This year got off to a fantastic start with my 40th birthday, which I celebrated by organizing a 40x 25 meter butterfly relay with the youth swim team. Two years ago, I was recruited to the project of helping to build this ragtag collection of swimmers into a legitimate age group team. In 18 months' time, with a dynamic and talented coaching staff, we were beginning to gain some real traction with the team's progress. It was incredibly rewarding to see the kids energized by challenge, including this unique format of collaborating to complete 1000 meters of fly.
I worked all week to organize the details of the event, complete with hot cocoa for swimming outside in January! I made posters, silk-screened t-shirts, and butterfly shaped cookies as prizes. That Friday, the sight of 34 kids swimming butterfly in a massive team effort was the best birthday gift I could imagine. They had a blast and I was peppered with questions after, "When can we do that again?!" I was on cloud nine.
It was only two weeks later when everything came crashing down.
My employer had recently hired a new manager, one who was fixated on quick profit. He wanted his staff to share his vision and enthusiasm for extracting as much money as possible from the pockets of our affluent members. I had been honest with him about my discomfort with using aggressive sales pitches.
Coincidentally, I was fired shortly thereafter, ...