The Plan

Recent conversations with friends and associates has for me, reinforced that the past year has been a very interesting one for just about everybody. Here in Michigan, the troubles with the banking industry and devaluation of homes have been compounded by an erosion of the manufacturing base that has been the bedrock of this region for so long. So many of the local jobs are in one form or another associated with the automotive industry. Consequently, I know far too many talented individuals that are still feeling the effects of the corporate downsizing, company closures, voluntary separations, and early retirements that have become commonplace during the past handful of years.

In what many have referred to as the worst employment environment in the past twenty years, I chose (wisely or not) to leave a company that I had worked for 15+ years. In all honesty, had I been aware of the size of the perfect storm that was growing (and would continue to blast Michigan for the next year), I may have made different decisions concerning my employment. But at the time, I was leaving my current employer, had an offer on the table from a new employer, and things looked rather rosey.

The plan was to take the summer off and spend some overdue time with my family, and then resume my career. As an involved father and husband, I considered myself pretty “plugged in” to my kids’ lives, but understood that compromise was a natural part of my balancing career and family. At the time, our kids were entering their teens, and I could hear the clock ticking. “What clock is that?”, you may be asking yourself. Well, it may not be so much as a clock, but a realization on my part that my kids were growing up. Each of them were asserting their individuality, becoming young adults, and exploring new interests outside of the home.

From a purely selfish standpoint, I was aware that the abundance of time that I would have with them exclusively, was coming to a close. For so many years, I’ve had full access to the kids and their time… And for them, it was fun to hang out with dad – Dad’s cool, and we have fun together. Now don’t get me wrong, dad is still the hipster that he’s always been, but as countless parents have found, things like school, friends, sports, video games, and differing schedules begin to add to add complexity to the lives of our children. And understandably, many of those opportunities are far more attractive than hanging out with the old man. Once upon a time, going to the movies with dad may have been amongst the coolest of options, but now there are other alternatives out there… The ticking clock that I mentioned earlier, was counting down on the remaining exclusive quality time (boy how I hate that term) that I would have with my children… when dad would still be a relevant commodity in their rapidly expanding lives.

The Plan was simple… The Plan was solid… The Plan was well intended. And as you may have concluded, the plan didn’t go according to, err, plan. There were some unexpected turns, and other wonderful surprises on the horizon that I had never imagined. But that’s a story for next time.

For now, go be intentional!

About Jeff

A long time resident of Southeastern Michigan, I am husband to the beautiful Trisha and father to three incredibly bright, compassionate, amazing young adults. I have been called husband, father, brother, friend, demon, scoundrel, team-mate, leader, misfit. I constantly seek personal and professional environments that encourage creativity, empower individuals, and foster excellence. alfamehl.com is an opportunity to share thought and opinion based on my personal and professional experience. My passion for learning remains the driver to become a better friend, husband, and father. The focus of my professional efforts (and satisfaction in what I do) is developing effective teams and equipping others to become exceptional leaders. My personal mission statement: to inspire, to love, to promise, to share, to believe that nothing is impossible
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