Forty Years Without A Break – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

In 1977, I started my full time working career as a dishwasher at Parkway Café in Jamestown ND at the age of fourteen and since I had not been unemployed one day until mid-July 2017.

What a trend, Parkway Café, Wagon Masters Restaurant, Tom’s Standard, Dales Mobile, US Navy Fast Attack Submarines retired, Diva Solutions, Diebold Inc., Tecniflex DBA Bancsource, and finally Pateo Enterprise with small stints at ACG and JME as a consultant and employee.

The last eighteen months or so were difficult since I had left my first long term civilian career after sixteen years and started a consulting firm to assist struggling businesses and/or assist new business startups. Moving on and starting the consulting business was the right decision but most of my work can from prior associates VS new customers so finding the next consulting job was a challenge.

In February 2017 my relationship ended with one of my customers and in July 2017, my relationship was severed with my second customer so we were at a fork in the road regarding what to do next.

Starting mid-July 2017, we put all of our efforts into not only looking for our next adventure but also into dealing with job loss grief. Incredibly, I invested as much time in these endeavors as I had working full time.

Job loss grief is real and after leaving my long-term career in early 2016, I had gone through all phases of moving on which included denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In July 2017, I went through the same grief but I guess practice makes perfect since I transitioned through all phases quicker this go around.

Awareness of oneself was part of this transition and during the last eighteen months I had been too quick to accept an opportunity that may not fit and I have learned it is better to wait for the right opportunity than accept the wrong opportunity.

Determining my next adventure was a journey in itself. I looked at modifying my consulting business, starting my own small business in a different area, purchasing a franchise or an existing business, finding a job with a new career path, and finding a job that was like my original career path.

Again, much was learned about myself, what I wanted to do, and that job hunting has changed significantly. Having learned that even though I had significant experience, a job offer on the first interview was not going to happen and the compensation was not going to be as good.

It has now been nearly six weeks since I started my first professional break in forty years and although we have not been employed and burning through our savings this has not been a period of rest and relaxation. Having turned down numerous opportunities because they were not right and we have not received responses for opportunities I thought were right. Having participated in numerous phone and face to face interviews. Having filled out painful online job applications and have filled out applications during face to face interviews.

Having been the interviewer for many years, I have truly received an education on how painful the entire process can be for the interviewee. I am thankful that I am patient and was able to choose an opportunity that fits.

After 45 days of hunting, driving, interviewing, networking, and selling myself we have found my next opportunity and I am happy with my choice. The opportunity is like what we have performed in the past but has significant potential for growth over time so now I can take a few days off to rest and relax. I surely hope my next extended break does not happen for another 40 years.

Wishing you a great day!

Jay Patterson

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