January 23, 2011

Win Some, Lose Some

Well, I had an interview on Friday with a very nice gal (can you still say that?) from the technical recruiting firm.  She actually went to my high school AND college in my old home town.  Talk about a small world.  Anyway, the interview went well, and I enjoyed meeting with her.  However, I am feeling less inclined to work for her agency now that I have had some time to percolate the events.

I think the main issue is this:  I don't want to do this kind of work anymore.  I have got to admit this because hiding behind my resume, and continuing to post applications in this field simply is unfair to me and to the prospective employer.  I am a Web Developer or Producer or whatever you want to call it now.  The problem is that this is a JOB that I did because I needed to work from home.  I put my skills to use to do something practical so that I could stay at home and take care of my son, who had learning issues and needed me to be home for him.  I never wanted to do this job, and I really never liked doing it.  It paid money, I did it because it suited the time and the need; but, it wasn't the THING I was passionate about.  it was good practical work.

I have been praying for good practical work (1 Thessalonians 4:11:  "aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you") for nearly a year and a half.  I believe that this is what the Lord desires of us, to do work that feeds our families but not work that requires that we give our all to some employer, to spend hours and hours working like a slave for some company.  This would be slavery, and for many of us, we are enslaved to our work, to our credit cards, to our need for enjoyment, etc.  We are enslaved to no one save the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, the work we do must be His Work first (Kingdom work), and practical work second.  Any job that requires more from us that what we give to the Lord, replaces Him as King of our life.  I am confident that this is the truth, but many of us, give in to the pressures of an employer or the fear of losing work, and we slave away making money for the company.

Some fundamentalist Christians believe that you should work for yourself or work from home for that very reason.  I did work from home, and I liked it a lot.  I liked having my son nearby and my husband home.  I am not able to do this anymore, so I need to seek outside employment.  The problem is that the jobs in my field, technology, seem to come with 60-70 hour weeks.  I simply will not do that anymore (I've done it before, and it nearly killed me stress-wise).  I cannot work in jobs like this, and honor my committment to my Lord and to my family.

Furthermore, the Lord has specifically provided a way for me to accomplish graduate school, and He has consistently told me that nothing is to get in the way of my finishing school.  He knows that I need to work, but the jobs I have applied to have all required a full-time attitude, and a willingness to travel, to work long hours, etc.  How can I keep my committment to Him and still work so I can feed my family?  That is the BIG QUESTION, and the one that seems to not be answerable for me at this time.

I cannot live on my financial aid package.  It helps greatly, but it is not enough to live wholly upon.  Therefore, I have been working PT at Macy's, but this money brings in groceries and gas.  It doesn't bring in enough to cover expenses.  No, I need another $1k per month to come in to do that, and right now, I don't have it; nor do I have a way to earn it.

My DH is working, but his contribution is low.  In a right-sided situation, this would not be even considered an issue.  My DH would provide the bulk share of the income to cover the expenses, and then I would contribute what I could to round things out.  This is how IT SHOULD BE simply because he works FT and has no other concerns (like education, etc.)  However, in my upside down marriage, and in my uncertain future, the responsibility for making ends meet falls to me.  It always has, and it always will.  The problem is that right now I am convinced that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do, and that leaves little time to do what the world thinks I should be doing -- working FT.

How can I do both?  How can I work FT and go to school FT and still remain healthy, whole, and devoted to my Lord and my son?  Well, there is God's Grace for one; but still this is not what I think I am meant to do right now.  The Lord consistently tells me to concentrate on three things:  school, learning French (to pass the proficiency exam), and cello.  Plus I am to assist my son with this first semester of college, just to help him transition into school and so on.  He never includes working in this list, never.  He will tell me to do my assigned hours at Macy's.  He will say, "Carol, just go to work and do your assigned task today."  Or He will say, "Just work the hours the computer has given to you this week."  It is sort of like, "Now, go to the grocery store."  You know, just plain direction -- not specific to the point that would demonstrate that WORK is more important than anything else.  If anything, SCHOOL is more important in the grand scheme of things.  I know that my schooling is my path out -- He has said so.  The way out for me is through school.  This means, as I take it, that the open door I seek is on THE OTHER SIDE OF MY SCHOOLING.  Until then, things will not be set, I will not find satisfying work nor will I find a job that is of His choosing.  I must wait, and I must focus and I must complete my studies.

I know this, yet the pressure to find work is overwhelming me.  Truthfully, I am tired of looking for work.  I am tired of submitting my resume.  I am tired of everything related to the "job hunt."  I want to stop, and I want to just be a graduate student and enjoy my studies.  I want to learn French again, and I want to be a better cellist.  I want to do all these things, and I don't want to work anywhere anytime soon.

So I guess that is the truth of the matter.  I am content to work my hours at Macy's, and I am dedicated to my studies.  I don't know how the gas bill will get paid tomorrow or how I will pay for my car insurance.  I have the money, it is in my savings account, but I cannot access it.  I have transferred too much money out of savings to live on this month, and my bank has sent me a notice telling me to stop.  This means that the money is frozen in there until 2/1.  I have to wait, but Geico won't wait, SW Gas won't wait.  I am stuck.  I need more money today, but I have no way to get more until next week's small paycheck (not enough to cover the expenses coming in).  Plus I have the mortgage looming on me -- 2/3 -- and my savings will be needed to pay that bill.  Then I will be flat broke, and have no money to live on except Macy's until I get my financial aid money from Mercy College (perhaps in February or March).  It is a tough spot to be in again, and I am tired of being here.  I want to work, and I want to make money so I don't have these issues.  I don't know how to do both without the Lord's direct intervention, and right now He seems to not want to do that for me.  He seems to be waiting, so I must wait too.  Oh, how hard it is to wait upon the Lord.  Yet, I know it is right, and always best to do so.  He is GOOD and His timing is PERFECT.

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