March 25, 2012

Disappointed and Facing Uncertainty

Yesterday was my Saturday rotation. I normally don't mind working that shift, since it only comes around once every nine or ten weeks. I took Friday off, which was so needed, and turned out to be a real blessing (rest-wise). I was not looking forward to Saturday simply because the shift hours changed from 7-4 to 6-3, which meant that it was mandatory for all employees working on Saturday to be in at 6:00 a.m. For me, this meant getting up at 5:00 and making sure I left the house no later than 5:30. I made it, barely, and started my day hopeful that it would be a "good" day.  Instead, it turned out to be more of the same -- more criticism, more unpleasantness, and more of the feeling like I was in the wrong place.

I can't really tell you when things started to change for me. I think it was after Christmas. I had just completed this new training (Division wide) and was hopeful that the structured conversation would help me with my students. It did, in fact, and I had a very good January. February was mostly hard work -- lots of follow up from conversations in November and December -- but still good numbers. March was different. March was just plain difficult -- struggles to make conversation, to make enrollments. To top it off, March also had a change in management style, new leadership, and more emphasis on "numbers." This had already started back in January with the old manager, but slowly as the New Year moved more into swing, the emphasis was made known to all staff -- 'the numbers are everything.'

Now, this was not a surprise to me considering that I spent one year working at Macy's and being told daily that I had to open "2" credit accounts per week as it stated in my signed my work agreement. I loathed the sales aspect of that job. Mind you, selling clothing is all about the SALE; but selling credit is something different to me. Selling clothing is easy, and for all intents and purposes, doesn't really hurt you (unless you are a clothes hoarder, etc.) Selling credit, however, can ruin a person financially for life. I didn't like being a party to ruining someone's life, so I never really did it. The Lord provided willing parties, so I opened enough credit to keep management at bay, but I didn't really "make my numbers" while I worked there.

I knew that working as an Advisor at UOPX would include numbers too. In training, the cat was let out of the bag that we would be expected to enroll X number of students. Though the "emphasis" was on customer support -- always on good conversation, and doing what was in the best interest of the student. They tried to make it all about the student, but in reality, I knew that I would be expected to enroll students and maintain a quota. Yes, my compensation is no longer tied to enrollments -- in fact -- the Federal government kiboshed that policy for all for-profit schools in 2009-2010. Still, there was a lingering attitude of enrollment expectation, and I felt uncomfortable with that emphasis from the get-go.

I needed the job, and I wanted to work some place where I would have stable income. I needed to move, to find a place to live, and I needed to be on my own. I had to find work -- and the job at UOPX seemed like a great provision during my greatest time of need. In truth, I asked for this job. I was so desperate waiting for the Lord to open a door, that I begged Him for this position, even when He clearly told me that it wasn't a good fit. I wanted the work, and I was willing to do what was required to have a good stable source of income.

As time as gone by, I am thinking of where I am, and where I need to be. It is not that the job is a bad one, by no means. Rather, it is in all truth, not a good fit -- just as the Lord told me it would be. I can see this now, and I am experiencing it daily. I am in a job that goes against my grain, and causes me great anxiety and frustration. I am excelling at it -- solidly enrolling 10 students (or thereabouts) each month. I am a top performer -- just as I was at Macy's. I am blessed in my work, and the Lord has caused me to find success. The issue at hand is whether or not I can sustain this pace. I cannot not. Well, I fear not.

I am exhausted, and I am unable to focus on my school studies. In the Lord's provenance, school comes first. It has always been this way, and I have known that I am to do the following:

  • Complete my education (Masters and PhD)
  • Complete my language training
  • Continue working on cello and violin
  • Assist my son in his schooling needs
These are the specific tasks the Lord has assigned to me. These are the items I am to focus on. No where on this list has He given me "complete a job," "get a career," or even "to this work." Work, job, career -- are no where on my list of things to accomplish or complete. Why? Simply because the Lord has given me my "to do" list, and work is not in my per view. It is His JOB to bring me work. It is His JOB to provide income and stability for my life. It is also His JOB to provide access to education for both me and my son. He tells me where to go to school, and then provides a way to pay for it. He provides access to language instruction, and provides the resources to accomplish that task. The same with cello -- He provided a new cello for me so that I could continue to improve in my studies.

Once again, I have mixed my wires up, and grabbed the responsibility for something that is not under my control. Therefore, I am letting this go now. I am trusting the Lord to provide a different job for me. I am to do the tasks assigned by my company, and as far as what work I actually do each day -- that is up to the Lord.

What does this mean for me? Really, it is just re acclimating myself to His Will, and accepting my role in it. He is God, I am not. His Will is done, not mine. It is pretty simple. It is well-ordered. It is completely thought out and planned (purposed). God's will be done in every area of my life.

How does this look for now or the short-term future?

Well, firstly, I realize that I have to let work go. It can no longer be the single focus of my days as it has been. I am far too exhausted to do anything else, and that is starting to cause issues with my graduate plans. I need to focus on my path, placing career aside, and knowing that so long as I am doing what the Lord will's, then He will provide a job that suits me and serves His purpose.

Secondly, I need to be about my studies and to maintain a clear focus to accomplish this next level of schooling. I need to be solely intentional about what I am to do, and keep in mind that getting my advanced degree was His idea, and not mine. Yes, I have always wanted to do it, but He has provided the way to do it now, at this latter stage in my life. Therefore, this is His SHOW and not mine. This is all about His WORK and not what I accomplish. This is His WAY and that means that He will provide schooling, funding and a job as a result of my obedience and willingness to do things according to His will.

My to do list includes the following must items:
  • Complete my Masters degree as planned in May 2012
  • Enroll in a PhD program for Fall 2013
  • Start my French studies and complete the level required for admission to above program
  • Take the GRE exam (fall 2012)
  • Continue improving on cello
  • Support my son in his efforts at school and be there as a supporter of his interests and goals
This is all that I am to do. God will provide income. God will provide some work for me to do so that I can do the above list. It is up to Him to provide, and it is up to me to do these things. He leads, I follow. He directs, and I listen and do what He says. It is a no-brainer unless I choose to exert my own will where it doesn't belong. I don't want the responsibility, I don't want to take hold of that which is not mine to hold. I want the blessed peace and security of living and doing within the massive and mighty river of His will. I want to float down the river and be completely contented to go wherever that river takes me.

Dear Lord,

I let go now of my hold on this job. I realize that you allowed it for a time, and it has served it's purpose. It provided income so that I could be established and live on my own. Now though I need a job that is more in line with your will and purpose, and something that will not be so intensive and energy draining. I need to complete my schooling, and to do that, I need to do a job that will be conducive to my schooling efforts. I ask now that you bring me a job that will allow me the time to take classes and complete a doctoral research degree. I ask that you provide an opportunity to me now so that I can transition into a new job quickly and get up to speed with the expected work. I ask now that you will guide me through these remaining weeks at Mercy so that I can complete all the assignments and graduate on time. I ask all this now in Jesus' Name -- believing in faith that what I am asking is in alignment with your will, and will lead me to the place of your choosing. I ask this now knowing that change is difficult for me, but that this change will bring me relief, and that I will be better able to handle everything I need to handle. May God be praised forever more. Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah!

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