OPINION – Most people who set out to get an education try to visualize what their eventual success will look like. The payoff for my own education certainly wasn’t what I had visualized. It took the form of being let go from my job exactly two years ago.
Getting that pink slip was one of the best things to ever happen to me. In order to understand why this is so, some background information is necessary.
I’ve never been a risk-taker, but 8 years ago, I took one of the biggest gambles of my life. Within the space of 6 months I resigned from two full-time radio jobs, moved my family to Cedar City and enrolled as a full time student at an unaccredited school.
To family and friends, my walking away from secure employment to pursue a liberal arts education made about as much sense as bathing in gasoline and drying off next to an open fire.
In my heart I knew I was doing the right thing, even when a nagging question would pop into my head every so often asking, “Are you sure this is worth it?”
My education required a heavy commitment of personal study time which narrowed my choices to focusing on supporting my family or doing justice to my studies. I chose the latter as figurative wolves howled at our doorstep.
Trying to support my growing family on a fraction of our former income was only the first of many challenges. At first, I was only able to secure part time radio work. Eventually my hours became full time but my pay stubbornly kept its part time proportions.
Our savings quickly dwindled and financial worry dogged my thoughts relentlessly as debts mounted. Household and automotive repairs and maintenance began to accumulate, adding to the stress. Our ability to pay our bills on time was becoming difficult.
I finished my undergraduate work and continued on in pursuit of my graduate degree. But eventually economics dictated that I adjust my focus to providing for my family and my classroom studies ended.
My personal studies, however, continued. They were supplemented by teaching opportunities that included professional speaking, writing, and teaching online classes. Even my radio duties afforded me the chance to continue to learn and teach.
Meanwhile the economy continued to worsen and unemployment climbed nationally and locally. I clung to my radio work with a mixture of gratitude and frustration; grateful to be employed, but seemingly trapped in a dead end, low paying job I just happened to love doing.
I wanted to do more but was unwilling to give up the security of known employment for the risk of seeking greater opportunity.
“When will this education pay off?” I wondered. The answer came the moment I was informed that I had just been downsized.
As the chill that accompanies bad news wore off, I sensed something very different was taking place in my life. I had just lost my job in the worst economy since the Great Depression.
Why on earth did I feel at peace?
As I prayerfully examined my options, I realized that two remarkable things had changed since I had committed to pursuing my education. First, my view of the world had expanded.
Instead of radio being my sole means of income, I saw innumerable opportunities before me. Not just to earn a paycheck, but to use my understanding and talents in ways that had a positive impact on those around me. I could now write, speak and teach effectively to diverse audiences in widely varied settings. The fear of losing a job was a thing of the past.
Secondly, my education had created fruitful relationships with others. The currency of these relationships proved more powerful at opening doors than mere credentials or status.
With this change in my worldview, I marveled as opportunity after opportunity gravitated to me as the word spread that I’d been downsized. Amazingly, many of these opportunities not only aligned with my personal mission but also allowed me to continue to develop my talents and knowledge.
For the first time in my life, I was free to choose which opportunities best fit my purpose and my family’s needs. There was abundance in every direction I looked. The stress of not having a job was threatening to give way to having more blessings than I was capable of receiving.
It’s no exaggeration to say that losing my job was a huge blessing disguised as a minor setback. It turned out to be the kind of opportunity that required a combination of Divine Providence and a liberal arts education to fully appreciate.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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