Hindsight is 20/40

I lost my job as a copywriter in March of 2005. I haven’t had a full-time job since then, though I’ve done quite a bit of freelance work. I like the variety that freelance provides, but I hate not knowing whether I’ll have enough money to pay the bills next month. Mrs. Happy and I have always managed our money wisely, though, so even the lean months have not been too scary. Even so, I think I’d prefer having a regular job that provides a steady income and health benefits for my family.

I actually received a job offer a few months ago. It would have brought us fantastic insurance and a so-so salary, but it seemed to be a tedious job that would suck me dry and send my career in a direction I didn’t want. So I turned it down. Our money is now running low, and our insurance is still outrageously expensive. I wonder sometimes whether I made the wrong decision in turning down that job. I believed a better job was waiting for me and that I would find it in a matter of days. I believed I would not stay unemployed long enough for our money to run out. It seems I was mistaken about pretty much everything.

I’m still not convinced I should have taken that job. They say hindsight is 20/20, but that applies only to what has actually happened. I can look back and see with perfect clarity the consequences of turning down that particular job, but I can’t see what would have happened had I accepted it. I imagine that if I had taken the tedious job, I would be abjectly miserable right now. It would have entailed doing the dullest work in an industry renowned for its dullness. It would have meant earning more than $10,000 less per year than my last job. It would have pigeon-holed me for future employers as the kind of writer I don’t want to be.

I can’t know that for sure, of course. I really liked the people I interviewed with. The work might actually have been challenging and rewarding. I might have received a quick raise in pay. The job might have been the first step on a great career trajectory. I’ll never know. What I do know is that, at least in this instance, looking back doesn’t help. Did I make the right decision? Were there even right and wrong decisions to make? Were there other options that I didn’t examine? I’ll never know.

I’ve heard it said that experience is a teacher that gives you the test, then gives you the lesson. As I get older, I’m finding that experience is often a little unclear about the lesson even after the test. If a smart man learns from his mistakes, and a wise man learns from others’ mistakes, I wonder what kind of man can’t even figure out if he made a mistake. Uncertainty is one of the heaviest burdens for someone who places a great deal of value on solid understanding. If I can still have the love and respect of my wife after a decision like that, and my wife does let me know every day that I have her love and respect, it’s a burden I can bear with faith and fortitude.

4 thoughts on “Hindsight is 20/40

  1. Your decision was probably for the best. You know what is best for you.
    God has something in store for you still, maybe even being a stay-at-home-work-freelance-or-part-time Dad to Tater.
    God will provide. That’s a lesson I have to remind *myself* about occassionally.

  2. You were probably – even in light of the current situation – right to go with your gut. Who knows what God has in store, and who knows what you would have missed had you taken the job?

    As far as learning the lesson…I think God reveals everything to us at the right time. The revelation may come when the right job does pop up, it may come when Tater finds himself in a similar situation 30 or 40 years from now. Many Christians have gone through things, then turned around after it was over, still baffled about it and what God was trying to say. I don’t have the answers, either, but God does. If nothing else, it is a question to add to the list for eternity.