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.

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Dear Jack: You’ll Be Turning 8 Years Old Next Month!

7 years, 10 months.

Now that it’s October, it occurred to me: You’ll be turning 8 next month!

Just like for your 5th birthday, you have chosen a family road trip to Destin, Florida; instead of a birthday party.

Considering that we’ll be staying for free using hotel points and that Chevy will be sending us a Suburban filled with a full tank of gas, we’ll actually be able to have a pretty amazing road trip cheaper than it would cost to throw you a birthday party around here in Nashville.

I think you’re making a very smart decision. Why have a party when you can have a road trip with the fam?

 

Dear Jack,

Love,

Daddy

Our Family Went to the Disney Frozen On Ice Opening Celebration in Nashville at the Lexus Lounge at Bridgestone Arena

Tonight was the exciting debut performance of Disney of Ice Frozen here in Nashville and our family loved being a part of it!

We were able to snag backstage passes for the special opening celebration in which our family was able to meet Elsa and Anna. You can imagine how surprised my kids were.

My son is in 2nd grade and my daughter is 2 years old. I’m sure every minute of it was a dream come true; like bringing Frozen to life!

Though I had been to Disney on Ice exactly 30 years ago when the feature was The Sword in the Stone, my wife had never experienced it.

The show is very well done. I highly recommend taking your family, as the tour will be continuing through May 2019. So check to see when Disney on Ice Frozen is coming to your town.

And if you’re Nashville, there are still 8 more shows through Sunday, September 16th, 2018!

Sep 14, 2018 Fri 10:30 AM
Sep 14, 2018 Fri 7:00 PM
Sep 15, 2018 Sat 11:00 AM
Sep 15, 2018 Sat 3:00 PM
Sep 15, 2018 Sat 7:00 PM
Sep 16, 2018 Sun 11:00 AM
Sep 16, 2018 Sun 3:00 PM
Sep 16, 2018 Sun 7:00 PM
@DisneyOnIce
#DisneyOnIce

We are Going to Disney on Ice Frozen in Nashville at The Bridgestone Arena in September 2018… Are You?

From September 13th to September 16th, families in driving distance of Nashville will have 9 different opportunities to see Disney On Ice Frozen.

As for my own family, we will be at the very first show that Thursday night.

With a 2 year-old daughter and a 2nd grader son, I know we are going to have a great time!

And for congratulations to Karen Stanley, who was the first person to leave a comment about Disney on Ice Frozen on the Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog. She won 4 complimentary tickets for her family to join us there.

Will you be there too?

Sep 14, 2018 Fri 10:30 AM
Sep 14, 2018 Fri 7:00 PM
Sep 15, 2018 Sat 11:00 AM
Sep 15, 2018 Sat 3:00 PM
Sep 15, 2018 Sat 7:00 PM
Sep 16, 2018 Sun 11:00 AM
Sep 16, 2018 Sun 3:00 PM
Sep 16, 2018 Sun 7:00 PM

My Wife’s 37th Birthday Gift from Me: Tickets to the Kenny Chesney Concert in Nashville on August 11th, 2018

Without question, the biggest fan of Country Music I’ve ever known is my wife, Jill; who was born and raised in northern California; near Sacramento. (I suppose there’s some irony in knowing that I myself was born and raised in Fort Payne, Alabama; the hometown of the country group Alabama.)

Her favorite artist is Kenny Chesney. And amazingly, he just happened to be having a show in Nashville (where we live) on her 37th birthday, which happened to be on a Saturday.

In other words, the stars were aligned just right for my wife to have the perfect birthday gift for her 37th birthday.

My parents came up to take care of our kids while we were out having fun for over 11 hours, so we didn’t have to worry about getting a babysitter.

We were able leave our house early enough to find a place to park and stop for dinner, without feeling rushed.

The opening acts were Old Dominion and Thomas Rhett.  They both served as perfect openers, as their style shares the same laid back rock feel of Kenny Chesney’s music.

Earlier this week leading up to the concert, my wife already stated that this was going to be the best birthday gift she’s ever gotten. She confirmed that statement throughout the concert- and a few times since we got back from it.

An interesting side note: Kenny Chesney’s show broke the all-time attendance record for the Nissan Stadium where it was held; as we were part of the 55,182 people who attended.

I’m happy that my wife loved the concert so much. Despite living in the Nashville area, it’s seldom we ever actually get to go become part of the action downtown. We had a great time together!

