Dealing With Loss

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 6 months ago

I’ve avoided writing this post.  I knew it would be painful, but I’ve just now been able to formulate what I wanted to say.  At least, sort of.  I need to say just enough, but I can’t say too much.

I’ve had a hard four months.  At the end of November, 2018, I was hit with a reduction in force (RIF) where I worked, which of course, means I was laid off.  I’ve always hidden my employer from my writing, never even once mentioning my company.

This is what I did with Duke Energy.  I’m a nuclear engineer, at least I was, and a very specialized one at that.  My major was in mechanical engineering, but I haven’t done that since my days at a plant early in my career.  I have a number of observations to make that hopefully will help you as you ponder these things, and then some prayer requests to make for myself.

Dealing With Loss of Work

I recommend that you do this – today.  Write down a list of, say, 25 people in your life, mostly professional, upon whom you can rely for recommendations for work, offers for work, assistance, general counsel, and continued support by simple things like phone calls, text messages and emails to see how you’re doing and tell you they’re praying for you and thinking about you, perhaps that they even miss you.

Now, sit and think about that list for a while, QA the list, remove names if you must, add more as replacements.  Here’s the thing.  Of that list of 25 names, probably 24 shouldn’t even be on the list.  You don’t know that when this happens, and it’s surprising and even embarrassing that your list was so badly built.  But a few other names appear on the list that you never would have considered had this not happened.  You learn a lot about your trusted and valued colleagues.  Some of them don’t turn out to be so valued after all.

I’m a poster child for getting so specialized that you can’t do anything else.  Don’t let this happen to you.  I recommend that you think hard about your work, and decide where you want to be in five years.  Do what it takes to make it happen.  Burnish your CV, expand your capabilities, prepare for the worst, and be ready to make a change.  I’m living proof for those who don’t that there will be pain and suffering for the lack of vision and planning.

I’ll deal with trying to find new work in a moment, but first I wanted to mention a few other things.  I have been thrown into a situation where I don’t know where my next paycheck is going to come from.  I was given a severance package, but that will eventually run out.  It may all work out for the better nonetheless.

I cannot say too much, but my director and I had begun to clash on a number of different issues that I consider to be of ethical import.  I was ripe for layoff anyway, given that I’m 59 years old, white and male.  Those same things would appear to prevent me from being hired today by virtually everywhere I apply.

This was all made worse by the fact that I simply will not be unethical in my work.  I will not tell unjustified lies (Rahab’s lie was just, most are not), I will not violate my ethical obligations as a registered professional engineer, and I certainly will not communicate material false information to the federal regulator.  My clashes with my upper management chain were becoming burdensome.

The first couple of seasons of the TV series “Alone” saw some of the contestants “fighting their demons,” as they all said.  Aloneness does that to you, they said.  I never really understood that before, but I do now.  I’ve had my demons to fight.  I’ve had to deal with the fact that I allowed myself to become so specialized in what I do.  I’ve had to deal with the fact that I didn’t burnish my CV with advanced degrees.  While it’s good for me that I have a PE license, there was a time when I had begun to study for other certifications that would have been helpful to me.  For instance, I had begun a serious course of study to become a CHP (Certified Health Physicist), and had begun to think about studying to become a CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist).

I stopped.  I simply gave up.  You can call it laziness, and maybe it was, but life does happen.  You get busy with work, with all the overtime that entails in a professional job, you have duties at church, your children require your attention, and you deploy a son to war.  When you deploy a son to war, you stand at the doorway of your home at 0300 hours because you can’t sleep, waiting and watching for that Marine Corps officer and Navy Chaplain to show up.

I’ve had to deal with the fact that I put my wife in this position, and I swore in front of God and man that I would provide for her.  Those demons run through your mind and do serious mental damage.  But if that all wasn’t enough, there was other loss to deal with.

Dealing with Loss of my Heidi-Girl

On New Year’s Eve of 2018, when we were cleaning to get ready for visitors, I noticed an unusual amount of blood in the walls of one particular room downstairs.  Heidi was dripping with blood.  In fact, she was spewing blood when she would sneeze, only to begin the hemorrhaging over again.  Heidi, for those who may remember, was my 90-pound Doberman “lap dog.”  I had noticed that she had begun to withdraw from me over the past couple of months, was tired, and eventually the last several days she had stopped eating.

I immediately put her in the truck to take to the Vet.  I covered the back seat with a sheet, including the bench cover I had for her in the truck.  By the time I got to the Vet, the entire sheet was covered in blood.  I’ve never seen so much blood in all of my life.  She had grown a very large tumor in her mouth that had forced its way into her sinus cavity, and when it finally broke through, the bleeding was intense and unending.

When I put her into the truck I somehow knew she wouldn’t be coming home, and that’s one of the hardest drives I’ve ever made.  The Vet told me that she had lived a long life for a Doberman (10+ years), and that he’s seen dogs with this come back with half of their snout removed.  If I chose chemotherapy or radiation for her, she would have to be sedated every time, and she wouldn’t understand why.  He wouldn’t do that to his dogs.

On that awful day, we put her down.  I lost one of the best friends I’ve ever had.  I’ve hiked with her, camped with her, she’s protected me, we’ve played thousands of hours together, loved on each other, and walked enough miles to have travelled America coast to coast.  When camping we slept together, as we did when she got bitten by a Copperhead.  And in an instant, I lost her.

I didn’t love the company I worked for.  But I truly loved my Heidi-girl, more than you can imagine.  When I love a dog, she’s part of my family.  As I type this, there are tears in my eyes.  I miss her so much, and never so much as when I walk my wife’s dog, or go hiking and see other people with their companion dogs.  Oh, I miss her so much.  So very much.

Looking for New Work

It’s an awful experience to look for new work.  The job boards are ridiculous.  LinkedIn is only mildly useful.  When HR or recruiters call themselves “talent search” professionals, they’re lying, and they know it.  It only takes you a few weeks to figure that out too.

First of all, no one is interested in hiring a 59 year old, white male.  No one.  I’m either over-qualified for jobs, or under-qualified for jobs, or exactly-qualified.  In the first and third cases they have an excuse.  In the second case, there’s always someone more attractive than a 59 year old, white male.  My brother, who is a lawyer, tells me that many of the postings over the job boards are fake, intended only to enable meeting EEOC requirements.  To HR, you’re just a bean-count.

They hide the contact information for the hiring managers, and it takes moving heaven and earth to find it if you ever do.  HR has set up a fire wall around the hiring managers.  At some point in the past, HR told companies  that “You’re too stupid for this, you need us to do this for you.  You don’t know how, and we’re ‘talent search’ folks who can move mountains and walk on water.”  And then everyone simply accepted what they said.  Presto.  That’s job security for “talent search” people.

They aren’t looking for talent, no matter what they say.  They’re looking for process knowledge.  Being smart, or a hard worker, isn’t enough.  You need to have “Fifteen years of experience with AutoCAD, the same with design of variable air volume systems in commercial buildings, in-depth knowledge of the codes and standards of such-and-such state and county, and 10+ years experience with the specialized computer software so-and-so.”  In other words, no one wants to invest any resources in startup or training.  They all want plug-and-play workers, as if you’re a circuit board that will work; the previous one failed.  Is it any wonder millennial workers have no sense of commitment or loyalty to companies any more?

I’ve completed some 66 applications, a couple of which may actually amount to something, Lord willing.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know where I stand with any of this any more.  I do know that stasis if a killer.  Staying mired in the demon-fighting mode is death.  It destroys the joy of life, and I cannot do that any more.

