Perspectives: The upside to being downsized

OPINION – Most people who set out to get an education try to visualize what their eventual success will look like. The payoff for my own education certainly wasn’t what I had visualized. It took the form of being let go from my job exactly two years ago.

Getting that pink slip was one of the best things to ever happen to me. In order to understand why this is so, some background information is necessary.

I’ve never been a risk-taker, but 8 years ago, I took one of the biggest gambles of my life. Within the space of 6 months I resigned from two full-time radio jobs, moved my family to Cedar City and enrolled as a full time student at an unaccredited school.

To family and friends, my walking away from secure employment to pursue a liberal arts education made about as much sense as bathing in gasoline and drying off next to an open fire.

In my heart I knew I was doing the right thing, even when a nagging question would pop into my head every so often asking, “Are you sure this is worth it?”

My education required a heavy commitment of personal study time which narrowed my choices to focusing on supporting my family or doing justice to my studies. I chose the latter as figurative wolves howled at our doorstep.

Trying to support my growing family on a fraction of our former income was only the first of many challenges. At first, I was only able to secure part time radio work. Eventually my hours became full time but my pay stubbornly kept its part time proportions.

Our savings quickly dwindled and financial worry dogged my thoughts relentlessly as debts mounted. Household and automotive repairs and maintenance began to accumulate, adding to the stress. Our ability to pay our bills on time was becoming difficult.

I finished my undergraduate work and continued on in pursuit of my graduate degree. But eventually economics dictated that I adjust my focus to providing for my family and my classroom studies ended.

My personal studies, however, continued. They were supplemented by teaching opportunities that included professional speaking, writing, and teaching online classes. Even my radio duties afforded me the chance to continue to learn and teach.

Meanwhile the economy continued to worsen and unemployment climbed nationally and locally. I clung to my radio work with a mixture of gratitude and frustration; grateful to be employed, but seemingly trapped in a dead end, low paying job I just happened to love doing.

I wanted to do more but was unwilling to give up the security of known employment for the risk of seeking greater opportunity.

“When will this education pay off?” I wondered. The answer came the moment I was informed that I had just been downsized.

As the chill that accompanies bad news wore off, I sensed something very different was taking place in my life. I had just lost my job in the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Why on earth did I feel at peace?

As I prayerfully examined my options, I realized that two remarkable things had changed since I had committed to pursuing my education. First, my view of the world had expanded.

Instead of radio being my sole means of income, I saw innumerable opportunities before me. Not just to earn a paycheck, but to use my understanding and talents in ways that had a positive impact on those around me. I could now write, speak and teach effectively to diverse audiences in widely varied settings. The fear of losing a job was a thing of the past.

Secondly, my education had created fruitful relationships with others. The currency of these relationships proved more powerful at opening doors than mere credentials or status.

With this change in my worldview, I marveled as opportunity after opportunity gravitated to me as the word spread that I’d been downsized. Amazingly, many of these opportunities not only aligned with my personal mission but also allowed me to continue to develop my talents and knowledge.

For the first time in my life, I was free to choose which opportunities best fit my purpose and my family’s needs. There was abundance in every direction I looked. The stress of not having a job was threatening to give way to having more blessings than I was capable of receiving.

It’s no exaggeration to say that losing my job was a huge blessing disguised as a minor setback. It turned out to be the kind of opportunity that required a combination of Divine Providence and a liberal arts education to fully appreciate.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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16 Comments

  • Bender February 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Sweet Brian. After you fetch up your unaccredited PhD at Monticello, perhaps you can bounce back to George Wythe and grab tenure. Not sure anyone else will take the degree seriously. That or start a new fundamentalist university. I think Ivins is wide open.

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde February 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      I think you missed the point. An education is not the same thing as a degree. It’s my education that is creating opportunities, not the piece of paper. How seriously you may or may not take it is irrelevant. Your approval is not necessary.

  • confused February 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    ARe you the same guy that going on the radio in the mornings and every once in awhile tells us that college is a rip off and not worth it.
    Now you’re saying it is well worth it?
    Which one is it? Or am I missing something?

    • ken February 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Your not missing anything. You have just caught on to the hogwash that spews daily!

  • Bender February 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    After re-reading I am still not sure what the point of your rambling post is, but by including links back to Monticello you open yourself up to criticism of your chosen college. I posit that the most of the opportunities that follow a Monticello/Wyeth education involve jumping into the incestuous fundamentalist college feedback loop and trying to eke out a living speaking or teaching. If it’s not all about a piece of paper, why not forgo the unaccredited school? Per Will Hunting: “See, the sad thing about a guy like you is… you’re going to come up with the fact that …you dropped 150 grand on a @!#$% education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!”. If it is about the paper–you kids out there pay attention,–attend an accredited school and study your butt off. You’ll have both and education and a degree that won’t be scoffed at.

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde February 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      You’re still hyper-focusing on the institution and not on the actual education. Critics will always strain at gnats, like accreditation, while swallowing the camel of seeking the approval of academia. This wasn’t about getting job training. It was about becoming the kind of person who lives to have impact on the world. That’s the difference between being schooled and being educated. It’s curious that it apparently sticks in your craw, but that’s not my problem.

      • illuminati February 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm

        Defensive and dismissive tone with biblical and self-referential superiority validates Bender’s point: maybe there is a reason for an accreditation.

        You, Mr. Hyde, wrote this didactical Aesop testimony to “education,” not Bender. You, Mr. Hyde, linked your alma mater as, what, proof of relevancy (possibly advertising dollars)? Kudos to Bender.

