And what a tremendous 11-year career it was… at least in my eyes.

On Nov. 10, 2016, I was let go. It came totally out of the blue. I’d just put the finishing touches on the 2017 editorial calendar. The ink hadn’t even dried yet, so to speak. We were in the middle of a redesign. 2017 was looking like it would be the best-year ever. But I was called into a conference room that Thursday morning, thanked for my services, and handed my walking papers.

Good-bye, farewell, Amen. Kicked to the curb. Less than four months after I was told – more or less – that I’d done a great job as Managing Editor. Less than four months after I humbly accepted a company award for editorial excellence.

But, hey, you know: Business is business, and it’s not always fair.

Here’s the blog post I did four days later. It’s basically a thank-you to everyone I made contact with during my 11-year run.

Truth be told, I thought I’d be told to hit the bricks 10 years earlier, right after I started. I just could not get a grasp on the subject matter. Lists, data, merge/purge. All foreign topics to me.

But as the parent company stopped filling vacant positions, I adapted, thrived and survived. I’m not one to give a half-assed effort with anything I do. So I took it upon myself to learn everything I possibly could about the direct-to-customer and ecommerce business. And I think it’s safe to say that I became an expert voice in the business.

So what have I been doing these past 8 weeks?

I’ve been helping my brother-in-law tile a floor, I helped a friend move back into her apartment after a long hospitalization, I’ve been the “stage dad” for my son’s church choir, I’ve gone to my sister-in-law’s house a few times to take the dog out, I’ve raised money for a friend in need. Tomorrow, I’ll read to my son’s class. And while I didn’t get to play Santa on Dec. 17 because of a snow storm, I played him on Christmas Eve morning, when I delivered a bunch of Legos to a young boy whose father passed away in November.

I’ve entertained family and friends at our little condo in the big woods. I’ve re-connected with former colleagues and friends from the retail industry who I really haven’t had a chance to talk with for quite some time.

Oh… and I’ve done a little writing. Just a little bit though.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind and so caught up in ourselves that we forget to do things for our families, our friends, our communities. I would not trade these past 8 weeks for anything in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.

But now, it’s time to get back to work… and who knows where the road will take me. But hopefully, it will take me to great heights that I’ve never reached before. And maybe it’ll even take me to a Golden Corral… or at least a Waffle House.

My “comeback trail” begins on January 15, when I head to New York City for the National Retail Federation Big Show.