The Future

I don’t know what the future holds.  If something comes of the couple of irons I have in the fire, then so be it.  I’d like that to happen.  If it doesn’t, eventually I’ll have to find an hourly job doing something (selling guns at the counter, working in hardware, doing lawn service).  I cannot continue to be a drain on our bank account while my wife is the only one putting money into it.

One bright thing that has made me happy over the last several days is that I placed a call to a very nice lady about my qualifications to sit for the CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist) examination, and they will allow me to take it.  I’ve started studying for it, reading through a 1000-page book, with another one like it just behind this one.  It will be a long haul, and I figure that my preparation time will amount to somewhere around 600 -800 hours.  I won’t take it until next year.

I am not asking for sympathy.  I’m not asking for anything, really, except that you learn from my mistakes and ensure that you don’t make them.  But I do covet your prayers for my examination preparation, and if you think about it, that God would bless my efforts at finding meaningful and fruitful labor.

I’d also ask that you be patient with my blogging.  There will come a time in my preparation that my writing will be less essay and more quick-links, with me relying on commenters to fill in the gaps.

I appreciate your being understanding about this.



  1. On April 4, 2019 at 9:59 pm, Danny Rowe said:

    Sorry for your lost, Remember all Dog Children do go to Heaven. Rest and give your problems to God, he always gives a good result in his time. I am 6 years ahead of you in time and i am better off than ever. Went through the same sort of process that you are in. As bad as it seems now it Will Be Better in time. You are smart and you have a moral compass that still works, rare thing in this day and time.Be strong and Receive Gods Blessing. Will have you in my prayers. Later Danny

  2. On April 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm, Michael Downing said:

    Keep the faith. I will be praying for you.

  3. On April 4, 2019 at 10:26 pm, BAP45 said:

    First of all you’re a man of faith and I have no doubt that the Lord will look after you. I’m no where near a good Christian and he has looked after me so I think a man of your caliber will be safe. It just often seems to be in directions that are unexpected. My wife is goinf through the a similar situation actually. We just focus on the positive of having some more time to spend with family until she finds something new.
    Not sure what your thoughts on it are but I’ve been working for Ferguson and it has been pretty good work. They seem pretty willing to hire…. (continued)

  4. On April 4, 2019 at 10:27 pm, BAP45 said:

    … outside their industry (plumbing) for example when they hired me I had been in insurance and the guy next to had been in apartment sales. I realize it’s not your wheel house but they seem to be pretty open to all walks in hiring.

    Don’t stress too much. It will all work out. Just sorry I’m not in your region where I could do more.
    Sorry. Had to break it up to get it to post. (Phone glitch)

  5. On April 4, 2019 at 10:34 pm, JoeFour said:

    Hershel, I am so terribly sorry to hear this sad news! I will be keeping you and the entire Smith family in my daily thoughts and prayers!

    May God bless you and keep you; And make His face to shine upon you; And be gracious unto you; And lift up His countenance upon you; And give you peace.

  6. On April 4, 2019 at 10:38 pm, ninjaTED said:

    I’ve been a long time reader of your blog, but have never yet posted until now. I greatly enjoy your writing and appreciate your perspective, even if I sometimes disagree.

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your friend, and my good wishes and prayers for your career.

    May the good Lord bless you and keep you.

  7. On April 4, 2019 at 11:16 pm, George said:

    Very sorry for your situation. I went through that twice when I was younger. At one point I had my car, no home, no place to stay and didn’t know where my next meal was coming from. I only had myself to worry about then. The second time I had a wife and a son. Those were scary days. I was lucky. It worked out for us.

    You and yours will be in my prayers. I am nowhere near a nuclear engineer and don’t know anyone in that field so I am not able to help refer you anywhere. I truly wish I did.

    Take care and God Bless.

  8. On April 4, 2019 at 11:20 pm, Salvatore said:

    My brother, this was very touching and I will be praying for you. May the Lord heal, comfort, reassure and deliver you, may He prosper you for your uprightness and trustworthiness. I have endured the persecution for integrity in the workplace and I know the suffering of losing the dearest canine companions. I feel for you.

    I am reminded of Psalm 37:

    Psalm 37
    A Psalm of David.

    א Aleph

    1Fret not thyself because of evildoers,
    Neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
    2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
    And wither as the green herb.

    ב Bet

    3Trust in the LORD, and do good;
    So shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
    4Delight thyself also in the LORD;
    And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

    ג Gimel

    5Commit thy way unto the LORD; Trust also in him;
    And he shall bring it to pass.
    6And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light,
    And thy judgment as the noonday.

    ד Dalet

    7Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:
    Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

    ה He

    8Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:
    Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
    9For evildoers shall be cut off:
    But those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

    ו Waw

    10For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be:
    Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
    11But the meek shall inherit the earth;
    And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

    ז Zain

    12The wicked plotteth against the just,
    And gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
    13The Lord shall laugh at him:
    For he seeth that his day is coming.

    ח Het

    14The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow,
    To cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
    15Their sword shall enter into their own heart,
    And their bows shall be broken.

    ט Tet

    16A little that a righteous man hath is better
    Than the riches of many wicked.
    17For the arms of the wicked shall be broken:
    But the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

    י Yod

    18The LORD knoweth the days of the upright:
    And their inheritance shall be for ever.
    19They shall not be ashamed in the evil time:
    And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

    כ Kaph

    20But the wicked shall perish,
    And the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs:
    They shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

    ל Lamed

    21The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again:
    But the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
    22For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth;
    And they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

    מ Mem

    23The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD:
    And he delighteth in his way.
    24Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:
    For the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

    נ Nun

    25I have been young, and now am old;
    Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
    26He is ever merciful, and lendeth;
    And his seed is blessed.

    ס Samek

    27Depart from evil, and do good;
    And dwell for evermore.
    28For the LORD loveth judgment,

    ע Ain

    And forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever:
    But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
    29The righteous shall inherit the land,
    And dwell therein for ever.

    פ Pe

    30The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom,
    And his tongue talketh of judgment.
    31The law of his God is in his heart;
    None of his steps shall slide.

    צ Zade

    32The wicked watcheth the righteous,
    And seeketh to slay him.
    33The LORD will not leave him in his hand,
    Nor condemn him when he is judged.

    ק Qoph

    34Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land:
    When the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

    ר Resh

    35I have seen the wicked in great power,
    And spreading himself like a green bay tree.
    36Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not:
    Yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

    ש Shin

    37Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:
    For the end of that man is peace.
    38But the transgressors shall be destroyed together:
    The end of the wicked shall be cut off.

    ת Taw

    39But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD:
    He is their strength in the time of trouble.
    40And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them:
    He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

  9. On April 4, 2019 at 11:34 pm, TheAlaskan said:

    What you now have before you is opportunity. Maybe God has intervened in your life and is showing you the way to the happiest of times. Maybe it’s time to work for you and not for someone else. Dreams can now become possibilities.

    I went through the same thing. I finally came to the realization that I really did not want to work for someone else anymore. That is a really hard hurtle to overcome. You get used to structure, routine, the smell of production, a steady paycheck. You get comfortable of your role in the system. You feel you are necessary to the process and feel safe in that awareness. But the reality is, you’ve always been vulnerable. It is the way of business when you are an employee.

    I’m 64 now. Believe it or not, I am also a single father of two, a boy 9 years, and a girl 7 years. I work for myself at home with my children. I plant 6, 30’x72′ high-tunnels in vegetables and an acre garden in outside vegetables. My average is 16 weeks of full production and I sell my produce wholesale locally and semi-locally (Alaska’s big.) Last years average in produce sales was 10k a week for sixteen weeks. Not bad for summer only work. I have never been happier. It beats commercial fishing in Alaska by a long shot.

