Where I Ended Up Exactly One Year After Losing My Job: 6 Months In at a Fortune 500 Company, With a 62% Pay Increase

Today makes exactly one year since I lost my job in HR and Recruiting in the transportation industry, after working at the same place for over 11 years. The company essentially shut down an entire branch all at once, meaning that dozens of us left the office for the final time that day, with a 2 weeks’ severance pay on the way out.

For the next 6 months, I proudly adopted the title of “Stay at Home Dad”, as our daughter was only a year and a half. During that amount of time (and as I still continue to do now), I made a side income from managing my 2 YouTube channels along with this blog, as well as working as a contracted SEO Specialist for Vanderbilt University’s Biostatistics Department.

I also applied for 107 jobs, updated my LinkedIn, and prayed to God that I would find favor with the right people.

One of those jobs was for a Fortune 500 Company; right across the interstate from where I had worked all those years.

It’s funny because I had always dreamed of one day, being able to work in one of those half dozen identical 6 story buildings; not even knowing which employers were actually in them.

Exactly 6 months after losing my job, I received a call from that Fortune 500 company. I went in for the interview the day before my 37th birthday.

I didn’t realize what a big deal it was that I had more than a decade of recruiting experience specifically in the trucking industry and that I had even voluntarily took a course in HR a few years back; specializing in Emotional Intelligence.

But the manager did. And I was offered the job on the spot.

That was 6 months ago.

Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of applying everything I have learned over the years, here at my new job.

It’s pretty rewarding to think: There are a lot of things I’m not good at- but somehow, I am totally wired to be a recruiter; to handle the hiring side of HR.

I have a talent for managing chaos; which is ultimately what recruiting is, especially in the transportation industry. I am well qualified for a job that is well in demand these days.

Finally after all these years, I can feel that my English degree and my more than a decade of recruiting and retention experience has paid off… literally:

In a year’s time, I now make 62% more than I did at my old job, where I was actually in a management role.

Granted, my wife and I are Dave Ramsey followers. So we’re simply carrying over all our extra income into paying off the principal on our home mortgage, as well as savings.

And yes, that’s still the same old paid off 2004 Honda Element there in the picture behind me. (I’ve owned it since January 2006.)

Even though I could buy, in cash, the Jeep Wrangler that I have wanted all these years, it’s more important to me to manage this extra income wisely.

After joining the work force with thousands in student loans and getting married a few years later in 2008, during the recession, and learning to live off a lot less for so many years, it’s hard to imagine living any other way at this point.

So yeah… it’s been an interesting year for me.

Should I Check “White, Not Hispanic or Latino”?

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As I was updating my paperwork for the dentist recently, I had to decide whether or not I felt like technically lying.

It’s always something I hesitate on, more than I probably should.

My grandmother is full Mexican. I’m therefore only a quarter Mexican.

So I’m white; but 25% of my genes, and I suppose to some degree, my heritage and culture, is Mexican.

But if I could honestly describe myself to the Census Bureau, which apparently is the organization that most cares about my cultural and ethnic identity, it would simply be this:

Mostly white.

I’m not 100% white, so to proclaim, “white, not Hispanic or Latino” is inaccurate; because I’m absolutely part Hispanic.

The first time I remember having to answer that question was in 1st grade, for a standardized test. I remember how my mom, who is half Mexican and half Italian, told me that she always questioned that herself when she had to answer that question as well.

I think it muddies the waters even more than Italians typically are “more ethnic looking” than most Europeans. I have always thought the same thing about Jews (who are actually considered Middle Eastern) and Greeks (who, like Italians, are Mediterranean).

“White” is a funny term to me, when it references people.

I would love to take one of those ethnic DNA tests where they draw some of your blood and tell you exactly what percentage you are of each people group.

Mainly just because it would be fun to know… exactly. But really, none of that really matters.

What I learned in my HR training course is that ultimately, a person can claim whatever race they most identify with, even if it’s simply cultural.

If you are Chinese but adopted by white parents, you can identify as “white” if you choose to; or Chinese. It’s up to the individual.

As for me, I’m mostly white, based on the last names in my family tree: German (“Shell”), Italian (“Metallo”), Dutch (“Clowers”, derived from “Klaar”), Scottish (“Johnston” and “King”), and English (“Taylor” and “Wiseman”).

And of course I’m also Mexican (“Mendez”). That’s a little confusing as well because ethnically, Mexicans are a mixed race called Mestizos: ultimately, they are around half European (largely including Spanish) and around half Native (or indigenous) Mexican; just like how the United States originally was occupied by Native Americans before the Europeans came over.

The natives in modern Mexico and United States actually derived from Asia, like the Eskimos who settled in Russia and Alaska.

So technically, I’ve got distant traces of Asian blood.

If you really dumb it down, I’m just European and barely Asian.

But there’s not a category for that on the paperwork.

I Am The Human Resources Department Of My Household

September 20, 2012 at 11:12 pm , by 

22 months.

Like many Millennials, I grew up with this unrealistic belief that if I simply had a 4 year college degree, I would be all set.

Instead, I entered a work force where too many people, just like me, already had a college degree. So I wasn’t that special after all.

Now I’ve come to terms with the fact I need to become more special to actually be special.

Right now, we live in a 2 bedroom townhouse. Simply put, I’m not going to be in the right mindset to even think about planning to try to have another child in home with only 2 bedrooms.

I’m just now.

Also, the part of Nashville we live in wouldn’t put our son in the school district we would want him in.

Maybe what I’m saying right now sounds a bit on the superficial side, but I’m just being honest.

I don’t care about driving a nice car or living in a big house, but I recognize the socioeconomic pressures of parenthood prodding me to climb the corporate ladder.

This is me planning my way out of “townhouse life” into “small house with a small yard in a decent school district life.”

If I was still single, I just don’t know that I would be so inspired to try this hard to “move up” in the world.

But now I’ve got two people depending on me. That sort of makes me a bit more motivated.

I have had this re-occurring dream where it’s my final semester of college and I have just realized there was this one class I forgot about.

Then the terror sets in as I realize I won’t be able to graduate on time.

Whenever I have this dream, I wake up in relief, telling myself:

“That’s funny. You graduated college a long time ago. You don’t have to worry about classes anymore. Those days are long gone.”

With that being said, last night, in real life, I started taking a course at Lipscomb University.

I will be spending 3 hours every Wednesday night, through December, in a class that will be preparing me to become HR certified.

Then I still have to pay a couple hundred dollars and spend 3 hours taking the certification test, getting at least 70% of the questions right.

All to become an official HR guy.

Yeah, like Toby and Holly on The Office.

It was only a couple of months ago that I figured this out, but since graduating college, the field I have been working in has been Human Resources; not Sales as I thought. So I’ve decided to make something of it.

Turns out, HR is one of the (few) things in life I’m actually really good at.

It involves mediating between different departments, reading people, and knowing how to motivate them in order to bring productivity up- all that fun stuff.

I have a natural talent of playing the role of a middle child; the ultimate mediator.

Interestingly, most of the responsibilities of Human Resources seem to translate pretty well in to my role at home, especially as the dad:

Educating, training, empowering, and rewarding.

I’m always in the middle of stuff, trying to help everyone communicate better and always looking for new strategies and protocols to improve efficiency in the long run.

So whether in the office and in my home, I guess I’m pretty much the Human Resources department. But I’m cooler than Toby Flenderson.

 

Top image: Career, via Shutterstock.

Bottom image: Personnel manager writing, via Shutterstock.