Return to America - Continued

I would find a temporary job with Fujitsu Network Communications. A temporary job that I quickly parlayed into a nearly 5 year position. It was there that I met a business mentor, a man I learned a great deal about business and management. Working in their IT department I was quickly handed more and more responsibility. I became the word smith of the department penning many of the procedures and policies as well as much of the company wide communication. I learned my first important catch phrase "you can't manage what you can't measure" and have employed that belief every since. They were formative business years. Then came September 11th, 2001. The telecom economy was already in peril and 9/11 only exasperated a bad situation. In 2002 FNC began layoffs and in 2003 my name finally came up. It was a testament to the men i worked for that they found ways to protect me through many rounds of layoffs, where men in higher positions than me were led to the door the door. I recall vividly my final day at my first real corporate job. I said good-bye to colleges of nearly 5 years and was given the honor of showing myself down the long corridor out the building and to my waiting car.

I would drive to my brand new home, finished only one month earlier and stand in my driveway. I don't know how long I stood there, staring at my house. I only recall the thoughts of "what next" running through my head. I had not yet even made my first house payment. It was just me and the three bedroom home that just that morning I could easily afford and that night no longer could.

Remarkably, even though I would not have another full time job for nearly 6 months I kept the house, the car and never missed any payments on anything. I found a part-time job leasing apartments and never took a dime of unemployment. My severance package, very controlled spending and a positive attitude got me to my next job at High Pointe Group. It wasn't a great job and in many ways a step backward, but I still learned a great deal and moved forward with my life. It would be during these years that I would meet my future wife and the young lady I would call my first daughter. Later a second one would entire my life, ironically at the same age of 12.

Walking Down the Isle of Life

I would meet my future wife through my best friend. She knew at once that I was the one for her, but it would take me a little longer to bend my knee and present a ring. I would even go all old-fashioned and ask her father for her hand in marriage. He gleefully, emphatically, happily said "YES!" Of course he was the easy one, to marry her I would need the permission of her youngest child whom still lived with her. A precocious book worm and tomboy. She too wouldn't even have to think about it she was happy to consent and call me step-dad. While the marriage itself would not last, my love and friendship with her continues to this day.