I am moving on to a GREAT new chapter which I am very excited about, and more about that soon enough. But this article is about gratitude, kindness, paying it forward, and how lucky I am to be associated with so many wonderful people. It’s been roughly a year since I was sent on the path to my next great chapter, but I learned a lot in this past year about friendship and paying it forward. My wife Kelly came home the other day and proudly exclaimed that things have come full circle! Since the start of the Pandemic six strangers have bought her coffee from the car in front of her at a local drive thru. Each time this happened she felt renewed hope that everything was going to be okay through these difficult times. Well, yesterday the person ahead of her again bought her coffee! Full circle indeed - a stranger bought her coffee the day I lost my job and someone bought her a coffee the day I accepted a job offer! There is a favorite parable of mine here on the Blue 44 website called the Stone Cutter that is so fitting, and whether it’s about being kind to others, staying in contact with friends, or searching for a job - it’s all about continuing to hammer away at that rock.

So this is where my gratitude begins. To Kelly for being my rock, and steadfast in her unwavering support of me and my search. Never once did she pressure me to take any job offer or make me feel stressed as I went down countless rabbit holes in search of a great cultural fit. It’s hard to put into words, and I need to say it more often, but I would not be the person I am today without the strength, wisdom and determination of my partner of 23 years. Thank you Kelly - you have no idea how inspirational you are to so many people!

I am a big fan of baseball history, and I still get goosebumps when I read or listen to Lou Gehrig’s famous speech from July 4, 1939. Like Gehrig, I feel like I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth because…

  • of our friends who immediately sprung into action and dropped things off at the house, invited me over for a beer, made calls with networking contacts, or sent emails on my behalf.

  • of friends, family, former colleagues, and network contacts calling or sending notes simply to offer words of encouragement.

  • of people in my network, many of whom I hadn’t corresponded with in years for sending unsolicited networking notes on my behalf and for calling people in their network.

  • of new friends and contacts that immediately started helping with my search.

  • of the networking groups I joined that made me feel welcome and helped in many ways.

I have learned a lot about friendship and paying it forward during the past year and will definitely continue to help other seekers find their next great chapters. I had never been through this, and I can see how people can struggle without the support of a great network like I have. That said, I have some advice that I am also going to follow:

  • Help others.

  • Be kind always.

  • If someone sends you an email message, Linked In message or any other form of communication - RESPOND to it. I guess it didn’t amaze me with the lack of responses, but it made me appreciate those that did - even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

  • If you are a recruiter or hiring manager, take a few seconds to respond back to the applicants for the job that YOU posted.

  • Reach out to former colleagues to see how they are doing.

I had > 17,000 views of my post when I left my former company and I was overwhelmed by the notes of well wishes and I am truly appreciative of ALL my family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and everyone in my network for being there with me during this search.