Tod’s Click

The following Click Story is from another fellow blogger I met in the Twittersphere.  Please welcome Tod AKA @AvionicsMan.  You can follow him on Twitter here and read his blog here.

So I was asked by Leslee Horner to write a blog for her “click” contributors. You know the hallways with the light switch at either end? Keep this in mind and I hope you enjoy one of many “click” moments

Working for the Big Airline company isn’t all that it is made out to be. Yes there is the benefit of cheap flights, but when you only have a couple of years seniority it doesn’t matter, you ain’t getting on! The good flights to anywhere warm are booked and the seniority list is deep with the 20 to 25 year employees taking the last of the seats in the back. 2003 was starting to look pretty good for aviation in Canada, the 9/11 hell was beginning to fade and people were starting to travel again. By this  time I had survived 3 layoff attempts and was starting to feel somewhat secure. I probably should have “clicked” right there, but I am a guy we are somewhat slow at times on the upswing! Well as I was saying things were looking up (yes an aviation pun)! I had just been accepted on a Boeing 737NG course (600-900 series of aircraft) and was excited to have that endorsement in my back pocket. We completed the first 3/4 of the course at our base facility and the rest was to completed at the Renton Wa. facility. Nearing the end of the simulator training we all got the news our company had filed for bankruptcy protection.  The weird thing was all of our first reactions were HOLY CRAP who is paying for this course!!  After we all calmed down and the more senior mechanics called the office and the union leadership I understood what this meant,  time to beef up the resumé.  It was odd that the airline would announce their bankrupcy on April 1 though!! A layoff notice was handed to me upon my return to Vancouver and the next day it was rescinded as I was one of only a few with that type endorsement. Next came a forced transfer from heavy maintenance to line maintenance with the final axe falling in September of 2003.

On goes the light switch “click”

I had always kept my fingers on the pulse of the private sector of aviation, so with a colleague, I ventured into the difficult world of general aviation and became a co-owner of an Avionics company as of November 2003. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into that company for 3 years. There was a WWII hangar that housed several companies at the airport we wanted to be at, so we took possession of some open shop space and walled in an office and stores area from that. It may not have been a change in career direction but it was a huge change in comfort level.  As we were getting ready to open our doors to the public I had a huge fear that I would not be able to find enough demand for our services and we would be closed down as quick as we opened up. I am glad to say that we  managed to crawl, then walk along for  3 hard-working years. Self employment is not to be taken too lightly. It is a wonderful way to manage your own career, but unless you are in a high demand field you better be ready for some dry spells. In the private sector of aviation in Canada there are certainly some dry spells. As with any small company we had our share of ups and downs. Several of our loyal customers came back for more upgrades, we expanded enough and hired a couple of apprentices too. I got into a few verbal arguments with a couple of clients about the safety of their aircraft, one even threatened a lawsuit. Our company was fortunate enough to do some consulting which resulted in a few trips to Pago Pago Samoa. One day we had this job to do for a local aviation company, assisting them with some paperwork issues, when they approached us and asked if we would be interested in working for them. I remember my partner and I debating for a few hours on the pros and cons but when the final decision was made and with guarantees that our apprentices would come with us, we closed the doors on our business.

Off goes the light switch “click”

In aviation the smaller companies only “exist” and very few grow to anything substantial. Many are happy to walk along in their own little fiefdom and not grow at all. This was not what we wanted to do! The writing for us was on the wall when we made our decision to close the doors. I will always hold my head high knowing that I succeeded (yes we had a higher gross profit every year) and got out of ownership just as the aviation sector tumbled yet again. I am happy I had my time as an owner, I am grateful that it provided me a opportunity to be where I am today. I am still following my love for aviation and I will be around it forever. I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams or loves, it does keep you happy.

Tod aka AvionicsMan

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JCO’s Click

I met John Cave Osborne on Twitter shortly after Amy died.  After he learned the story, he reached out to me and expressed both sympathy and empathy.  He is the father of triplets, married to a beautiful and petite woman (just like Amy).  The story hit close to home for him because his wife had been through some of the same issues with early labor and bed rest as Amy had.  He has become a very good friend, spiritual companion, and cheerleader.  You can visit his blog, follow him on Twitter, and find information about his upcoming book “Tales from the Trips.”  Please enjoy the story below that explains the road he took to get where he is now!

The Jungle and the Machete

In 2001, I flew over 100,000 miles, visiting places like Vegas, Tahoe, and South Beach for fun and places like Birmingham, Tupelo, and Macon for work. I was a financial services wholesaler; a white-collared gunslinger, clad in a tailored suit—armed and dangerous with my carry-on, the Wall Street Journal, and a frequent flyer card.