If only Kenny Chesney did a show every August in Nashville, I’d never again need to wonder what to get her for her birthday. I’d be set…

Here’s to a great way to start 37!

Every Wednesday is Noodles & Company: How I Accidentally Founded the “Lunch Bunch” Tradition at My Office

This week marked the third month of my return to the corporate world. After an unexpected gig as a stay-at-home dad for 6 months, my mind is now consumed for 8 hours a day by a constantly shifting workload of HR, marketing, and admin; as my English degree somewhat randomly translated into a lifelong career as a professional recruiter; in addition to running this blog, managing two YouTube channels, and handling SEO for companies on the side.

Never in my life has anything I’ve ever done required such a high percentage of brain functioning as my new current job at a Fortune 500 company; as I hide away all day in a fancy 6 story building outside of Nashville. It’s not stressful, but it’s undeniably challenging.

For most of my 11 years as a recruiter at my previous employer, I was known for just bringing my lunch everyday. And I definitely never went out to lunch with any of my co-workers.

But about a month ago at my new job, I decided to reward myself for surviving the first two months of training. I walked half a mile around the corner to the Noodles and Company; knowing without a doubt they would quickly and easily be able to accommodate my needs as a manly vegan.

The meal was everything wondrous I imagined it would be.

So after I walked the half a mile back to my office, I casually mentioned to Lori, who works in the cubicle next to me, what I did on my lunch break.

She immediately responded, “When are you going again? Let me know- I want to go next time!”

For the next two Wednesdays, she and I both went. Then word spread. Today made the 4th week of our tradition, and now were up to about a half a dozen people.

We’re all Noodles Rewards members; meaning we earn special discounts and freebies each time we stop there for lunch.

It feels good to be a part of the group- and to know we’re going somewhere I actually want to be each week and that I never get tired of.

My favorites are the Spicy Korean noodles with tofu and the Thai Green Curry.

Noodles & Company is naturally an extension of my identity. Not only do they openly cater to vegans like myself, but they also have so many menu options for everyone else in my lunch bunch; including one co-worker who orders theirs gluten-free; which is very easy to do with there not only being rice noodles but also Zoodles, made from zucchini.

I also appreciate that I can get meals that come so spicy they fog up my glasses. I like how we can see the staff making our food the moment we order it and then how our food is brought to our table just a few minutes later.

And not only is the price in my budget, but as a token Millennial, I avoid going to restaurants where I have to tip. Noodles and Company is a fast-casual style restaurant; meaning that there is not full table service offered.

By now, it may be easy to assume that Noodles and Company is sponsoring this post. But no, they’re not.

In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned there here on my blog, simply because I am passionate about their brand. Back in January 2017, I featured them in a story about my son and I going to see Rogue One and stopping at Noodles and Company for dinner. (See picture above.)

I am simply writing about something I very much like. I am a huge fan of Noodles and Company.

And therefore, the Lunch Bunch is sure to arrive every Wednesday.

Nashville-Based Vegan Daddy Blogger Takes His Family of 4 to the First Tennessee Park to See the Nashville Sounds Play Baseball, By Nick Shell

Just a few days after returning from our 2 week-long family vacation to northern California, including Lake Tahoe, we went to our first baseball game, as a family of four.

Here in Nashville, the home time is the Nashville Sounds. We got to finally check out the new stadium, which is called First Tennessee Park.

Back in April, I was invited by Toyota to go on an all expenses paid road trip across Florida to check out the MLB Spring Training Grapefruit League. That’s where I got my personalized Braves jersey with my last name on the back. Aren’t I cool?

I figured this Nashville sounds game was the most appropriate time to wear it. Turns out, I was one of many wearing a Braves jersey.

My kids easily had a great time, as there was much excitement in the air. Things got especially interesting when my son got his picture take with Booster the Hot Chicken, who serves as the official new mascot of the Nashville Sounds.

Because in case you didn’t know it, Nashville has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years over our city’s famous “Nashville hot chicken“.

Granted, there’s some irony in that my wife and kids are vegetarian and I’m a vegan, so we’ve never eaten Nashville hot chicken.

Or on second thought, maybe it makes even more sense for my son to hug a giant chicken…

Needless to say, our dinner at the Nashville Sounds game consisted of vegan burgers.

In addition to watching the game, you can also play miniature golf or corn hole. And of course, only in Nashville is the scoreboard and JumboTron a giant guitar!

I’m glad our family go to experience the Nashville Sounds game at their new stadium. We really do live in such a cool town.