Change is inevitable in life. The difference is some are planned and others are not.
For six years, I was the Director of Equipment Services for the Houston Texans. I worked very hard to get to that position and life was good. In all, I was with the Texans for 13 years. I had become close with the owner and his family. Two years prior, I had been told that I was a model employee. I met with my Supervisor during the bye week of the 2020 season and he told me that me and my staff should be put on contracts and see salary increases because of how good of a job we were doing.
However, I am a very self-aware person and I picked up on signals from my Supervisor that told me his actions weren't matching his words. I stayed up at nights thinking my dreams were about to be taken away. So, I started praying to God for guidance. He told me to eliminate any debt that I had so finances wouldn't be a burden. I was in the process of fulfilling a dream of purchasing my mom a house. He told me to continue.
Eight days after closing on my mom's house, we were all informed that we were being let go and they were going in a different direction. A lot of emotions went through my head as I was being told this. But I looked the guy in his eyes and I said Good Luck and walked away from an organization that I poured so much into. I was hurt. I sacrificed so much for the organization for so long.
Immediately, I was thinking about my next employment opportunity. Then God spoke to me. He said "Remember all the things you've wanted to do but you didn't have time?"
Luckily, I was on contract and was given severance. So why rush into another opportunity? Let's take a year off and recalibrate. So I listened to God and for the last year, I have been doing just that and it's been the best thing to happen to me.
Here are some things that have helped me during this unexpected transition:
True faith is having no fear of the unknown. Faith is key to everything I do in my life. Being a life-long Christian, I put everything in God's hands and trust that HE has control. It doesn't hurt that my track record with God is pretty good as well.
Everytime there has been a change in my life, God has elevated the next opportunity. We can be disobedient sometimes. So when an unplanned change happens, it is God forcing change. I'm a very loyal person. The truth is I was unhappy with my past situation and was contemplating moving on. Knowing me, I would have stayed there and endured the anguish because of my loyalty. God did me a favor and got me out of there with some financial cushion.
Walk by faith and not by sight! Your mental health will be so much better when you live by those words. People say I'm always positive but the truth is I have faith.
One thing that I learned over the years is that you don't have to make a lot of money to invest in the stock market or other endeavours. God blessed me financially enough where I was able to take a percentage of my monthly income and put it into the stock market. I met with a financial advisor and we set a plan for each month. Basically my money was working for me and required none of my time.
However, I didn't just stop with that. I opened up two accounts with the firm that allowed me to manage one on my own - basically daytrading. During the pandemic, I capitalized on this with significant gains. My job didn't require as much of my time because we were on lockdown. So I spent most of my time studying pharmaceutical companies that I believe would be on the forefront of vaccines and it paid off.
Now I have financial ammo if I ever need it. This also helps take a lot of stress off your shoulders because you are not worried about finances.
FIND A HOBBY
I always tell people to not let their job title or job define the person you are. Your job can be your passion but do not let it be your life. There is a huge difference. Passion is something you enjoy and love. If it is your life, you can't live without it and when it is taken away it could lead to some serious mental health issues. That is why I think it is important to find a hobby outside of your profession.
Over the years, I picked up the game of golf. I love golf for many reasons. Some of my close friends were met on the golf course and we have traveled playing many different courses around the country. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to master the game of golf. It is very humbling. You think you have it figured it out and the next day you feel like you have never played it before.
Golf has been important to me during this transition. I have been able to reach my goal of breaking 80. Something I thought I would never do because I was always busy. I play four rounds a week minimum if weather permits. It allows me to remain competitive and it takes my mind off negative things. For me, golf is a battle against myself.
I have played 40 different golf courses throughout the country since I’ve been let go.
I also enjoy live music. I was able to go to Red Rocks Amphitheatre and see a concert. I also attended Rolling Loud in Miami. All these events occur during times I wouldn't have been able to attend because of football.
I love to travel. My job required a lot of travel. I never got to enjoy it because we were on a mission to win a ballgame. I had a lot of stress on me because road games are a lot of work for the Equipment Manager. You have to account for every scenario that pops up and you need a solution to it. "We didn't bring it" is not an acceptable answer.
Being an Equipment Manager in the NFL, you miss out on a lot of things. Holidays and important life events of loved ones are a few to name. So when I got let go, I made the decision to take a year off to travel and enjoy life.
The very next day after I got fired I was hunting in south Texas. Five days later, I was in Miami on a plane to Brazil. I spent nine days in Brazil and absolutely loved the experience. When you travel, you get to experience other cultures and gain a greater appreciation of God's creations. Two weeks after I got back from there, I was in Scottsdale playing golf and in Lake Tahoe visiting friends. I spent a month in Miami golfing in the region. I also went to Myrtle Beach and did a lot of golfing.
This helps to take your mind off of not having a job and allows you to enjoy the freedom of not being on someone else's schedule.
RECONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
The greatest benefit of being off this football season has been being able to reconnect with my family and friends that I haven't seen in years.
One disadvantage of working in the NFL is that you miss all the Fall holidays. I was able to be with my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Something I haven't done in 20 years. I was able to be home for my Mom's 77th birthday in October. Truth is we don't know how many more of these we will get in life so I'm grateful that God gave me this opportunity. I have young nieces and nephews who didn't really get to see me as much except a couple of times a year. They actually know who I am!
I was able to see my college roommates coach my high school football team to a win. I haven't been able to see my high school play a game in so long and it was even more special that my friends are the head coach and offensive coordinator.
Trust me that you will find out who your real friends are when you are no longer in a position that can help them. There are perks to being "friends" with a person with a high profile job.
I was able to attend my sister's wedding on New Year's Eve in Memphis. I grew up most of my life not knowing my father. In 2010, my brother found me on Facebook and we have connected since then. However, I had other siblings I have never met. I was able to meet them at the wedding.
So when things happen to you in life that are perceived as "negative", always remember that God has a plan and always knows what is best for you. Truth is you might discover that you don't want to go back to that previous occupation and find something more conducive to your current new way of life.