        And, as Realist suggested, bearing witness in coded language to your own supposed work ethic and sacrifice necessary to receive your blessings and preach the “for-profit college” gospel, stinks to high heaven (literally).

  • Realist February 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    You forgot to end your Testimony by saying,. “I leave this with you in the Name Of Jesus Christ”. Praise him for giving us another Liberal Arts Major. Your story would be best used in the Ensign and not here in the real world. Just say’n.

  • Jeckyll February 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    What business does a man who lives in Cedar have writing about things in St. George?!

  • Jeckyll February 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Given the subject of this column is about how a person can find something positive in the wake of job loss – in this case having new possibilities appear due to relationships he’s made and the things he’s learned (accredited or otherwise) – I honestly find it sad that one aspect of this piece is latched onto by detractors and beaten to death with ravenous abandon.

    One would hope that we could share another’s good fortune, rather than pointing out how much we dislike the restaurant the fortune cookie bearing such news came from.

  • Sean February 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Fellow commenters, what’s with all the criticism and vitriol? The man took some risks, he had some challenges, and he’s telling his story. It sounds like he appreciates the education and new opportunities he’s experienced. There might be a lesson in there for you or me. Our lives and opportunities may be different from his; that’s great. But it’s not necessary to belittle him in a public setting like this.

  • Bart February 25, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    The education he received is not related to an accreditation. An accredited program does not teach you how to be smart and how to think. It teaches you how to please the teacher so you will get a good grade. How many idiots graduate each year with a diploma? How many educated people are out there unemployed simply because they lack a piece of paper? Sean gets it, Jekyll gets it. Good job Bryan! With this attitude and education (attitude is much of what helps you succeed at getting a true education), you will not have to worry about where the next meal will come from. To me, that is the point of the article.

  • Roy J February 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I am just wondering that if regular folks really, really wanted to study Mortimer Adler’s and Ralph Hutchinson’s Great Books curricula, if they would not be better off just forming Great Books reading groups like our parents did when this movement was getting off the ground? After all, the Great Books were touted as an entirely broad set of books, aimed at group and self study for people who lived in the real world, with real bills and schedules and families and problems, for the purpose of beginning on a total education. Just pick up any of their early reading guides and you will see that. And just what are the Great Books anyway? What did the editor’s have in mind when they put forth their thesis with the Great Conversation elaborated it with the 128 Great Ideas of the Syntopicon, and then revised (Adler did, anyway) years later in the Propaedia of the Encyclopedia Brittanica (and who has even seen, let alone read that anyway!?!?!). Where is the Great Books Foundation today? Selling its own merchandise, by the looks of it…and not reading the Great Books.
    Respecting George Wyeth University, I think that Bender has a good point about fundamentalist colleges, and illuminati has a good point about for profit colleges, even if they don’t make them very nicely. Spend your time and money wisely. Reading Great Books will not get you a great paycheck (I don’t think Adler said it would and like Bender says, you can have that education cheaply if you want it, since these volumes are always floating around thrift stores and yard sales. You can still read them, but there’s alot to be said for the sort of regular university and colleges educations that the Great Conversation scoffs and calls ‘trade’ or ‘vocational’ schooling. On the other hand, it was a couple of Columbia University professors doing the scoffing.
    But what I would really like to know (and I can hear ken typing “spew!!” right now) is how George Wythe can justify suggesting to credulous someones that it is worthwhile to spend $550 (that’s online and the cheapest) to study Book 1 of Euclid’s Elements for an entire semester? Seriously? and to pay the same for the privilege of reading ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’? Why in the name of hellfire and brimstone is Alan Bloom’s ‘Closing of the American Mind’ something you pay to read towards a Master’s and not something you should have already read before you enrolled? Why is Pascal’s “Pensee’s” on the list, but not his mathematical treatises? They come fully recommended in the Great Books sooper-dooper starter set! Why is Schrodinger represented by ‘What is Life?” and not ‘Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem’ and the equation which won him the Nobel Peace Prize? Who thinks they can understand Einstein’s theory of relativity after preparing for it by only reading Euclid’s first six books of the ‘Elements and Galileo’s ‘Two New Sciences’? (Sorry, but you know it’s true, dude. The Galilean and Gaussian coordinates used in the Einstein’s special theory will be impossible to understand from such meager resources as is laid out in the George Wythe core curriculum.) Who has not read Giambattista Vico’s “New Science” and thought, ‘Including this esoteric volume must have been an inside joke”? How could you produce Renaissance men from such a poor choice of the wealth of the Western World? Why so little attention to the hard sciences as they are set forth in the Great Books? And why at such a high cost? Why, it’s practically the definition of slavery and closemindedness!

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde February 27, 2013 at 8:48 am

      It’s not a competition is it, Roy? I thought the point of a liberal arts education was to enable a person to serve others more effectively thereby making a difference in the world. Did I miss something here?

  • Roy J February 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

    You’re right, it’s not a competition. But I believe the idea of a liberal arts education by way of a Great Books core curriculum, is first to teach people how to think, not what to think. Hence the liberal and freeing aspect of such an education. But further, if someone takes out $100k in loans for the sake of education, that person has a right to expect from that education the ability to pay back that loan, and also to make a reasonable living. That is a liberal education, too. It frees you from debt and serves yourself and your family more effectively. It may reasonably be argued that an education that adds a financial burden to a person without giving that person the means to relieve that burden (per se, not per acidens), is in fact making that person more like a slave, and less like a free man.

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde February 28, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      I completely agree with what you’ve said here. I would only add that, in my opinion, a liberal arts education is truly a lifelong endeavor. Graduation should be considered the beginning of competency.

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