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You’ve Put This Company Into a Tailspin

August 21, 2013

Rodney, it’s not working out. I brought you here to take over for me and you’ve put this company into a tailspin. I don’t know if I can recover.

Alright, Will.

And I’m just here. . .

I know exactly why you’re here Paul. You’re the witness in case I say or do something crazy.

The worst part? The people who knew and had worked with Will weren’t surprised. People who had worked with him for years had seen him make rash promises and then break them without a second thought. They somehow thought that me being from out of state would make some difference.

It didn’t.

Twenty three days. That’s how long from my first day to my last.

I’ve lost jobs before. But, this time things were slightly different. While I was at Crazy Man Ranch to try to focus on rafting, my background and training was in computers and software development. There’s none of that in Northern Wisconsin. Job prospects were slim.

And there was the added embarrassment factor. I had made a big deal of telling my friends and family goodbye as we set out on this cross country trip. Now, I had to tell them that the ones who objected were right.

The worst issue though was the money. We’d carried some debts into the move. And then there was the cost of the move itself. And we’d bought a house. I BOUGHT A HOUSE BASED ON HIS RECOMMENDATIONS!

I couldn’t even plan on staying in Wisconsin without shelling out a ton of money. It was only August, but winter was coming and our house had a new furnace, but no heating oil tank. To buy and fill the tank would cost about $1,000. It was money that I didn’t have and now was most likely not going to get.

I admit that I didn’t handle it well. We each see ourselves as the hero, I think. We imagine that if we were put into a hard situation we’d rescue the princess, or storm the cockpit, or face our challenges with square set shoulders. At least I always did.

That’s not how it worked out. While I started looking for jobs, my world started collapsing around me. I sign off this column everyday with the comment about “my lovely wife.” It’s not just pretty sentiments. As I was falling apart, she had to keep the house running. You can’t stay in bed all day when you have 12 kids to take care of. You may not have money to pay all the bills, but you have to decide which ones you are going to pay. Food became really scarce, but you still have to prepare meals.

The time was just as tough on her as it was on me. She’s just made of sturdier stuff.

I got up each day. Got dressed and went to my home office to look at job prospects. The fall weather was beautiful in the Upper Peninsula area. But, my days were dark and filled with an unrelenting dread.

It’s probably for the best that I didn’t know it was going to get worse before it got better.

This is the third in a five part series on an experience I had trying to run a rafting company in Wisconsin. Monday I explored why sometimes “Following your Bliss” isn’t exactly the best choice. Yesterday I described a really dysfunctional company and how quickly the lies started to appear. Tomorrow I’ll talk about hitting rock bottom.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, blogger and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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