How I Accidentally Retired as a Stay-at-Home Dad 3 Months Ago and Went Back to Work Full-Time… Finally, I’m Ready to Talk about It

It was exactly 6 months since I had accidentally become a stay-at-home dad. That’s when I got the unexpected (and overdue?!) phone call.

A recruiting firm in Jacksonville, Florida had discovered my resume on Career Builder and assured me that I was more than perfectly qualified for a Forbes Fortune 500 employer that was just down the street from where I had worked for nearly 12 years.

The irony is that I had applied to work for this company just 3 weeks after I became unemployed. But apparently, the timing wasn’t right when I was most ready to go back to work.

Instead, the timing was right after I had made “stay-at-home dad who works side-jobs online” part of my identity for 6 months.

By mid-April, I had already assumed I wouldn’t be returning to work in an office until perhaps my 2 year-old daughter started Kindergarten. That was because it only took a month after losing my job to realize that most of my income had been basically just cancelling our day care costs for both of our kids and covering most of the gas money it took for both my wife and I to commute to work in separate cars to different parts of Nashville. (My wife, who has her master’s degree, has been bringing in significantly more income than me for most of our 10 year marriage.)

In other words, being a stay-at-home dad actually made more sense anyway.

But in the likeness of the classic sitcom trope where the TV character has no interest in making a deal until they hear how much money that opportunity is surprisingly worth, I quickly changed my mind from “Thanks, but…” to “How much money did you just say?!”

It turns out, my 11 years working at the same company serving in roles of recruiting, HR, and retention made me quite marketable for the right company who was looking for someone with that kind of background.

The new job offer came with a 50% raise, compared to what I had been making where I had worked for the 11 years prior. Not to mention, the hours are much more flexible, so that I can get to home more than an hour sooner each day.

With all that being said, the pay increase of my new job matches the increase of the challenge level.

I have never used my brain at such a high-functioning level on such a consistent basis as I have since starting my new job in May. But I love the challenge of what I do!

So in the same way I found myself suddenly without a job after working at the same place for over a decade and had to reinvent my identity… just 6 months later, I was thrown back into the corporate world, but this time, in a much more advanced version.

It’s almost exactly like the beginning of Rambo: First Blood Part II. I feel like an action star of the 1980s who was called out of retirement for the sequel.

I am basically Rambo right now.

Photo by Mohamad Alaw.

3 thoughts on “How I Accidentally Retired as a Stay-at-Home Dad 3 Months Ago and Went Back to Work Full-Time… Finally, I’m Ready to Talk about It

  1. Very happy for you and you’ve returned to work in good timing.Yes, sometimes one of a couple not working when kids need paid care and expenses created by going to work isn’t always more money and constructive to give kids a spell of a more individualised care.

    At the same time it’s risky to not be in a proper paid job too long re future career prospects. It makes sense resuming work especially with an excellent job offer. These years are the best years for having the chance to use past experience, your own strengths to do well. Actually at this stage working can be exhilarating in meeting and beating challenges. That is no comparison to being a SAHParent for too long.

    With quality childcare, kinder and schools followed up by plenty of ongoing interaction with your children once you all are home your children will be better off or no less well off. The children gain the model of work being positive and normal by both parents of both genders exemplifying it. Furthermore, children thrive more in quality settings with their peers.

    There is really a lot of effort entailed in being a constructive SAHP. There is the constant need to get out and take children to various venues to keep their minds and bodies constructively stimulated/occupied.
    It includes still needing to find from play groups, short term care or kinders. These provide the peer interaction and some structured activities plus familiarity with other adults guiding them. You can’t just potter around day in day out around the house and park for too long.

    Besides, children around the home for increased time create more mess to clean up, need playing with, supervising all the time. The parent at the same time is increasingly tempted to fit in meaningful adult interests and learns it’s too risky to do this much. Eventually the parents mental and interactive skills go down as well as getting a bit frazzled by this.

    Because kids can’t unsupervised or ignored for much. The SAHP cannot get on with too much that their interest areas of quality or private updating education re professional area, much less meaningfully frelance, unlike an unemployed adult home alone.

    In the end a vibrant adult will be desperate to be keeping critical mental interests going. This ends up happening once all the rest are in bed, late and too long in the night. The result is a SAHP feeling physically like a zombie in the day, yet still pushing to meet kids needs properly. That unbalanced existence does eventuate if remaining a SAHP for longer than you did.

    It’s so very,very fortunate that your terrific job came when it did.


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