After the first full year at my job, I won my company’s highest honor for sales excellence, the Reach the Peak award—an all-expenses-paid vacation for two anywhere in the world. But in spite of my professional success, I was a personal failure. And while this isn’t the forum to explain why that was the case, I will offer the following. I continuously molded myself to become whatever it was I thought people wanted me to be. In so doing, I had morphed from a person into a persona and was dangerously close to losing touch with who I really was.

I cashed in my Reach the Peak award on a two-week South African tour. It was in that foreign land I began the long process of rediscovering myself. It was there I realized how unfulfilled I was, as well as how much more I wanted from my life. I longed to fall in love, settle down, and have children. I also longed to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Finding love and writing the perfect novel weren’t exactly the typical topics my metro-sexual buddies and I discussed while clubbing in Midtown Manhattan, yet I was at a point where I needed to give such concepts the attention they warranted. I knew that if I was really serious about trying to find a more fulfilling life, I needed to change my playgrounds as well as my playmates.

So in April of 2002, I quit my job and blew up my world. BOOM. Done.

In the months that followed, I was lost as a bat. Many couldn’t believe I’d thrown it all away, but I didn’t care what such people thought. I was deep in the throws of a spiritual reawakening, thanks, in part, to a few special friends and a couple of books by C.S. Lewis. (Incidentally, if you’ve not read Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, it’s not safe for you to die yet.) I repeatedly pondered God’s will for me, near convinced that it included a wife and little ones, hopeful that it may even contain writing. I constantly prayed for God to show me the way, confident that something would soon reveal itself.

I was wrong.

Eventually, I moved back to my hometown and started a granite countertop business with my sister-in-law. The first two years were sheer hell. I found myself working doctor’s hours at janitor’s pay, much of them in the form of grueling manual labor. My dream of writing? There was simply no time. My dream of finding love? Though I was more true to myself than I had been before, I was still bouncing from one dysfunctional relationship to the next. By 2004, I was officially in a rut, often wondering if blowing up my old world was the right call after all. I grew skeptical that love and family were in the cards for me, but, regardless, I knew that God had something planned and I repeatedly prayed for Him to show me how to find it. Those prayers continued to go unanswered.

Enter Caroline, a girl I had known since 1980, but one I had not seen nor spoken to in over a decade. I was coming off of (yet another) dysfunctional relationship, and she was emerging from the wreckage of an unsuccessful marriage. We formed an immediate bond, and I was incredibly attracted to her. Sadly, however, I knew that our relationship had no future. Thanks to a few different trysts with single moms in my past, there was one thing I was certain of: I was not interested in becoming a step dad. Period.

But in spite of that preconceived notion, I fell madly in love with Caroline. And then something else happened. I fell madly in love with her daughter. Two and a half years later, Caroline and I got married. Thirteen months after that, we welcomed triplets into the world. Once worried that I’d never get married and have children, today I find myself happily married and the father of four. The business that used to suffocate me is now up and running to the point that I’m able to spend more time writing than I ever dreamed possible. Could it be that after all these years, I’m just now on the path that God had intended?

A close friend of mine, Dr. Michael Ruth, recently told me that, to him, God’s will is nothing more than each of us standing on the outside edge of an impossibly thick jungle armed only with a machete and the knowledge that God’s got our back. As I reflect on my journey, I believe my friend is right. God’s will isn’t something that’s magically revealed to you just because you’ve prayed about it. It’s not something that’s laid at your feet. It’s a feeling that’s deep in your soul. And that feeling is what you use to guide the machete as you cut your path through the jungle that lies ahead. That feeling is proof that God does, indeed, have your back. Other than Him and the machete, it’s all that you’ve got. Other than Him and the machete, it’s all that you need. The path you forge with the tools He provides is His will.

I’m so incredibly thankful for my beautiful wife, my four children, the successful small business I co-own, the time I’m able to spend writing, and the indescribable happiness all those things have given me. Not so long ago, it seemed unlikely that I’d be in such a spot. But I guess I just kept hacking away until I found them. I’m not naïve enough to think that my work is through, for I know how easy it is to get lost in the jungle. As I continue to forge my way, I’ll continue to uncover countless new challenges and will undoubtedly find myself lost as a bat again and again.

And daunting though that may be, it doesn’t change one simple fact. Above all else, I’m most thankful for the One who put me on the outside edge of this impossibly thick jungle. For without Him, the machete, and the feeling He placed deep within my soul, I would never have found any of the other wonderful things for which I’m eternally grateful, nor would I be able to continue making my way through His beautiful jungle.