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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

OT: Stuff Happens

When I was 20 years old (yes, that was a while ago) I found myself unemployed. Being 20 and unemployed isn't that unusual. But I was married and the father of a beautiful and precocious 18-month-old daughter. My mother had recently divorced my father and was struggling to raise two youngest brothers, aged 14 and 8. Mom was also looking for a job. My younger brother Mark - aged 18 at the time - was out of work, too.

This was during the early-80's recession.

I remember we woke up in the trailer we lived in that morning, everyone feeling mopey and depressed. We were about to have a down day when my Mom said "Enough of this! Let's have some fun!" She broke out the old trusty Monopoly game and we started playing. Mom said "We need to enjoy today, because we're all going to be busy at our new jobs soon and we're going to wish we had time like this to spend together." We imagined how cool things would be if the money were real dollars. We cracked jokes. We borrowed play money from the bank - no one lost until they were utterly out of any and all options. And when the first person went out, we counted the remaining money, IOUs, and property and declared a winner.

Mom was right. About everything.

The phone started ringing while we were playing that game. Mom got a job. Mark got an interview for early the next morning that turned into a career for him. I got a job too. All before that Monopoly game ended.

It's one of life's memories I cherish. More than anything else, I learned that day that things can change in an instant. Just like the Monopoly game we were playing, life throws you twists and turns. Unexpected things happen; some bad, some good - and some that seem bad at the time but are really blessings in disguise.

For someone reading this, this may be the worst Christmas (financially) you've had in a while, or ever. You may be getting more calls from the bank and bill collectors than from friends and family. The outlook may be bleak. Talk of an improving economy may seem only that: talk.

I want to encourage you: Do not give up. Just like things turned around for me and my family that day while we were playing Monopoly, things will turn around for you too. Your day will come. Enjoy this time and season with your family and friends. One day - sooner than you think - you'll be busy again. This time will never come again. Cherish it.

Merry Christmas!

:{> Andy

Published Thursday, December 24, 2009 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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Marti said:

Great story Andy!  And Best Wishes for your continued success!

December 24, 2009 7:23 AM

Alfredo Giotti said:

Thank you very much Mr. Leonard for these reassuring words.

December 24, 2009 9:38 AM

SQLRockstar said:

great post Andy, yet another example of a Festivus miracle!

December 24, 2009 9:41 AM

Adam Machanic said:

Great post, Andy! Happy holidays and best wishes to you and your family.

December 24, 2009 9:51 AM

Derek Comingore said:

Well Done, Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2009 10:56 AM

Mike Bishop said:

So true, so true.  You have to believe that where you are right now, is exactly where you should be (call it God, Providence, destiny, or whatever you want).  Enjoy the day, and especially enjoy the Christmas day!

December 24, 2009 11:16 AM

Scott Gleason said:

Hope brings out the best in people.

Thanks Andy.

December 24, 2009 12:26 PM

merrillaldrich said:

Great story! Thank you.

December 24, 2009 1:16 PM

Joe Webb said:

What a great post, Andy! Well said, my friend, well said.

December 24, 2009 1:49 PM

Hilary Cotter said:

December 25, 2009 9:01 AM

Mike Rogers said:

God is truly great as experienced by you and your family.  Thank you Andy for sharing your story.

December 28, 2009 7:42 PM

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