Posted in Job Search, Yahweh's fingerprints

FAITHFUL WITH LITTLE

I’ve worked at the same place for about ten years. Almost six years full time, the rest part time. I have changed significantly from when I started working there, in fact, if me ten years ago walked up to me today, I’d hardly recognize her. I’ve changed physically, emotionally, spiritually, and even economically.

I don’t make much money working at this place. I’ve always struggled to make ends meet. In the beginning of my tenure there, I never had enough leftover to save any money. If something went wrong with my car, I charged it. If I wanted to take a weekend trip, I charged it. If I was short on money but needed groceries, I charged them. In the beginning I thought one day I’d get another job and catch up or get married and then it wouldn’t matter (yeah, that makes me laugh, too). Then, as I matured, I realized the Knight with Shining Checkbook wasn’t the answer to my problems, deep pit and I was drowning in it.

Knowing the pit was of my own making didn’t help. About two years ago, I came to enjoy the department I finally landed in and after a while I settled in. I got on a budget. My credit card didn’t get used (it’s very lonely). I picked up odd jobs and babysitting jobs on the weekend. I lived within my means and was managing to get out of debt a little bit at a time. I was given a car to drive when the old one died.

I was going to be okay. I may not be rolling in dough, but I had a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. So I told the Lord that if he wanted me to move on, he would have to make it so abundantly clear that even I wouldn’t miss it. I stopped looking for jobs (someday I’ll list my jobs and show how I never got a job I applied for – every job I’ve ever had I’ve fallen into backwards).

Two years went by. I plugged along, being faithful with what little I had. I even managed to save enough money for a plane ticket to California for my first vacation in ten years. I was, indeed, okay.

So imagine my surprise when, about two weeks ago, a friend of mine (I worked with her before I took my current job ten years ago) called and said, “send me your resume, I’ve recommended you for a job.” We had talked about our jobs at lunch one day this fall but I never expected this. Truthfully. I really wasn’t looking for another job.

I sent over the resume, still not expecting anything. I wasn’t sure I was qualified, and to tell the truth, the only interviews I’d managed to get in the last five years were with other churches. When my friend’s boss called and requested an interview, I was surprised.

I wasn’t sure this is what I wanted, remember I was happy where I was and I had lots of friends at this job, but I went on the interview to honor my friend’s confidence in me. I still wasn’t expecting anything.

I told my friend’s boss I would be coming to this interview in jeans, since this is what I wear to work and we were putting Christmas out in the store. So I was in jeans, and I was… glittery when I drove out to the interview.

I told myself as I walked in to just be myself and see what happened. Prospective new boss was wearing black jeans, so I didn’t feel so self conscious. We sat down, he told me about the company, what he was looking for, and asked me what I could do. To be honest, this is the first time in my job search history when having so many different jobs and being so diverse in my skills and learning German and not Spanish has actually paid off. The more he described what he needed, the more I was interested in the job.

Yet, twenty minutes later when he offered me the job, I was shellshocked. He told me to call him in the morning with salary requirements and told me I could wait until Monday to give him my final answer.

I left the interview thinking, “holy cow, now what do I do?” I called my friend. I told her I had absolutely no clue what my salary requirements should be. She threw out a number, which was more than I was making and I thought that would be nice, especially with the unbelievable benefits package they were offering me. Jene’ had said I didn’t want to sell myself short and appear as if I valued my skills and to keep that in mind. I took the number my friend had suggested to bed with me.

The next day was my day off and trip to Galvestion. At 7:45 a.m. my friend called me and said she’d done some research and we were aiming way too low. So she gave me a figure and with that in mind, I called prospective new boss. I went for slightly lower than the figure she gave me (come on, I’m not greedy) and gave him a range, let’s say A-C. He said he’d call me back.

An hour later, just before I left for Galveston, he called. He gave me C. This number was a 50% increase in pay as a STARTING salary. My brain felt like scrambled eggs. I couldn’t believe it. It would have been foolish to turn this job down, so I accepted and we negotiated a start time.

This opportunity fell in my lap and I am ever so grateful.

The hardest part is leaving behind the people at my current job. I actually cried when I gave my notice. My current boss said, “I didn’t see this coming.” I shook my head and said, “I didn’t either.”

I hope I can be as faithful with much as I was faithful with little. The first thing I did was draw up a budget. I can’t believe that I might just make my goal of being out of debt and in reliable transportation by the time I’m 40.

I’m still overwhelmed. A week from Monday I will start this new phase of my life and I am so grateful.

Be faithful with little, and you’ll be amazed at just how much much is.

Posted in Job Search

THE POSTCARD OF REJECTION

With the two members of this household both seeking employment, the rejection letters and phone calls are piling up… not to mention the countless possible employers we never even hear back from. My roommate, however, recently received the most impersonal job-seeking rejection I’ve ever seen.

The wording of the rejection was fairly standard — basically, “we aren’t interested in you, your gifts, talents or work history at this time.” The parts that seemed totally impersonal were: a) it was a POSTCARD and not a letter (thus you don’t even warrant a piece of paper and an envelope) and b) the card didn’t even address her personally. It said:

DEAR APPLICANT:

Dear applicant? I read that and thought, “at least reject me personally!” as if the rejection would hurt less or mean more because they thought enough to reject me by name. My roommate, however, thought it was funny and blogged about it herself. Now, she uses it as a motivational tool with me when I face another rejection. “Just think of it this way,” she says. “At least you didn’t receive the postcard of rejection!”

