The company moved in a different direction and started farming everything out of the country for production. Haines either had the choice to move to the company’s headquarters in Paris, France, or he could take an early retirement severance.
While considering his options, Haines’ house was destroyed in the Oakland, Calif. Fire Storm in 1991, the largest natural disaster in the state.
“I lost my home and lost everything.” he said.
Haines reevaluated his life and decided to take the early retirement and start a new life in southern California. He bought a home in Altadena, Calif. near Pasadena, Calif. and began the process of rebuilding his life.
“It was a full time job for three or four years, especially dealing with the insurance company,” he said.
After a few years, Haines decided it was time to get back in the engineering field. He had more than 20 years of experience and five patents but after a year of sending resumes and making contacts within the field, he couldn’t get an interview for a position.
Haines found an article in a local newspaper looking for people to be in the background of movies and television shows. He decided to sign up with a casting agency and they called him the following day to start working.
“It felt so good that at least someone was interested in hiring me,” he said. “I got off to a good start. I told myself that I am going to give myself one year and see if I like the field.”
Haines’ goal to get into the Screen Actors Guild, a union that represents professional actors in Hollywood and television.
“It’s not an easy thing to join,” he said. “But I ended up making it in the union after 11 months.”
Once Haines made the commitment to stick with his new career path, he said he decided to take classes and did as much studying and training as he could get to help find the right job.