Developing Leaders Through the Lessons Life Gives Us

Seduced by dollars – finding my way

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in Stray Voltage | 4 comments

Today we put in an offer on a boat. We’ll see if they accept. As soon as we take ownership I’ll put some pictures up. The boat, though, is not really what this is about. Recently I wrote What happens when dreams are realized, thinking on paper about setting goals too low and the idea that sometimes, you just have to jump and trust that a net will appear. That phrase is significant. Let me explain.

When I retired from the Army in 2014 I found my dream job – corporate trainer for an HR consulting firm. It was everything I wanted except a challenge. It took five months to get so completely bored that when someone offered me more opportunity I took it. From trainer to corporate headhunter, but that second job didn’t work out either. The culture of the company was a terrible fit for me, so I looked around a bit and found another position – safety, training, and compliance. It was hard work, I enjoyed it, but the company got bought out and my position pretty much went away. Instead of a pay cut, I accepted my fourth position in 15 months managing an aftermarket automotive shop, dealing with leather and other cool upgrades. A change in leadership shortly after I got there and I was fired, the first time in my life. In my first 15 months post retirement I had four different jobs and made a ridiculous amount of money. Seduced by dollars, I accepted offers based on income and made excuses for poor cultural fit, corporate turnover, etc.

After all that I took time to write a book and tried to retire completely. Retirement sucks, don’t do it. I had to find a way to get back in the game but I had finally learned enough about me – at 50 years old –  to know what I wanted to do. I had spent 24 years taking care of my Soldiers. That had become a part of my DNA, something I am compelled to do. The problem is, there is no money in it. So I jumped, trusting that a net will appear.

In January we made the decision to quit looking for work and find a way to contribute to our community. In February we pulled some dollars together, drew up plans, did a lot of writing and thinking and research. On the first of March I started Galveston Bay Veterans Network, 501C3 in application status, and dedicated my time to helping Veterans, and others who are in need, to integrate into their community. It’s not just jobs; housing, mental health and addiction, housing from renting an apartment to emergency housing, all those things that allow people to feel a part of their community. It is a network, and I am working to become a bigger part of it. The goal is to reduce the isolation and separation that many Veterans feel and see them become not just functioning, not just contributing, but pillars of our community.

It all starts with work. Today, 40ish days after getting serious, we have found jobs for two vets and one civilian and moved one from the storage unit he was living in to decent temporary housing. I have over 30 resumes on my desk and meetings scheduled later this week to try to get them placed. Social events are in the works, bits on radio shows, one service project complete and another in planning. It’s not going as well as I’d hoped, but progress comes sometimes in small steps. Progress is good.

Working a nonprofit is like taking a vow of poverty. The 501C3 is on hold right now pending some really cool stuff that I hope to write about soon. I’m still doing what I will do for the rest of my life – take care of my bubbas. This is what I’m meant to do, it is why I’m here. Eventually I’ll need to generate income somehow. Eventually that net will appear. I’ve already jumped.

Maybe we  should name the boat “The Net”.


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. COL (ret) Thomas B Murphree

    I do not know if I am able to provide the whole ‘net’; but let me know how to suppoort your net!

  2. Anonymous

    Rob, keep up the fight, I was in your G3 shop today while visiting with some of your folks on 4-23-17,

    You are missed.

    CW2 Dan Powers

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