    Get a handle on your debt if you have any, and chase your new future happiness.

    I’ll pray for you. Good luck.

  10. On April 5, 2019 at 12:37 am, Sunny said:

    I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. And especially the loss of your Heidi-Girl. That was a sucker punch right there.

    As a dog lover who has lost quite a few over the years I can tell you that it seems to get harder the older we get.

    We lost our Tater man in April of 2016 and we cry about it at least a couple of times a week. He was such a good dog.

    I will be praying for you and your family.

  11. On April 5, 2019 at 2:01 am, Greg Wilson said:

    Herschel, I can assure you of my own prayers, and those of the Lord’s little flock here in Archer, Florida. You have been a tremendous blessing to me over the years, more so since Mike V. left us. Our Sovereign Lord Reigns! — Your friend & brother, Greg Wilson.

  12. On April 5, 2019 at 5:05 am, Duke Norfolk said:

    All that you wrote resonates with me, Herschel. It’s a tough world out there for a good, God-fearing white man. I’m praying for you and your family.

  13. On April 5, 2019 at 7:19 am, Stones said:

    Take it slow Hershel. We Will be here when you have the time for us. Sorry for the loss of your beloved companion, and good luck in finding that new gig.

  14. On April 5, 2019 at 7:31 am, Dan Patterson said:

    Well hell.
    It certainly doesn’t help, but #metoo on all counts.
    Debt is death, so make that a priority for elimination. The famous saying “It is easier to get a job from a job” is accurate so take a position doing something and see where that takes you.
    Let me know how to help.

  15. On April 5, 2019 at 7:36 am, Dave said:

    I’m 65 years old and semi-retired. About age 50, I recognized that if something happened I would be up a creek without a paddle – in other words, in the situation you are in now. Let me share with you some of the things I’ve learned.

    1. Make a list of your professional accomplishments. Do this for two reasons: primarily for your own sense of self worth. When you’re down, read that list. It will remind you that you have accomplished some things in your professional life. Second, it will help you when it comes to your resume. Keep adding to that list as you remember accomplishments.

    2. Start thinking in terms of being a self-employed consultant and not an employee. As an independent consultant, companies are interested in two things: What you know, and What you’ve done lately. They don’t care about your age or anything else. This is essentially what I did. It is still providing me a comfortable income even in retirement.

    3. Make two lists: the first is a list of things you are good at, even if you don’t enjoy doing them. The second is a list of the things you enjoy doing. You’ll probably find some things on both lists. Good. Call that your ‘specialty list’. Peruse the job boards and see what positions require skills on your Specialty List. Those positions will probably require skills you don’t have. Good – you have just done a Gap Analysis.

    4. Start networking. Read ‘fired Up’ by Harvey Mackey.

    Good luck. And think of this as an adventure.

  16. On April 5, 2019 at 7:40 am, Glenda T Goode said:

    I can sympathize completely with losing a canine companion. I have lived long enough to have lost many and it gets harder each time I come to that sad end.

    As to your employment situation, all I can offer is this:

    You are obviously an intelligent and capable person. Besides your accredited skill set you have adapted to the needs of your workplace well. All of this indicates you are a self starter.

    If you cannot find a job that you can apply your skill set then create one. Find an opportunity in something that you can make a living at. It will be part time to begin with but your positive traits will quickly turn it into a new career.

    There are new ‘needs’ cropping up daily that are begging for a person or business to fill. Be observant and open to possibility. If you believe, things will work to your needs.

  17. On April 5, 2019 at 7:56 am, Jack said:

    I have been laid off and survived. I was a mechanical designer and I contracted for 30 years.
    One outfit was going to lay me off because the couldn’t promise me a 90 day extension. I told to hire me day to day and lay me off when they didn’t need me. I was a contractor there for 11 years….I traveled any where for work….srayed flexiable…..I am 67 years old and now work a direct job….no plans to retire.

  18. On April 5, 2019 at 8:03 am, Steve H said:

    I went through all this 3 years ago after spending an good part of my life at a Midwestern based equipment manufacturer. I was forced out at age 55. These big companies are simply letting people go and not replacing them. When things get tight I think they hire a couple temps and use them a couple months. LinkedIn was worthless as were all the Contract companies and headhunters I crossed paths with. I finally bought a book about writing resumes and went to work on my own and had a few offers with a week or two. I simply picked companies I liked and went to their websites and applied for jobs. I am an Engineer too with an MBA. I had enough accounting that I could have sat for the CPA exams but I didn’t. Knowing what I know now I will soon. I was out of work for 2 years. I drained my 401 K feeding a family of 6 and paying for healthcare that we could not afford and did us no good at all. First it was COBRA and then a private healthcare insurance company. I refused to take unemployment or Obamacare. I did have a circle of former coworkers that I could rely on but to be honest most employers call your workplace directly or use a 3rd party background checker. I eventually went to work for a smaller manufacturer that competes directly with my former employer. Needless to say I am enjoying this and hope to eventually see my former employer go under. These old fortune 500 companies are drowning in liabilities: Pension and healthcare for thousands of retirees. Healthcare, premium pay and bonuses, and little work from an army of ner’-do-well millennials.

  19. On April 5, 2019 at 8:12 am, TRX said:

    Pick up a pay-as-you-go cellphone and at least one throwaway freemail account while job hunting. And be *very* careful of the information you put on job applications.

    Some largeish percentage of job offers and recruiters are data-acquisition scams. Does the form ask for a lot of detailed personally identifiable information that doesn’t seem normal or relevant? They’re probably trolls.

    I got burned very badly by that, circa 2005-ish. Don’t make my mistake.

    Watch for the kind of questions that are often used for “security confirmation”, like parents’ or grandparents’ middle names. There’s going to be some overlap with legitimate questions; there’s not much you can do except keep track of the information you’re giving away.

    Your state will have limits on what questions a prospective employer might ask. A legitimate application won’t ask those questions, not if they don’t want to get into trouble with the state.

    Many larger company HR departments outsource applicant screening, or they use online forms and screening software so only applications that tick all the specific boxes are even visible to them. And some of those tickboxes are nonsensical, like three years of experience with some software that has only been on the market for one year, or a bunch of nuclear engineering experience plus five years of, say, professional lawn care. Some of the former are incompetence, all of the latter are “tuning” a listing to fit the single specific person they’ve already decided to hire, but they have to go through the motions of looking for other people first.

    I found through experience that some places will run ads when they’re not actually planning to hire anyone; they’re just trolling the local market to see what’s out there, or to make their current employees fear they’ll be replaced, or just because they’re jerks and like to make people jump through the hoops. And then there was the place that made me wait two hours after I arrived on time for an appointment, wanted me to fill out a generic office-supply form after telling me to bring a resume, and then told me they weren’t hiring… I sent them an invoice for my entirely reasonable hourly rate for evaluating their hiring practices, plus travel at fifty cents per mile. They didn’t pay, of course, but at least I felt better about it…

  20. On April 5, 2019 at 8:18 am, John Coffey said:

    I know your pain and bewilderment. I, too, was part of a downsizing at age 62. No jobs for me. I was fortunate that I had enough time in grade that I could retire, but with limited retirement benefits. But I have never been happier. I left a job that I hated for over a year. Now I do volunteer work or just stay home an aggravate my wife. All I can say is everything levels out in a short time. Do not beat yourself up. You are too good for that.

