It was a bleak day in February of 2008 when the President of our division at K. Hovnanian Homes gathered all 250 of us into the conference room to announce the Southern California Regional office was closing.
Can’t say I was surprised, in fact, having been in the land development, home building and construction industry for approaching three decades we experienced a milder home building recession in 1990, but nothing like what we are currently enduring. I knew it was only a matter of time until we were all “consolidated or right sized” (corporate lingo for fired) out of a job. I even had the honor of performing the deed to my subordinates until the axe finally fell on my neck also.
Despite rumors and mindless talking heads saying the recession is over (they must work for the banks who got their bailout), those of us in construction, development, housing, real estate, agencies and many industries tied to housing, we are all still in a very bad way.
I went from being the Director of a large, public company earning a fantastic salary to being poor, unemployed and struggling for survival. More importantly, keeping my self respect and dignity intact was a major struggle. I was surprised by how much my job had defined who I was. I had to really work at re-defining who I was and regain taking control of my life.
I opened my own consultancy in September of 08, after a year of fumbling around, I am starting to make significant strides toward gaining legal clients as a landscape, horticulture, arboriculture and land development expert witness. Like everything else, the economy is cyclical, it will improve we just can’t predict when, but when it does, I hope to have by consultancy firmly entrenched and ready to go.
We are still struggling financially, but I enjoy my new profession and look forward to better times. I am but one of millions of formerly unemployed Americans, I know there are thousands of similar stories like mine. I hope this experience makes us a better and stronger people and society.