My unexpected Yemen bonuses

I had been working at Penn camera off and on for almost 7 years when I decided to move out of the country. I had learned a lot at Penn. My sales technique was honed there and I learned how to deal with people, both customers and employees. I thought it was time for a change, so I decided to move.
I eventually decided to move to Yemen. The decisions leading up to that are a whole other story. By the time the date for me leaving came up, I had saved up over 20 grand for the trip. Believe me, I thought long and hard if spending  that money was the best thing I could do. Ultimately, I spent my mid-life crisis  over there, you can read my blog on my time over there if you want.
I could have invested that money, or I could have put it down on a house. All the while I would still be working at Penn. While I was in Yemen, the stock market tanked and I lost about half of my investments. I would have undoubtedly have invested that 20 thousand the same way, so I would have probably lost 10 grand. I felt pretty good about that, my experiences in Yemen were certainly worth that! Of course, I could have bought a house. We all saw what happened to housing prices…
So, looking back, I cannot believe how lucky I am to have spent my money on that experience. Looking back, it was the very best thing I could have done. May be the only time I’ve done that…
When I came back, I needed a job. Ramona was more than happy to hire me again. I really wanted something different though, so I stayed unemployed for a while longer while I looked around. After I got diagnosed, I was even more in need of a job. I had finally gotten through to the company I had wanted to work for, and they offered me a job, at  little more than half of what Penn had been paying me. Ugh. That was a tough decision. Ultimately, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Penn was on shaky ground going into the future. Photography just wasn’t what it once was, and it’s all Penn really did. So I took the hit in pay in the short term.
It has payed off. Penn Camera declared bankruptcy the other day. The company I work for is incredibly stable and I now make what I used to. Plus, the benefits are quite a bit better. I was about 50/50 at the time I made my decision, thank God I did what I did. I also think that my trip to Yemen helped with this as well. If I had been working at Penn all along, it would have been much more difficult, maybe even impossible to take that hit in pay to work somewhere else. Starting from scratch, I didn’t have the baggage of a rent or lifestyle maintenance to worry about. I had gotten used to being poor, I even lived in a third world country!
So maybe my trip to Yemen was divine providence. It was the best use of my money, it was an amazing experience, it was the very last time I could do something like that, and I think it helped me start a new career. If I had stayed put, done the safe thing, at best I would now be on disability. I certainly would be a lot poorer in spirit.
 
My heart goes out to the folks that were still working at Penn. Starting over is tough, believe me I know.
I’ll miss Penn Camera, and I’m thanking God I made the decisions that I did. Who would have ever thought that Yemen would be the best thing to happen to me?:)

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