I suppose it would be appropriate to begin by describing how I became a stay at home Dad. This is actually my second go-round, though the first was much shorter.
Starting almost two years ago, my boss at the company I worked for, a privately owned home health care company in Texas, sort of let it be known that there were some changes in the pipeline that might mean we would be losing our jobs. Management wanted to replace the computer system we had with another one -- and in that case, in-house computer programmers like myself would no longer be needed. Eventually, that turned out to be true, and in January of 2003, with 3 months of severance pay, I was let go. I really expected to get another job in reasonably short order, crappy economy or no crappy economy -- and despite the fact that I had been searching for 4 months before my last day with no luck.
I spent most of the next three months looking for work. I didn't even get an interview. At home I did random houseworky things, but really not much more than I had done already. Then my old boss contacted me. It seems the new system wasn't working too well, they were going back to the old one, and could I come back under contract for 6-7 months to make some changes that would get them through the time period needed to finish up yet another new system? Of course, I said yes.
Six months passed, and while doing my work at the old place in my old office, I continued to hunt for jobs. I got one interview, but no job. Eventually, on January 31 2004, I left for good.
One thing that was obvious the first time and even more obvious the second time, was that I was miserably unhappy at my job. I've had jobs I liked a lot, but this had not been one of them. No one treated me badly (indeed, my boss was quite understanding about needing to leave early some times for my family, getting me raises, listening to my suggestions, etc.), it just wasn't the kind of job that worked for me. It was interfering with my life away from work too, making me grumpier, less able to accomplish tasks, just a bad scene all the way around. It was bad enough that my wife was thrilled when my last day finally came.
After some time, we came to a decision. Because we had been both careful and lucky, I didn't have to get a job at the Starbuck's down the road in order to make the mortgage payment. And we decided I would be a stay at home dad for the rest of the year in order to figure out, well, what to do with my life. And here we are.