February 9, 2011

Update: School and Other Things

My graduate courses are going well (hooray!)  I love my Colonial American Literature course, which is probably as close to the style of my undergraduate courses as possible (without them being classified as Humanities).  My Literary Theory course is difficult, and I am struggling with the reading assignments.  I was actually looking forward to this course, but now that I am in it, I have decided that Literary Theory and Criticism is not really what I want to study (for my PhD).  There are parts of the theory course that I like, and parts that I find absolutely fascinating -- but there are also other parts that are so far afield and strange -- well, I am not sure I even want to "go there" with them.

I have also made up my mind, I think, not to pursue teaching as a career.  I had considered teaching because it seemed like the logical next step.  With a Masters in English, I could teach college courses.  With a Ph.D, I could get a job at a University somewhere.  The issue, I guess, is that while I like teaching, I really do not want to be up in front of a class each day.  I am much more of a scholar -- I like to read and study and then think about what I have just read and studied.  I then love to write about my thoughts on the reading.  I don't really want to teach others.

Moreover, I think I have decided that going to Regent for my PhD is really the Lord's choosing.  A long time ago, last summer for certain, the Lord placed Regent on my heart and mind.  They have a PhD in Communication Theory that is directly aligned with His will for my life.  Back then, it all made sense to me.  I knew what I needed to do, and I was focused on the path (complete Mercy, go to Regent).  There was no other option for me because the Lord had chosen this one path.

I asked the Lord if I could consider teaching, well rather -- I was heartset on teaching.  I had thought about being a teacher for over 20 years, and now that I had the opportunity to do it, I didn't want to give that up.  The problem, of course, was that I was never really called to be a teacher back then, and I am not called to be one now.  In all the years of ministry, I have never been a teacher.  I don't enjoy teaching Sunday School, I don't enjoy teaching AWANA.  What I like best is to be in administration, to be a director over other people.  I love directing people, I love encouraging people, and I love motivating people to do great things for the Lord.  I am more about enabling and empowering than I am about distilling information.  Even when I have been in the classroom, I don't teach.  I talk with each child, personally, and I spend time with the other teachers -- listening, helping, and encouraging them.  I let other people do the actual teaching, and I observe.  Then I encourage, appreciate and affirm.  This is what God has called me to do, and it is the Holy Spirit's gifting in my life.  He has chosen for me to be a people-person, and I love being with people.

Even at Macy's, I find myself drawn to people and their stories.  I have co-workers who say to me, "Carol, can I tell you something?"  I listen.  They ask my advice, and I try and share some nugget of wisdom with them.  I mostly just encourage them to remain faithful, to hang in there, to not give up.  This is my role in the church as well -- I am to edify and build it up.  I do this by meeting people, getting to know them, and then just loving them with Christ's love and with His Mercy.  I like doing this -- it is natural to me.  It sort of oozes out of me, and requires no effort at all. 

I also am good at administrating programs.  I like the details, and I like to be responsible for doing a good work.  I am not perfect, and I often lose sight of things.  I forget.  I make a lot of mistakes, but I do my best, work hard, and trust God to fill in the gaps.  It always seems to work for me, and I am always being recruited to be in charge of this or that program.  I guess other people can see my leadership skill too.  God is Good that way.

My work has been in administration.  Although I have tried to pass myself off as a website designer, this is not true.  I did design sites, for sure; but I also administrated them (oversaw their development, managed the details, and provided consistent access and expectation for my clients).  As a Contracts Administrator, I oversaw the management of support contracts.  As an MIS Administrator, I managed the extensive tape library.  As Office Administrator, I managed the office and all the paperwork (contracts, receivables, etc.).  And, as a Technical Administrator, I managed over 10,000 Engineering drawings.  I like to manage things, and my work has been in management of resources, not people.

This helps me to understand what I do best, and why I enjoy working with things over people.  I love people (as stated before), but for my daily grind (work), I have always liked being the "go to" person when it came to resource management.

As I am more concentrated on finding work, I realize that I am good at many things.  I love to write, but I cannot get work as a writer because I don't have that experience.  I can design websites, and while I have a lot of experience in this industry, I don't have specific experience (certain software or technical know-how).  I can administrate, and that is where I think I need to focus on work.  I can manage contracts, but some companies want certification (which I don't have).  I can manage people too, but I have only supervisory experience, and not a lot of it.

Therefore, with all this in mind, this is my new plan for seeking work.  First off, I am trusting the Lord to provide the right job for me.  Secondly, I am committed to following graduate school through, and now understand that what I am studying is for ministry and not for work (job).  Thirdly, I will do the work that I am best at doing, which is being an administrator over resources.  In time, I may get the opportunity to manage people (the Lord's will), but for now, I will be content to just administrate contracts, equipment or other critical resources for a company or institution (college or University).

My Checklist:
  • Refine my resume to focus on administrative skill
  • Search for jobs that match my skill more closely
  • Trust in the Lord to provide a job for me (always -- Trust the Lord)
  • Commit myself to finding work before the end of summer 2011
I have been pretty depressed about the job market here in Phoenix, so now I am content to search for a job where ever there may be one.  This will mean relocating, and I have not wanted to do that because of my parents declining health.  Now, I am ready to do this and see that it might be the only opportunity for me.  The Lord will decide, and then I will follow Him to the place of His choosing.  God is so Good to me in that way, and I can rely on His judgment and determination for the right job.

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