  21. On April 5, 2019 at 8:22 am, Longbow said:


    Start your own business. If you loved what you did with Duke Energy, start your own Consulting firm. With your years of experience and expertise, you should be in great demand.

    Value yourself. Realize YOU are an expert in your field. YOU are the Got-To person for consultation in your field. You can set your own price.

    Make a list of your qualifications and abilities, these are the reasons why someone (governmental entity… hint, hint…) would contract with YOU for that expertise.

    Make a list of reasons why not.

    Compare the two and see which is weightier.

    God bless you.

    Go get ’em!

  22. On April 5, 2019 at 8:25 am, TRX said:

    Oh, and another thing… if you don’t have a full set of “social media” accounts, set them up now. Provide only the bare minimum information to create the account, and leave a few innocuous “Hi I’m here!” type posts. You don’t ever have to look at them again.

    A lot of employers (and TSA, and other agencies) find it downright suspicious if you’re not on Faceborg or Twatter at the very least. For that matter, many of them use them as part of their business; an acquaintance works for a defense contractor that builds bombs and missile warheads; his HR department is “outsourced” and communicates only by Facebook; they don’t even have a representative on-site. And the company uses Twitter instead of a PA system or company newsletter.

    Given how far left most HR departments are, you might figure Captain’s Journal would be near the top of any Google search for “Herschel Smith” and they’d head for their fainting couches, but “online vetting” is often outsourced, and they’ll primarily be looking at Facebook and Twitter. They’ll fill their tickbox sheets with what they see there, and that’s what will go back to HR. Blogs are passe’ now, like AOL or usenet. Chances are they won’t ask about blogs specifically, and most definitions of “social media” don’t count blogs.

  23. On April 5, 2019 at 8:28 am, Fred said:

    Stop listening to the devil.

    Take a job, any job to get started and some momentum, show God humility, and your belief that the diligent shall prosper. The LORD will keep His promises.

    Agree with the list thing 100%. A list of the 3 things you enjoy doing and the 3 things that you are good at, irregardless of any of other considerations. They don’t have to be work related and perhaps even shouldn’t be. The overlapping intersection of these six or so talents and gifts is where you can prosper. People who love what they do make MORE MONEY and lead a happier life regardless of the job field.

    Encore careers is become a very normal thing now. Embrace it, Sir. Colonel Sanders didn’t fry his first chicken for profit until he was 65. It’s not over. It’s an exciting new chapter.

    Again, stop listening to the devil. he’s a liar.

    I’ve been praying for you since our prior communication and will continue. I love you, God loves you and I thank Him for the time He gave you with Heidi.

  24. On April 5, 2019 at 8:28 am, Guy Gardner said:

    Hershel, many can sympathize with your situation right now, myself included. I still grieve
    over the loss of my lab Tessa. But I will see her again and God has helped each day to fill that empty place. You and yours are in my prayers and I am certain God will provide. These trials can come at us hard, but never more than we can endure. I agree with others here, opportunity is at your door, perhaps in a direction you cannot yet appreciate. I trust you will overcome and will ask our Father for this very thing. Be safe in Jesus, Guy

  25. On April 5, 2019 at 8:31 am, Milo Mindbender said:

    I also was RIF’d in Nov at the age of 53. I went back to breaking wrenches because my intersectionality rating was too low to stay in office work.
    I have the advantage of having a clean resume and a full tool box, hope my old contacts are keeping their head down, but can’t help them if they get sent packing as well.
    It sucks and I am truly sorry to hear about your loss of companionship.

  26. On April 5, 2019 at 8:33 am, George G. said:

    Been there, sir. Not too long ago (a few years). Always told other people that it happened to that it is an OPPORTUNITY, not a problem. And it is true. Everything turned out great. God will provide you with a variety of doors to open. Take your time. Find the right door. Open it. Avoid negativity at all costs. You will love your new life. When God guides, he provides.

  27. On April 5, 2019 at 8:33 am, Frank said:

    I got downsized around your age, and we lost our black lab close to the same time.
    In my case, I ended up taking short term contract work (after almost a year of looking) until I was able to swing another full time job that lasted me until I retired.
    I see you already have some good advice listed above – just keep on keeping on, something will show up.

  28. On April 5, 2019 at 8:45 am, Bram said:

    What a coincidence. A week ago today was my last day at my employer of 11 years. It wasn’t a huge shock – they somehow managed to have a terrible year even in this economy. Today at noon I have my first real interview in over a decade. I’m a generalist rather than a specialist – project and strategy management – but I’m 52, white, and male – so we’ll see.

    Three years ago, my daughter committed suicide. My dog and my father both died of cancer during that same hellish year. My wife and I survived through faith and the fact that we still had a 15-year-old (at the time) son to raise. So the job situation hasn’t bothered me the way it did when I went through a similar experience as a much younger man. (Another situation where you find out who your real friends are)

    You sound like a perfect candidate for contract or consulting jobs – particularly if your wife’s job provides health benefits. Back in the 90’s I worked for a place called UMS Group ( that did consulting with utilities. There were a number of Consultants there at the time with experience and skill-sets similar to yours. Plenty of similar outfits and bigger places like Booz-Allen that consult to the energy industry. You travel frequently but make nice money.

    Best of luck and God bless.

  29. On April 5, 2019 at 9:09 am, Ned said:

    I’m sure you don’t need any advice. Just know you are not alone. Mine was cancer. Changed everything in 2015. I keep coming back. I have faith that you will too.

  30. On April 5, 2019 at 9:16 am, revjen45 said:

    I retired from aerospace as a Manufacturing Engineering Planner. For part of that time I worked contract. Is that an option for a person with your skill set? There are some disadvantages to contracting, but age doesn’t seem to matter.
    Our fur people are part of the family. I understand your grief at the loss of Heidi, having shed tears over every one of our beloved critter companions we have lost. They are waiting for us.
    Ask the Holy Spirit to hold you close.

  31. On April 5, 2019 at 10:04 am, Dan said:

    I went through a very stressful time at work from last September ’til the middle of January, where I was certain I was going to lose my job. I still might – that hammer hasn’t fully dropped at my company yet. I lost 15 pounds and couldn’t sleep most nights, not knowing how I was going to provide for my wife, three kids, and widowed mother.
    The thing that got me through was knowing without a doubt that God was with me, and that nothing could take me out of His hands. He has promised eternal life to me, and that’s enough.
    I will be praying for you.

  32. On April 5, 2019 at 10:18 am, Spin Drift said:

    Dude, two things, where was your FU account? This should have been item number one to have 6 months of finances set aside for the proverbial rainy day. Number two, CONTRACT ENGINEERING firms are hiring anybody with an ENGINEERING DEGREE and a pulse. Try Volt or L+T. I’m your age and could find a job in 10 days if I needed to. Don’t be defeatist, believe in God but it is in your hands, you’re an Engineer figure it out, its what you are trained to do. All engineering is based on a few principles, bone up on those and have at it.

  33. On April 5, 2019 at 10:25 am, Ditto said:

    Herschel I was 53 3 years ago and that happened to me in manufacturing not as specialized as you. I have not worked since. You are absolutely right on all things. Salary is what they got rid of not you. Can’t sue for wage discrimination and when applying for a job I knew they would probably not hire a 53 year old, hard to prove age discrimination. Multitudes of applications, only two call backs. it’s their and others loss. I take comfort in the lack of work ethic in new hires that “we” carry when they don’t want us. Multitudes of applications, only two call backs.

