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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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.