Looking back almost 8 years now and running up to closer to today….
My wife and I came to the decision together to refocus our marriage on the one center that could keep this wheel balanced: Jesus. We are both believers. We are both human. I made mistakes. I see that. She in her grace sees that. We are moving on. Without this critical moment, our marriage would not have survived.
At the same time, I’m in the grip of a major funk. I’m hating not only my job but my chosen profession. Things are stagnant with church. I’m going through the motions. I not only have few prospects for advancement at work, I’ve now been told that I’m going to be laid off. On the plus side they gave me about 9 months notice. Things are not looking great.
I’m praying to God almost every day to deliver me from the pit that I’m in. Ideally he was going to part the clouds and with a loud voice shout down from Heaven “Hey buddy, go get a job at _______ there is one waiting for you.”
I had applied for citizenship some time earlier. Due to some accusations that were made against me by my ex-wife, I was denied citizenship stating that I was of “insufficient moral fiber to be a citizen of these United States.” Naturally I appealed. I have never been convicted of a crime. How can an allegation ruin my life??? (On a side note here: an allegation can ruin your life) Obviously, I appealed.
A few months until I was due to be unemployed, a former co-worker called to let me know about a potential DoD position. I was a shoo-in for the position and it paid about 10% more than I was making! The kicker was that you had to be able to get a certain level of security clearance, which required (you guessed it) citizenship.
I had a friend that was trying to get into politics and just happened to be an intern at our state senator’s office. He urged me to call the office and get a staffer on the case. I thought it was ridiculous, but called anyhow, on a Friday. By Monday, they had not only returned my call, but the immigration office called and granted me a hearing. Long story short I was granted citizenship after all. (Thank you JK!)
After getting citizenship, landing the DoD position seemed simple. I was off and running with a job. It was as if God had opened the heavens and shouted down to me “Hey dummy, you should trust me more, here’s a job. P.S. I love you.”
I was not a good fit in that culture. Somehow I thrived in that role. I did well and received glowing reviews. Sadly at the end of my first year, the company did not appear to be getting in gear to re-compete the contract I was on. I was staring down the barrel of unemployment again.
The following week, my phone rang. It was someone I had never heard of at a company I had never heard of. He said he had heard of my (apparent) skill-set through a mutual acquaintance. He said they had a slot to fill and it exactly matched my resume. They needed me to start immediately, and they were about two blocks away, on the same facility.
Hey dummy, you should trust me more, here’s a job. P.S. I love you.
I flourished at the new company as well. I took a minor pay cut to move to that position, but my bills were paid and my family was well cared for. I did very well in the role there, and they kept giving me new responsibilities. After about a year I was the lead on my task and had a couple of people working under me. I was responsible for counting all of the beans and shuffling all of the papers. A dream come true!! Maybe not, but it was a great job on a great team.
The fact that I did not really fit into that culture did not start to burn me up until about the two year mark. It was stifling and the commute was grinding me down. I felt like I never had any time with my family, and I was getting up at 3am every day to make it all happen.
I got a call from an old friend of mine. He lived in a city that was a couple of hours away from me. He wanted me to come work for him on his team doing what I do. The company seemed cool and the work was good and my friend was a known entity. In fact, I love this guy. He’s fun to be around and fun to work with. The hook on this job was that it was work-from-home.
So now I’m working at home and out of the oppressive DoD environment. I made some dear friends during my time there that I am still in touch with, but wow was I ever glad to be away from that culture. It is stifling, rigid, lumbering and dull. Did I mention I made some really great friends there? It was not all bad, really.
No more commute, no more DoD. All is roses, yes? Not so fast, Pat Sajak. Working at home was new for me and presented some interesting challenges. Foremost was the challenge to stay relevant when nobody ever sees you. While it was challenging it was fun. I was working through those challenges. However, this company was in a shambles. They were having lots of turnover from the VP level on down. Everyone was getting fired and reorganized every other week. At the same time, they were facing a giant PCI audit and the project to make it all better was turning into a giant quagmire. After a few months at this position, my friend and champion jumped ship. I also caught wind that the majority of my team was doing the same.
This time it was a position here in town with someone I had worked with once upon a time for a few weeks, and someone that I had worked with for years. Whenever I catch myself thinking “it’s a small world” or “that’s a funny coincidence” I have to remind myself that I do not believe in coincidence.
This position was a God-send as well. The culture is much more laid back. The people are easy to get along with and it’s a generally good atmosphere. Aside from the usual personality conflicts, its a great job at a good company. Some days I forget those facts. I get mired in the muck of living day to day and working closely with others.
Let’s face it, in this career field I am not exactly working with the socially conscious (or apt). Some days I just want to scream at them to please stop talking at me. Please stop trumpeting your ego. Please stop clawing for attention from everyone around you.
I sit in an open cubicle arrangement with a few other guys, and as an introvert, this is my biggest challenge. Sounds rough doesn’t it? Yeah, not really. As I write this, it strikes me that I need to take a step back more often and appreciate the fact that this position has been great for my family.