    My faith is what has sustained me and believe me I am no Saint. I learned long ago that things happen for a reason and have seen it many times since. Due to circumstances of health in my wifes family I was able to provide care and would not trade a single hour of that year and a half for anything in the world, and towards the end it was very difficult.

    Yes my savings are taking a hit but the alternative is worse. I use my example with my kids, “you better save when you can”. I am praying for you and remember all things come from God and they are only things most of which you can do without. God Bless.

  34. On April 5, 2019 at 10:43 am, MTHead said:

    Don’t work in a gun shop. It’s extremely difficult to be honest in sales. If you want pure ethical work. go be a janitor.
    That said, you have so much going for you. Your going to be fine. the hardest thing about change is in the mental part. That and keeping satan outside your OODA loop. your relationship with the lord is drilled and bolted into solid rock, Hershel.” tho he kills me, I will trust him”. the rest is fun and games. roll with the punches, then get back up! God bless and keep you!

  35. On April 5, 2019 at 10:49 am, Jack said:

    It’s obvious that many in your audience have been in your shoes.

    In February, I lost my Weimaraner to diabetes, pneumonia, and pancreatitis. He was on a massive cocktail of antibiotics for six months before we had to make the call that it was just too much. It hurts just to write this paragraph, and I can’t see what I’m writing through the tears…

    Based on your writing, I’m sure you will not only survive but thrive as you reinvent yourself and make a new path with your life.

  36. On April 5, 2019 at 10:52 am, mtnforge said:

    Been down this road almost word for word Cptn. It really hits you hard. Keep faith and perservere, it really helps thru the darkest moments.

    Your finding out who your true friends are is a serious eye opener. And how many gamed you because you are generous and trusting. It was a great revelation for me into human nature and what selfish behavoir is and how to spot it to protect myself. Sure makes you feel alone in ways you could not imagine.
    Found my most valuable ally is the great precepts of Christianity, they really are there to provide you with guidance and understanding, and strength. God is the steadfast feature when all around you the world goes to shit. He is always, but you come to understand in ways you could not before.
    Remember, nothings so bad happens it isn’t good for something. Like maybe somebody is telling you something, time for a major change up.

    After I got the immediate responsibilities and obligations tended to, I began to plan out my going “Gault”, this modern world would never be the same to me again, and nothing good in that respect.
    Here’s a quick rundown what I was inspired to do after going through the same as you Captn:

    Worked up to three jobs, to pay off all debt.
    Learn new skills and crafts.
    Bought tools. Lots of tools. Every extra penny was put into tools and equipment. From blacksmith equipment to metal fab tools. (i’m a welder by trade). It turned out to a very fine investment. The best I could have done.
    My wife and I then sold every convenience and frill we owned, even vehicles and our property, cashed out our retirements. After we where done with all this, we had exactly $54,780 bucks, a 3/4 ton chevy pickup, a Buick sedan, our most personal possessions, basic clothes, books, craft tools and supplies, basic hand equipment like shovels axes and a wheel barrow and the shop tools equipment.
    After three years of busting hump and keeping the goal in sight always, we jumped in the pick up, drove down to WV, and went looking for 5 acres and independence we could buy with $46,500 in cash, outright. In one day we had 6 acres, a 1500 square foot house, with a extra large two car garage. We where ready to buy just land, and live in a tent if we had too. Because we had faith by helping ourselves the guy upstairs would help us find what we where looking for. That personal sacrifice was very important.
    Humility =’d Providence. Prudence and perseverance created tangible realizations.
    We slept on blankets, cooked on a old Coleman fuel hand pump stove, washed clothes in a 5 gal bucket with a plunger. No fridge, no hot water tank, we turned our first 10ft by 50 foot garden with a pitch fork and trenching shovel, planted fruits and berrys, I got a 4 day a week job at a saw mill paid minimum wage, and because we owned everything outright, were able to find a nice used fridge, then a stove, built a hot air wood furnace, and began repairing, machining and welding things for people in our community. Didnt accept money from this, only a mutual agreement we help eachother out from there on out. This quickly had two benefits, one without fail winnowed out the takers from the real genuine friend/neighbor, we became an asset to our community, and trust was created.

    Was it hard to do? From our previous life experience standpoint? Oh yeah it was, an unimaginable task. From our new prospective? As we went along, more and more our resolve was fortified, as we did this, leaving that modern world behind, becoming self determining and self reliant, developing sustainable things in our new life, it was actually not only easy, but form follows function aspects and as we delved into this Gault life, it begins to self perpetuate itself. The element of sustainability is everything. KISS. Go totally basic. Rid oneself of the trappings of the corporate construct. Step out of the debt/slavery cycle. Un plug everything from the social platforms, the programming, once not there, is like a drink of water in a desert. Get out. Everything else follows.
    And again, land. Aside from all land is, as a resource, how vital it is to the blessings of Liberty, God is in your land. You see his hand everywhere, it becomes this constant wonder and enlightenment, you become closer through your land to the great creator.

    Those bad days and previous life is all but unrecognizable to us now. We talk about how could we have lived like that, like even we can’t believe it we lived it. And all those supposed friends and family who turned out to be something not friends and family, dis-owned us in mass when they found we where going this new direction. That really tells you something. Like it was absolutely time to change up and build sustainable ruggedized control of our way of life.

    I can’t imagine being more content and satisfied with our life. We are rich people. We have more than we could imagine. Which has almost nothing to do with that early material consumerist corporate oligarchy/political tyranny slave class life and its fiat wealth strip mining operation.

    I’m real serious Captn. This all is not only the Lord’s truth, it is better than I can describe.

    Owning land, and working it to provide sustainable value, as an unequaled resource, the absence of all debt, avoiding taxes, making things at home, having multiple skills and handcrafts to rely on, these things not only can not be exemplified too much, they are the heart and soul, part and parcel of the Christian Way. Land and no debt is everything. All else good flows from this. We know now. Its not just survival either. It is truly thriving.
    Its all through the Bible, scripture, the tangible results of the precepts, the hard won, long learned elements of our great 2000 year plus western Christian Greco/Roman culture, in practical every day dirt people life.
    its upstream of all that BS we went thru before we went provincial and adopted the elements of agrarianism. All that modern world, especially upstream of all politics.
    You got to ditch that converged corporate slavery. Break the cycle your trapped in. The human extinction movement has usurped the corporate construct. From the lowliest employee to management. There are no places free of its clutches of self destruction. It is collapsing in anycase, the sooner you can get out the better you will be.

    Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.

  37. On April 5, 2019 at 11:01 am, Lawrence Roberge said:

    Dear Herschel, Greetings! I understand some of the pain you have. I just turned 60. I lost my prime teaching position at a community college , only to find out the abused the “at-will” employment clause (and planned from the start to dismiss me-I started only aug 2018-to hire another adjunct to prevent a lawsuit from him. In essence, I was an unknowing puppet for others.
    Your suggestions are rock solid-Resume/Cv, networking, and faith. Look it will be hard, but if you stick to it, you may surprise yourself. Assess your strengths and your skills.
    I am very sorry about the loss of Heidi. Having two furry friends myself, I rue the day they will pass-they are young now (2 years and 3 years old), but love, companionship, and devotion are easy for dogs and yet, hard for humans.
    You will be in my prayers. Please let us know when you find a position that you are happy with. Yes, it can come-even for old hard working guys like us! Best wishes. Lawrence

  38. On April 5, 2019 at 11:14 am, Steve H said:

    Duke Energy is rotten to core. I had to dredge this up.