If I do receive a postcard of rejection, we would then have two and that would constitute a collection. Maybe we can charge an admission fee to see our collection of rejection and that can help us pay our rent. I’m going to present this idea to my roommate and see what she thinks. Sadly, I think I may be rejected again. đŸ˜‰

Posted in Job Search

AH, A GOOD FRIDAY…

It’s nearly three o’clock in the afternoon and I’m still in my PJ’s. Even though I am not getting paid for this day off, I am really enjoying myself. I’m reading an assortment of things, blogs, my Artist’s Way book (if I could ever just get my morning pages done, maybe this writer’s block would go away), and I’m catching up on correspondence — the old fashioned kind — you know, the kind that involves ink, paper, stamps and envelopes. Writing letters to people over 90 is rewarding. My Great Aunt is now 95. She offers such a great perspective on life, and though her daugher has to write her letters for her now, I get great encouragement from her. She was one of the first Christians on my mom’s side of the family. She was also one of the first rebels of the faith I ever knew. She and my grandmother (her sister) were a riot when they were in their 20’s. I love reminiscing with her though she’s in Indiana and I’m in Texas. Yes, I will have to blog about Aunt Edna soon.

Jene’ and I are going out for some TexMex food tonight. Chuy’s… yum. I have the world’s most frugal and generous roommate (she buys me dinner frequently). She gets the most bang for her buck on all of her big purchases (the most recent being a printer) and she saves up the money in advance. I admire her patience and commitment to staying out of debt. My debt has been a shackle to me as I have tried to serve God (and compared to most people, I am way below the average with the amount of my debt). It’s hard to work for struggling ministries when you have bills. I encourage everyone I can (especially the college students I have the joy to know at church) to avoid credit cards and debt at all costs. They are free to leave all they know behind and go to China, Belize, the Sudan — anywhere — because they are not tied to paying bills like I am. Someday, I will get back to that point. Meanwhile, I work, I keep trying to finish that novel, and I blog.

On a good note, I am working every day next week, but I should be finished with the one job by then. Then, back to the drawing board. I am grateful, though, for God’s provision thus far. After all, I’ve been gainfully semi-unemployed (see definition on April 8th) for three years now and I’ve yet to starve or be homeless.

I must get some writing done before I go to Chuy’s… so I will blog later. Have a good weekend, and remember the reason we all had the day off today.

Posted in Job Search

ONE DAY AT A TIME

I just worked 19 hours in two days, so that makes up for part of the time I missed the last two weeks. I also picked up a little work at the church so I will be working every day next week. That will extend my time to look for a job for at least a week. I hope to pick up more work for a week or two, but will not hold my breath. I’m just thankful for the extra week.

For the resume’ I have to come up with an “objective” aka “mission statement.” That has been a unique challenge. How do you delicately phrase this? “Well, see, I just want to work for you to pay my bills so I can steal whatever time I can for my writing pursuits, which by the way, is what I deeply feel I was put on this earth to do, not answer your phone, type your letters and put up with your mood swings.” HA! Yeah, I’d get hired in a heartbeat.

Therefore, other than the mission statement, I am finished with the bulk of the dreaded resume’. Meanwhile, I have been trying to polish the book as quickly as I can, but even if it was done tomorrow, I’d be weeks from publishing (if it’s that good). Timing… timing… timing… Only God knows.

Until later, Bloggers!

Posted in Job Search

RESUME’ BLUES

My fingertips are all black and smudgy from perusing the newspaper, but so far, it’s pretty slim pickins… Most of the “receptionists” nowadays double as accounts payable clerks, janitors and bookkeepers. Times are so tight that employers want one person for two jobs and less pay, which I understand, but it just makes things tougher for me. I turned to the internet job search and am finding the same thing. I may just have to go work at Target and learn to scan things. (I am comic relief at the grocery store in the U-Scan Line. Imagine me repeating my mantra, “U-Scan? Sure can!” and then have the computer mock me by saying, “Please scan again.”) At least at Target I won’t have to do bookkeeping and the cash register calculates your change (although I’m really good at that for some reason). And…I can still encounter the same calibur of weirdos as I do on the phone at the church, only this time live and in person! (I may have to post some of those stories…) Target is sounding more appealing all the time.

Ah, the resume’… Another job search tool that I have not had to utilize in 17 years of job searching. Jene’ is going to help me tweak my resume’ so what I do sounds important, vital, and interesting even though it’s usually boring, mundane and I could do it all in my sleep. I will list my skills, and I have many, but I will not include, “can balance broomstick on ample Bavarian nose,” or “can name every war correspondent on Fox News.” Jene’ also says it’s never too late to develop people skills – because someday I’ll be a mother of teenagers and the ability to persuade stubborn people to do my bidding will come in handy whether or not I ever get another job.

So… I am going to work on the resume’ so Jene’ can tweak it tonight. It’s a cold (62), windy day in Houston, so it’s a good day to stay indoors and accomplish lots of stuff. I’m also still sick and congested, and my equilibrium is shot, so it’s probably a good thing that I am sitting down and not walking around outside and wobbling — people might think I’m drunk. I’ll take my cola out of the bag when I go outside. That should help that rumor… ha ha…

Resume’ calls… I will keep you posted as I re-navigate “semi-unemployment.”

Definition: semi-unemployment – the state of having only enough hours to keep a person from being classified, “unemployed,” yet not having enough money to pay even the tiniest of bills. Semi-unemployment gives the worker enough confidence that perhaps she isn’t totally unemployable and gets her out of the house enough to avoid severe depression over state of employment-ness.