.  Thankfully, even after the lockdowns started, the house did close on schedule.  But, for the first time in all my life, stretching all the way back to my paper route at 14 years-old, I was let go from a job in August.  I had been there for almost 15 years.  While life has it normal share of struggles and obstacles (and I’ve certainly had my share), this was a new one.

I was looking out my front window the morning following the unfortunate event and watched as a logging truck drove by.  “He has somewhere to go.  He has a purpose.”  I had neither.  Not knowing what else to do, I set up a large folding table and started sorting through all of the business cards that I had collected over the years from the people I’ve met in this industry.  It was time to start working contacts.

And, yes, updating the resume.  It’s a task I deeply despise.  It’s like having to justify your existence.

But I found that people were willing to help review my resume.  I made phone calls.  People emailed and called to see how I was doing.  I posted on LinkedIn and people responded with encouragement and suggestions.  I filed for unemployment.  I mapped out a rough plan as to what I thought I could sell and when.  “How can you extend your runway?” – a lesson learned from Tom Stimson’s Business Survival Series earlier in the year was a constant thought in my head.  Worst case, what were my options if I could no longer pay my current mortgage?

Thankfully, I landed a new position with Almo in late September.  I was one of the fortunate.  Some that I know are not yet employed again.  One just landed a job earlier this week.

So what did I do now that I was gainfully employed again?  I had a friend of 30+ years that was still unemployed.  This was someone I knew that had a strong sense of responsibility and hadn’t been fiscally foolish.  I was able to help them some financially.  But how would I have known about their circumstances?  They were honest about how they were doing – that’s how I knew.

There’s a line in a song that goes, “Truth be told, the truth is rarely told.”  “I’m fine” is probably the biggest lie we tell even when things are dire.  I’m not suggesting you 255 (broadcast) your life’s story but if you’re in need, be willing to let some people know.  If you know someone that’s in need, see what you can do to help.  If it’s not financial, real practical help can be just as valuable to someone in need.

For 2021, if you’re in a position to help someone, do so.  I think that’s our lesson from 2020.

So where are you in all of this?  Are you the one in need or one that can help?  Don’t make 2021 a repeat of 2020 and just “get through it”.  Thoughts?  How can you personally make 2021 less of a dumpster fire than 2020?  Drop a note below.

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