  39. On April 5, 2019 at 11:23 am, billrla said:

    Hi, Herschel: You are lucky! You got out of the dungeon of W-2 paycheck employment, received a bit of severance, and still have your wits! As many here have said, make a business of what you know and like. Don’t waste precious time and brain cells with social media. That includes Linkedin. It’s nothing more than a data-mining engine and rather stupid advertising platform. Plus, it’s all multi-culti social justice. Personal interactions–meetings, phone calls, referrals from friends, still work best (human nature).

    I will return to professional advice, but next, something more important: Adopt another dog! A dog is happiest when doing service to its master (owner, father; same thing). There’s a dog out there that needs you right now! Also, do not overlook the little ones. They are full of character and heart. We once had a 5.5-pound, blind Yorkie that could make a German Shepard cower. Everybody loved her.

    Back to professional advice. If you are good at doing structured thinking and planning, I find that most start-ups are very weak in these areas. Entrepreneurs have the ideas and the energy, but are “all over the place.” They need a structured plan for getting from “A” to “B.” That includes PERT and GANTT charts, because potential investors want to see “the plan.” You can do that.

    One more things–cut expenses, starting with the easy stuff. Contact all your service providers and tell them (don’t ask, tell) that you are looking to reduce your expenses and considering “dropping” their particular service. You will be amazed how many service providers “suddenly” find “better plans” just for you. They want to retain your business. They’ll do anything to keep you as a customer.

    Want to hear more? Just get in touch.

  40. On April 5, 2019 at 11:26 am, downeasthillbilly said:

    Check your email.

  41. On April 5, 2019 at 11:49 am, Steg said:

    You’re in my prayers, Herschel. Your writing has helped me become a better person all around, as well as that of the wonderful folks who comment here. Thank you all.

  42. On April 5, 2019 at 11:51 am, dad29 said:

    Of COURSE we will pray for you…but in Latin, since I’m RC, as you recall.

    A very close friend of mine was a nuker, got hit the same way you did, and found several years’ more employment with Westinghouse which had Fed contracts in Idaho and SE Washington State (You know which facilities these were.) He’d still be working but for a fatal car accident.

    God provides, somehow; often, He provides humility, which gives one a whole new outlook on life. He did that to me, and it worked pretty well, although I remain a sinner.

    Best wishes!

    (Several months ago I put into pixels what was clear from your writings: that you were a nuker. Kinda made me feel good that I could still recognize ‘the language’.)

  43. On April 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm, mtnforge said:

    PS Captn,
    Our thoughts and prayers for goodwill and fortune to come to you as all the riches of life bless you with their abundance.

  44. On April 5, 2019 at 12:16 pm, Furminator said:

    Let me add my voice to the many offering consolation. You will get through this and it will turn out better than you expect, though you will most likely get there by entering a new phase of life. Always remember the Lord put you in this position for His purposes. It sounds like you enjoyed your work. I too was a successful technical professional (and incidentally I figured out you are a nuclear engineer a while back), but I was mainly doing the work for the good pay and trying to ignore the stress and daily frustration. After changing jobs a few times I ended up like you a few years back – laid off in my 50’s and economically unemployable. After a month drawing unemployment I’d had enough and put in an application at my favorite outdoors store where I was immediately hired to sell guns part time. I felt like I’d won the lottery. Now I’m a manager who always enjoys showing up, never takes work home, and finds serving others incredibly rewarding. Unlike @MTHead I NEVER have to compromise my honesty and integrity doing this work because my employer counts on me not to. Retail ain’t glamorous but it pays the bills and provides insurance and our maturity and work ethic set us apart from the youngsters. Don’t be afraid to let the career go if that is where you are led. God bless you.

  45. On April 5, 2019 at 12:39 pm, MTHead said:

    Write a book, your a good writer! “Nuke plant for dummies”. hey, enquiring minds want to know. “No more Fukishima’s”. How to, design, build, and run a nuke plant. Investment, ” the best and worse nuke investments in the 21st. century”. “getting ahead, in the Green new deal”. “If carbons your problem, nukes your answer.” Engineering, ” fixing the problems before you build”. “vitrification, fixing waste problems”. just saying.

  46. On April 5, 2019 at 12:43 pm, BRVTVS said:

    Psalm 23 might be overused, but I think it’s a source to draw upon in these times of decline, for it promises that God will provide for us even in the presence of our enemies.


    Psalm 23 1599 Geneva Bible

    1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

    2 He maketh me to rest in green pasture, and leadeth me by the still waters.

    3 He restoreth my soul, and leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake.

    4 Yea, though I should walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

    5 Thou dost prepare a table before me in the sight of mine adversaries: thou dost anoint mine head with oil, and my cup runneth over.

    6 Doubtless kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall remain a long season in the house of the Lord.

  47. On April 5, 2019 at 1:40 pm, Van said:

    Totally agree with MTHead, write a book, “How to Make Your Own Nuclear Reactor”. But seriously, sorry to hear about your soul trying times. I know something better will come along and when it is most unexpected.

  48. On April 5, 2019 at 2:04 pm, Eric said:

    It’s great to see the support from all of your readers! My so called Air Force family ran for the exits when I failed promotion to major, so I was on my own. If you can’t make promotion, you’re considered wretched refuse. It took ten years before I was back on my feet. Things will get better! You’re in my prayers.

  49. On April 5, 2019 at 2:09 pm, 26ncreb said:

    I feel ya pain , I too work at Duke. Lost a friend and one of the hardest working guys at the plant in mid February . He found another job at a coal plant and has started work there . Did you look at the openings in the company job search? There are lots of jobs you should be qualitified for. That’s how my buddy found a job , might not be what you really want but keeping your foot in the door might lead to something else . Keep your head up cause I know for a fact they let some fine people go.

  50. On April 5, 2019 at 2:58 pm, William said:

    If it makes you feel any better, I’m in the same boat as a 54yr old white male. Only I did it to myself by leaving a high paying job 4 years ago at age 50, walking away from a few hundred thousand in retirement bennies which would have vested had I stayed for 18 more months. Four years later and I haven’t worked since, as no company wants to hire a white male who will be 55 in a few months. Going through my savings like sh*t through a goose and to make matters worse, predictably the wife left once the high paying salary was gone. So no pension, no retirement savings to speak of, no work, and I am the only one to blame. I’ve got a couple thousand a month coming in from dividends but that’s not going to last forever and living in one of the highest cost states in the US on twenty grand a year isn’t much of a plan. It’s likely I will have to move to some small town in the midwest to eke out an existence. Moral of the story – leaving a high paying job due to “burnout” or whatever excuse I was using at the time was dumb, dumb, dumb.

  51. On April 5, 2019 at 3:23 pm, The Wretched Dog said:

    “I will not tell unjustified lies (Rahab’s lie was just, most are not), I will not violate my ethical obligations …”

    I don’t know a single Christian pastor/preacher that understands this distinction – Rahab’s lie was just.

    You are to be congratulated and admired for your integrity, which God will reward, in His timing.


  52. On April 5, 2019 at 3:26 pm, Deter Naturalist said:

    You have my sympathy. FWIW, that is.
    Layoffs (and similar) are nothing until they hit YOU.
    Add in the loss of beloved dog (exactly the same for me, I lost the best dog I’d ever had around the time my occupation blew up in 2009) and it’s rough indeed. I still mourn her, and always will.

    For the job loss I thought I was prepared; I knew that bad things follow major stock market declines and I knew my industry was grossly overstaffed. I knew I was vulnerable. I was right.

