Monday, January 23, 2012

Blatant Answer to Prayer

Sometimes in the busyness of life our natural tendency is to gloss over a big thing, or to try to take credit for something large that is handed to us.  I hope that this is not one of those times.  Many of you are probably aware of the fact that I have been looking for a steady full-time job since graduation in May of 2011.  I thought I had found it in September when Manpower (a local temp agency) placed me at Genpact working in Data Entry.  I was assured that Genpact hired on Manpower temps all the time, and that if I just showed up for work everyday and did a good job, they would hire me relatively soon and I would be a full-time employee.

Nearly four months later, I was still a temp, coming in and doing my job everyday.  The department they had placed me in was in a hiring freeze, and was overloaded with temps who had been there longer than I had.  Working the same job as full-time employees for much less pay, no benefits, and no job security.  Then came the day when the company took the full-time employees into a large meeting and informed them that our department and a couple others were going to be effectively chopped down to a mere fraction of the original workforce, and the rest of the jobs were going to be outsourced to India in a matter of months.  This meeting cause quite a bit of understandable panic and tension among the full-time employees.  They returned to their desks chattering nervously and saying outrageous things about being unemployed and showing up at their parents' homes with boxes in hand, hungry and cold.  If that effect on the real employees was not chilling enough, imagine the effect it took on the temporary employees who were not even given the courtesy of being officially informed.

To this day, none of the temps have been told, the management just expected the gossiping of the regular employees to reach the rest of us.  With the entire department on edge, the next month played out.  Many people started looking for other jobs, but times being what they are, that did not have much effect on lowering our workforce, and to make the stress levels go up several degrees, every time a temp left, it seemed that they immediately brought in 2-3 new workers to replace them.  Nobody in the entire building could seem to figure out why a department that's getting phased out was building its numbers, when the work was not sufficient to secure jobs for the original crew.  This is the scenario that was before me, throughout December.  I was working all day surrounded by many irritable, insecure co-workers and coming home each night scouring the internet job sites for a glimpse of hope in a posting.  I prayed and waited.  Applying to any job that seemed remotely possible, even those that seemed a bit of a reach.  I finally got a promising phone interview with a loan company looking for customer service reps.  That led to an in-person interview at their local branch.  I could nearly taste the better hours, better pay, full-time benefits, and smaller work environment, when I discovered they must have hired someone else because they would not return my emails.  That led to major frustration and disappointment, at hoping to be gone before the New Year, and yet having the door slammed in my face.  Still more waiting and praying, and a little less enthusiastic applying.  A month later (5 months in) I began dreading job interviews.  They were starting to feel like awkward blind dates, where you have to ask them out, and they pretend to like you the whole time you're there and then leave you sitting at home by the phone waiting for the call that never comes.  I had pretty much resigned myself to trying to fight for a spot in the shrinking department I was a temp worker in.  Job postings at work would occasionally go up on the bulletin board, but when I tried to apply, HR was less than thrilled about considering it.

I finally came to a point where I realized I could do nothing about the situation, and focusing on it was not helping me live out my faith at work or at home.  So, in some ways I "gave up."  I gave up trying to control, manipulate, or otherwise coerce God into giving me what I thought I wanted.  I gave up daydreaming of better jobs and started throwing myself into the one I sort of still had.  I begged God to make me excited about His plans for me, because even though I didn't know what they were, I knew that they were so good.  So much better than anything I could put together.  I was tired of dreading the future.  I asked Him to give me enthusiasm and excitement for whatever He was leading me up to...

Then it happened.  A friend of my mom's who works in the local judicial system gave us a tip that the Public Defender's office was looking to add an additional secretary to their office staff.  The opening had been posted on the county job site that I periodically checked, but it said something about looking for someone with previous legal secretary experience.  I figured that let me out and crossed it off the list, but my mom's friend went out of her way to tell her friend in that office that I would be a perfect candidate for the job, and then told my mom that I should apply for it because they were waiting for my application.  With a shrug and a thought that it couldn't make things worse, I filled out the application and turned it in.  The same day, I was called by the Public Defender and through a series of voicemail messages we managed to setup a time for an interview later that week.  The interview didn't leave me feeling confident or optimistic, but it had one simple effect.  It made me want that job very much.  It left me convinced that that office was one I would love to work in, and that those people were people I wanted to work with.  I started letting myself daydream again, toying with the idea of having workable hours, no more mandatory overtime, and a real employer.  Then I pulled back, like a knee-jerk reaction.  I had been in this position before, with many interviews and I was not willing to go there again.  I didn't want to desire it this much or think about it all the time.  It was just another job that I would get an interview for and then never hear from again.  Except that's not what happened.

I attempted to wait patiently for the one week that was predicted to make the decision, and a mere 5 days after my interview (on a day when the drama and tension at work escalated to ridiculous levels) I received another call from the Public Defender--offering me the job starting January 30th.  To say I was in shock would be an understatement, but you can probably imagine the feelings that started rushing in accompanied by endorphines.  I was overjoyed, over the moon, through the roof, whatever cliched expression suits the situation best.  I was going to have a real job, with a real employer, with real benefits, and it was salaried, with better hours than I had currently.  All my Northland friends will appreciate that this was a WoG worthy of Monday chapels.

I gave a very drawn out account of getting this job, but frankly, after seeing what God has been cultivating in my life for months and years, really, it doesn't feel sufficient to just post a facebook status saying "New job--Yay!"  This is not just a physical provision, and it's not just great because it's what I wanted.  This is a blatant answer to prayer, and an occasion for praising my God.  He is not great because I'm happy, and He's not good because I can see a little further ahead.  He is good, period.  He is great, and the sentence should end there.  I praise Him for the months of waiting with no job whatsoever, and I praise Him for the months spent working without the security or reward of a "real" job.  And, yes, now I praise Him also for providing yet again, but more than that I praise Him for answering prayer, not just the generic "I need a job" prayers, but the inner-yearnings, the 2am, silent weeping as you pour out your heart to God type prayers.  I praise Him more for the work He is doing within me, than the work He has provided for me.  It is too much, and I join Paul in his expression of being overwhelmed at the love and the grace of our God.  It is my hope that I will not love God because He gave me this job, but that I will love this job because it is directly from Him.  I want to be drawn closer to Him, and to be a light where He puts me.

For all of you who have been by my side in this journey, crying out to Him on my behalf, you have my sincerest gratitude.  You know the struggles and the disappointments, as well as the joys that have been strung along the way.  This is another opportunity for you to thank Him as well, for Who He is.  I thank you for your partnership in the Gospel, at home as well as on the road.  I will attempt to keep updating as things progress, and let you know where I am at in the road to the next step.  But for now, I will be watching court shows to learn some legal terminology, and praying for wisdom as I enter a brave new world...

1 comment:

  1. "He is not great because I'm happy, and He's not good because I can see a little further ahead. He is good, period. He is great, and the sentence should end there." Praise Him.