On January 30 I walked into work with a huge smile on my face and I felt like I was entering a period of great prospects. This was incongruous because it was the last day of my contract and my company had no prospects for new contracts. I had friends and co-workers who had already been unemployed for over 4 months and had done thorough nationwide searches trying to drum up new contracts with absolutely no results. Over the last year the contracting job market had completely dried up.
I had resolved to live off my savings for as long as possible and I was looking forward to some time off after working a tremendous amount over the previous year and a half. I also had some ideas for starting my own business that I wanted time to think about and work on. I also had things to do around the house that had been neglected for too long.
One of the things I wanted to do was go on a cruise with my wife. Not knowing my job future made me delay until the last moment but I booked a cruise at the last moment over the internet. My wife and I hurriedly packed and drove down to Galveston on February 8. We got caught in a huge traffic logjam just south of Houston and barely made it to the dock in time to board. I dropped my wife and our luggage at the dock and parked the car. We then got into the line to check in and got out driver's licenses out. We got up to the TSA people and they asked for our birth certificates or passport. I had hurriedly read the travel documents web page the night before which said that passports weren't required so I panicked a bit. I thought you only needed a driver's license. No problem, we'd brought our passports along even though we thought they weren't needed so we ran back out to our luggage.
After 30 minutes later of going through every piece of luggage we couldn't find any sign of my passport. Feeling like the stupidest person on the planet I made one last attempt to beg my way onto the ship only to be denied. I went back to the car, searched it for my passport, and went and picked up my wife and luggage for the long drive back to Austin.
Before leaving I called Royal Caribbean and they graciously agreed to transfer my non-refundable payment to a future cruise. The only problem was that this was the only week that really worked for us that was also affordable. After a little discussion we decided the only week that would really work was the week of spring break. This also meant that all of the kids would be free. So I made a command decision to book a cruise not just for the wife and I, but also for all 4 kids. Royal Caribbean helped us get it all set up the next day and we are now looking forward to a dream vacation.
By the way, in our haste to leave, my small backpack that I was going to carry on got left at the house. Inside were my cameras, some computer cables, and ... (drum roll please) ... my passport.
That next week I enjoyed my time off and didn't do much. On Friday I got an update from Linked In and I decided on the spur of the moment to ping a couple people in my network to see if they knew of any jobs. Within the hour they had responsed and I'd sent out a couple of updated resumes. The following Monday I got a call from a hiring manager and on Tuesday I had a phone interview with him and on the next day did a phone interview with a senior fellow of the company. The next Tuesday I had an on campus interview and two days later had an offer which I accepted two days ago and I start a great new job on 3/9.
If I was still an active member of the church this string of events would make a great faith promoting story to tell during testimony meeting. What initially looks like a calamity (missing the cruise and losing a lot of non-refundable money) results in my getting a great job and being able to take a cruise with the whole family while on paid vacation instead of while hoping to find a job.
Are these the blessing of heaven despite my unworthiness or because of my wife's worthiness or is it just life? My personal opinion is that there wasn't any divine intervention. Everything that happened was a direct result of my own stupidity and my own initiative in doing what I could do. I'm happy that Royal Caribbean felt it was good business to allow me to rebook the cruise at a later date even though they had no contractual obligation to do so. But, their decision was rewarded with more business from me that they wouldn't have otherwise gotten. I'm glad that I was in Austin to send out those feelers instead of on a cruise ship. But in the end, I don't know if it would have made any difference if I'd sent those resumes out a few days or a week later. I have a very good resume with unique skills and the company really wanted to hire me and found a spot for me despite challenging ecomonic times.
I'm blessed and I'm happy. But I wouldn't feel any differently if those things hadn't happened. The flip side is I also don't feel cursed or tried when things aren't going well. I feel like my personal life philosopy allows me to ride the ups and downs of life with relative equanimity.