A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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Guest blog: When Adversity Hits
17 Mar
By 2020Visionquest
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Rob Webber takes a selfie during a hike, with a rocky mountain stream bed behind him.

Rob Webber takes a selfie during a hike.

I am very lucky. I have faced little adversity throughout my life. I am in a great relationship, I have two terrific children, my health is wonderful, and I’ve had a very enjoyable career. When I would listen to Randy give one of his school presentations about dealing with, and overcoming, adversity, I would almost feel a bit guilty. Yet, one never knows when adversity will strike — and for me, that was last year.

I enjoyed working my first two years at Wayfair, making some significant improvements in their network. After my first year, the manager that had recruited me left for another opportunity. While I was certainly bummed to hear the news, I wasn’t overly concerned since I had established myself as a leader on the network team. Eventually a new manager, David, was hired, and initially nothing led me to believe I wouldn’t be retiring from Wayfair after several more years of work, as I had planned.

It quickly became apparent that David and I didn’t see things the same way, yet I was not deterred. Working as a consultant for over 20 years with many different companies, I had hit similar roadblocks before and had always been able to overcome them. However, after I received the only two “does not meet expectations” performance reviews in my 30+ year career, I realized my world was quickly going to change.

I was flooded with questions: Was I really going to have to go through the resume / job hunting / interviewing process? What would I tell potential employers about the reason I left Wayfair? What if I went to another company and that job didn’t work out, either?

It was finally time for me to use the 2020 Vision Quest advice I had heard so many times: The way I handled this situation would affect my life much more than the actual event itself. I recognized that although this part of my life was now off-track, I still had a lot of things going my way. Although I didn’t know what my goal would be as a result of this situation, I created a plan based on what I did know.

I decided I would take 1-2 months off without thinking about a new job. Instead, I would enjoy the end of the summer and early fall, spend time outdoors, and get a few projects done around the house. I would look closely at my financial situation (can I retire?! should I retire?), and then I’d start thinking about the job market.

Not surprisingly, I loved the freedom of not working and enjoyed my two months thoroughly — white-water rafting, zip-lining, apple-picking, beach time, and some home improvement projects — but was concerned that there would be less for me to do over the winter, and do we ever know for sure if we have enough money to retire?

If you’re reading this, you probably know how important community is to 2020, and I have a similarly supportive community in my life. I started casually reconnecting with some old friends. Before long, I was working 3 days per week at TJX for a long-time friend. This position keeps me busy, allowing me to work with a great team and increasing my retirement savings, while still giving me flexibility and additional time to do what I enjoy. Several months into this new arrangement, things are going well… and I still consider myself very lucky.

Rob Webber
President of 2020 Vision Quest

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