    My sense of “being prepared” turned out to be a lie. I went into a deep depression and that was like a hand grenade going off, bad things in every direction. Took a long time to resolve and get back to sanity.

    At 59? Hell, I completely gave up even looking for work when my contract gig (doing exactly the same thing I did as a direct employee) finally ended when I was 55. A brief opportunity as an hourly contractor doing oddball stuff put some $ in the bank last year, but there are no jobs for me, and as long as fog-a-mirror-here’s-your-loan conditions exist, no business is safe. Too many idiots as competitors who are willing to lose money each month and make it up on volume. I’ll not be an entrepreneur in that environment.

    The present and future is early retirement. And hope that the sky doesn’t fall, taking with it the promises of future cash flows I have “in hand.”

    You know society is totally hosed when bright people willing to work can find no useful application for their general aptitudes. This is what happened when people built thick walls around their occupations (often in order to wall out competitors.) Those walls are now traps, and as you note, no one gives a rat’s ass about a generalist who is eager to learn. “HR” is all about poaching “talent” from competitors in order to fill an existing position with an already “trained” contributor, or you’d better be 22 and recently out of the firm’s college intern program. Supposedly I have an IQ north of 140, which is supposed to mean I can learn even complex things quite quickly. It turns out that if in McDonald’s, this buys me nothing unless I have the same $1 as anyone else, and then I get a coffee. No one, but no one gives a shit about ability. It’s just as you wrote.

    I guess this is what equality means.

    If I really had to work, I’ll be stocking shelves for whatever passes for minimum wage, part-time. Our bimodal job market is high-pay, high-specialization (and high vulnerability) or low-pay, fog a mirror work. Can we begin to imagine what happens if another depression arrives, something transformative, and huge numbers of those high-pay/high specialization people get RIF’d (esp. from Medical Services and the Insurance Industry) and there’s no demand for what they did? Retooling to compete with 22 year olds? (sigh.)

  53. On April 5, 2019 at 3:47 pm, Madmax110 said:

    I wish you all the best and I’m confident things will work out for you. I lost my parents when I was 11 and came to the states by myself at 13 from Germany. I lost everything and wonder sometimes how I survived after that. There is no doubt in my mind, God looked out for me and has ever since. Pray and put all your faith in Jesus Christ. It will work out. All the best,
    A friend.

  54. On April 5, 2019 at 5:27 pm, Roger J said:

    Herschel, there’s little I can add to the many fine sentiments above. You are strong, you are intelligent, and most of all, you are a man of faith. You will get through this. I left my last job in industry at age 59. My then-girlfriend was a ER nurse. She told me if I didn’t quit, the stress would kill me. You see, I had a psycho boss. Every month there was a “hell week” for each one of her four direct reports, and there was no guarantee you wouldn’t have two hell weeks back to back. So I walked away from a reasonably good paying job. I had no wife, no kids and no mortgage, and that made it easier. It was 2010, and jobs were hard to find, so I went back to school and got another Master’s in a different field. It was difficult and expensive and now (at my age!) I have student loans to pay. I found a job in state government the day I graduated. It only pays about 2/3rds what my old plastics engineering job paid, but I work in a low pressure environment with great people…and since I’m now at full retirement age, my Social Security check brings me to slightly more gross income than my old industrial job.

    I am not suggesting returning to school as a path for you, but only as an illustration that it is possible to reinvent yourself, even at age 59, given some creativity, hope and faith. I am positive you have all three. As for me, I have never regretted my decision to leave my old job.

  55. On April 5, 2019 at 8:22 pm, lineman said:

    Sorry to hear about your dog it’s always hard losing a family member especially when you’re going through trouble when it happens…

  56. On April 5, 2019 at 9:53 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Thanks for all of the responses and good suggestions. I got a number of emails, and I’m going to try to respond to every one of them.

    @Wretched Dog, Check out “Institutes of Biblical Law,” R. J. Rushdoony does a good job with Rahab’s lie, or it may be Gary North writing in an appendix. I forget.

  57. On April 6, 2019 at 4:10 am, Will said:

    Some reading suggestions:

    “Neanderthal Man” Details how office politics works. Reading this was an eye opener. This explains the whys and hows of management thinking. I have seen technical types get hosed due to them thinking they knew how things work in management. They rarely do, even if they had a management position. Those tech positions are treated differently in business by the real players. It’s a protected job, and the regular players mostly take a hands-off attitude to them.
    The reality is that you are management, or not. There is no middle ground, except for those positions, and heaven help you if you actually try to act like real management. Still, even if you are not management material, understanding how they think can be critical to getting what you want.

    The fact that you were having conflicts with your boss leads me to think this fits you. Either way, seeing it laid out in detail can be useful, even if you don’t care for management positions. “know your enemy”

    There is a companion book: “Dinosaur Brains”, by the same authors.

    The other books are “SJW’s Always Lie” and the sequel “SJW’s Always Double Down”, by Vox Day. Covers how to survive in business now, and explains how to deal with HR.

    As you have discovered, HR has positioned itself as a gatekeeper. About the only way to get results is to make an end run around them. You have to make direct contact with the department in some fashion. I saw this in the early 80’s, but Silicon Valley might have been the origin of the situation, perhaps.

  58. On April 6, 2019 at 6:07 am, Towser said:


    In so many ways we are alike and also different in many others. First and foremost we are brothers in Christ. While our individual beliefs and understanding differ, our core trust in God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ remains a rock solid base. If you will, allow me to relate my unique perspective.


    No doubt she was a treasure. We’ve had to put down more animals than I care to consider. Recently it was George, a cat far too young, was in a great deal of pain, apparently from some trauma. We never figured out what. He was hurting and being treated when he suddenly went downhill fast. As a kitten, he would climb up my arm and settle in on my neck. Losing him was not easy but it could never compare to your loss of Heidi-Girl. In fact, I’d have to reach far back in my memory to find a comparable loss. It has been as long since an animal brought such joy into my life. My thought is the loss you feel corresponds with the joy you had. Embrace the joy.

    As I am just one year older than you, more or less, we can call ourselves the same age for all practical purposes. You are a degreed professional who has held the same job for many years. My own formal schooling and work history is more eclectic. While I have over four years of formal education along with qualifications and certificates in varied fields, none of this looks good on a resume. Nor does my spattered and tattered work history impress many. Whereas you decry a lack of breadth, I have far too much. At least you can demonstrate stability. Me? Not so much.

    Age works against both of us. What is apparent to me is while employers consistently decry the lack of good, capable workers – in reality they are loathe to pay for them. Bluntly, I remember a conversation I had with a convenience store owner decades ago. He was whining about a lack of workers saying he’d like to be able to find someone with all their teeth – he literally said that. So, what are you paying? Minimum wage? He hung his head and nodded. I’ve found this true over the years. It is not that employers do not want to hire you – they don’t want to pay you what they know they should. Many will not “insult” you by offering what they would a young buck.

    That said, allow me to caution you in one area where I have an abundance of experience – being out of work and/or looking for a job. Do not panic! I have taken far too many jobs because it was all I could find and ended up regretting it. If you absolutely must generate income, look for a temporary position or a “throw away” job to tide you over.

    Meanwhile, trust in our Heavenly Father. He is our sufficiency in all things. The psalm Salvatore offered is remarkable in many ways. It is not only one of my favorites, it is the psalm on which I am basing an essay I am currently working on. Remarkable. More remarkable is the psalm itself. It says so much in so few words. The outpouring of readers is something in itself. You are blessed. I’m sure you know that. Our Heavenly Father knows your needs. Prepare yourself to marvel at what He has in store for you.

  59. On April 6, 2019 at 7:53 am, James said:

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your four footed family member and though sucks you got laid off you went out keeping your integrity and character,good for you.

    I wish you the best in your new ventures whatever you choose and while love the site realize you need to focus on local/family ect. and thus may not be active for awhile but hope having a army of readers wishing you the best helps a little.

  60. On April 6, 2019 at 9:57 am, Ned2 said:

    All dogs go to heaven. She’ll be waiting for you.
    I cried more when my dog died than when my mother did.

    Have you considered self employment?
    More job security than an employee, plus you set the rules etc.
    Could you lateral your engineering expertise into another field? Consulting?
    Do you have a trade? Electrical? Plumbing? HVAC? most engineers I know have trade skills far superior to the regular employees we come across.

    I wish you all the best, and please don’t give up writing!

  61. On April 6, 2019 at 11:25 am, mark said:

    Sir I was like you and too many others here. 3 and half years ago I got a call from my new boss, age 38, I was fired, my sales career was over just after my 57 birthday. He hired one of his buddies, from his old job to replace me. It’s crushing and still hurts. I will never work for someone else again. I turned it into an opportunity and I now have my own business. My advice to you is: 1) stay with what you know, its worth a lot to like companies, seek them out and work on contract. 2) remember, bad things come in waves and good times are just ahead. 3) Christian Faith will always be your comfort. 3) lastly, shore up your personal relationships, especially with your wife. Also, cut your expenses, save more than you make. I know you will be fine.

  62. On April 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm, lineman said:

  63. On April 6, 2019 at 7:37 pm, Michael Donato said:

    A very similar thing happened with my apparently healthy 9 year old Lab last Oct. The ‘positive’ thing is he only suffered a matter of six hours. The pain is something I will never get over.
    As far as the other stuff: you are obviously a very talented individual, you no longer are working with bogus people, HE is in charge and obviously has a plan for you. Working with unethical people is such a drepressing experience. Did it twice and the joy and relief when I left (not young and no prospects) was indescribable.
    You are in my prayers. Really.

  64. On April 7, 2019 at 6:39 pm, Dov Sar said:

    So sorry for both of your losses. In God’s kingdom, no good thing is ever lost, so even though a dog is not made in God’s image, it has a physical body, so there will be a spiritual body (1 Cor 15:44), so you will see him again. It is the nature of God not to waste such a wonderful creature, but He has been known to take a few from this fallen earth back to Him at a ripe old age.

    As for your job, here is a thought…..”all things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 You love God, you are called according to His purpose, so this will work out for good, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now. Mark this event and watch for how this verse comes true more than you can imagine. It has happened for me; it will for you too.

    As for your job; you are an intelligent man. Consider becoming an independent contractor. We took a 90% pay cut initially to do so; grew our own veggies, got out of debt, and drive clunkers, but we are free! You will do fine; you have a rich and influential Father in heaven and He will make a way.

  65. On April 8, 2019 at 12:11 pm, EM said:

    Sorry regarding the loss of your canine buddy. That’s incredibly hard.
    As for employment, I’m in a similar situation, albeit at 49. Solid work history, non-drug user, non-criminal, yet cannot find decent-paying work, and I’ve been applying for all sorts of jobs. Had some interviews but have found I’m not only overqualified in some regards, or overly middle-aged white male, more like it. Just know you are not alone and with your smarts (much smarter and educated than I am) you will find something.

  66. On April 8, 2019 at 6:41 pm, June J said:

    I understand all too well about being 59, male, white and laid off.
    I found that since I last searched for a new job 25+ years earlier, the recruiting “game” has changed. Apply for jobs that I have the perfect experience for, get an automated rejection, or worse, nothing at all in response. Getting a person to actually talk to you? Nearly impossible. I’ve even had recruiters who specialize in the industry I was in not even return my calls or respond to my emails.
    Only thing I can figure is I’m too old, too male, too white.

  67. On April 10, 2019 at 12:23 am, Jorge said:

    Sorry to hear you’re going through this. Good luck and God bless.

  68. On April 11, 2019 at 10:36 am, Mark Canada said:

    Mr. Smith, I can understand your predicament and the pain it brings. I am retired, presently helping a friend in similar situation (he and I are Merchant Mariners). I think the Work in Texas web site is more valuable than most think. I have seen jobs from almost everywhere posted there. It is work the time to log in and set your interests.

    Also Linkedin is good for leads

    Best of Luck,


  69. On April 11, 2019 at 12:38 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    Herschel, I can’t do much but pray for you, but, as you know, that is plenty.

  70. On April 11, 2019 at 2:16 pm, Sarandall said:

    No real advice, just know that many of us have been grateful for your clear vision and help in recognizing media/government spin. I’ve been a fan since you started this blog. I am grateful that your son came home and that you’ve had those wonderful camping trips with him. To lose Heidi now is devastating. If your wife is like me, she’s just thrilled that you are with her. My husband and I unwound our business together in order to help my Mom, but he died of an aneurism soon thereafter. He worried like you’re doing about supporting me, but I’d have been happy to live in an ashcan if necessary, as long as I had him. If your wife tells you the same, believe her!! None of us know how long we have, so revel in having your wonderful family. I still don’t know where my life is going. Since like you I’m no longer young, but I do know that I’m grateful for where I’ve been and I’ll try to learn to trust in God’s plan.
    I’ll be praying for blessings upon you and your family.

  71. On April 11, 2019 at 2:17 pm, Sarandall said:

    No real advice, just know that many of us have been grateful for your clear vision and help in recognizing media/government spin. I’ve been a fan since you started this blog. I am grateful that your son came home and that you’ve had those wonderful camping trips with him. To lose Heidi now is devastating. If your wife is like me, she’s just thrilled that you are with her. My husband and I unwound our business together in order to help my Mom, but he died of an aneurism soon thereafter. He worried like you’re doing about supporting me, but I’d have been happy to live in an ashcan if necessary, as long as I had him. If your wife tells you the same, believe her!! None of us know how long we have, so revel in having your wonderful family. I still don’t know where my life is going. Since like you I’m no longer young, but I do know that I’m grateful for where I’ve been and I’ll try to learn to trust in God’s plan.

    I’ll be praying for blessings upon you and your family.

  72. On April 11, 2019 at 6:06 pm, John Robinson said:

    Sorry to hear about the RIF. I spent a 40 year career in the oil industry and we faced reorganizations about every 18 to 24 months from 1984 to 2000 when Exxon took over one of the best oil companies on the planet. I went on to another career in a consulting firm (glad I got the PE) but spent most of that time seconded to major oil companies mostly as the client representative or site engineer in the fabrication yards for major offshore projects. While these oil companies maintain a large workforce, many of them are contract technical specialists. You may want to look into contract work as there is a lot more respect for age and experience in that venue. If you want some names of reliable firms, send me an email.

    Also, branch out and use your project management experience. I had young engineers to do the number crunching but I facilitated HAZOPs, performed technical reviews and coordinated commissioning activities. Those skills are universal.

  73. On April 12, 2019 at 8:48 am, Gerry said:

    Same, same.

    I got the axe during a re-org after the company who purchased us sucked the marrow from our bones and started throwing away the carcass.

    I took a job about 15 months later with a start up for half of what I was paid. They are good folks and my experience helps in dealing with areas they are weak in. I’m more organized than most and that was something they appreciate.

    It’s easy to get down, just don’t stay there.

    Good luck.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Personal and was published April 4th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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