January 6, 2013

Clear Focus

This is really weird. I have blog-posted the past couple times about being confused or feeling as if things were not right, out of kilter, etc. Today, it is as if everything is back in focus. It is a God-thing, I know it. I know that this has to do with Him orchestrating the details, and helping me to see where I may have been off the mark a bit, and where I needed to be for everything to fall back into place. Let me explain...

Yesterday, I had another work from home day. My job at CVS Caremark is tough. I am an analyst, and this is a kind of position that I have never really done before. I have had to be analytical in my previous work, but it was more of a bonus, than a requirement. I mean, I used my analytical ability to figure out a more efficient way to make calls at UOPX. As a designer, I analyzed a client's need, and then created a product (web) that would solve his/her problem. The work was very focused, and was to help me be more efficient, more productive. It wasn't a constant, daily part of my job.

As Print Analyst, I use my analytical and logical ability every day. My job requires that I analyze my work, the projects I oversee, and use the understanding I gain, to resolve issues and problems with client communications. Everyday, I look at data, I run reports, I spot inconsistencies, and other areas of concerns. I have to be very focused, very detailed, and very informed, so that I don't miss a critical component that is either causing an error or will cause an error. I feel like a logic board in a computer -- I am there to control the output, to run the programs, and to make sure the entire project runs smoothly.

I have not been happy, which is really an understatement. I have liked my job -- initially. It started out great, with something new and exciting to do and to learn. My team is a good, friendly, helpful. I work in a very nice building, and my drive is only 20 minutes each way. I am paid well, and I have benefits (a very good package). In all -- I am at a good job.

The workload started out very slow, but overtime it ramped up to overwhelming. This was expected, but coupled with the problems created by changing print vendors, lack of reporting tools, and what seemed a daily casualty report -- it simply became unbearable. Add that I was expected to work 50-60 per week for no extra pay, 7 days with no time off, and well, you can see how a good thing could turn bad quickly.

Christmas was non-existent for me. The holiday and celebration slipped by, and the New Year rounded the corner without much notice. I worked the past weekend, and I worked from home on several days because I was sick (so not really resting, just working at home). I am tired. I am very tired.

I was tired at UOPX, but that was a mind-numbing tired that stemmed from lack of quality work. I was bored making hundreds of robo-calls (that is what we call them). It was a daily grind of dialing dead numbers, leaving the same voice mail over and over and over again. I was glad to be released from that job. I was glad to have something new to do.

So back to feeling off-kilter. I could have just lumped my feelings into the fact that I have worked long hours for the past couple months, and that there is really no end in sight to them. I will continue to work weekends because that is what the job requires. However, it was more so that I made up my mind to look for another job, to try and find something easier, something less stressful.

Last week or thereabouts, I started to put my resume together and to look for another job. I actually applied to two jobs right after Christmas. I was tired of the workload, and I feared Regent's demands when I am actually accepted and start courses in May. I needed to do something different.

Coupled with this decision to look for another job, there was my son, who two-three weeks ago said that he had made up his mind to go to ASU for school next fall. I was happy. My parents were happy. My husband and other family members were happy. Logical. Practical. Good choice. However, I noticed that my son wasn't really happy. He put on a good face, but he dove himself into his gaming habit again. He stopped interacting, and he started spending all night playing games with his international friends. Now, yes, he does play games when school is out of sessions, so some of this behavior was to be expected. The real kicker came yesterday when he came in and told me that he was singing a song from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" musical. I had heard him singing, but I had ear buds in and had been concentrating on my work. He asked me if I paid attention to him, and I said that I had heard him, but didn't really understand the words. He said it was because he was singing the song in Norwegian.

Yes, Norwegian. My son has a passionate interest in studying Norwegian, and up until a few weeks ago, wanted to go to our Church school in IL. North Park University is one of the few schools that offer a Scandinavian Studies program. My son had all but decided to attend there last summer. He received a lot of criticism from friends and family who said "Why?" whenever he answered their question of his intended study. No one gets why a young person would want to study Norwegian. I mean really? Arabic, Chinese or one of the other modern and "practical" languages -- most certainly -- but not Norwegian.

I know his heart. I see it in his eyes, and I hear it in his voice. I know that he spends 18 out of 24 hours thinking about moving to Norway, studying the language, living there, going to school there. He has this strong desire to go there. He wants to study Norwegian.

I took a gamble on Friday and said to him "you can apply to North Park even if you don't intend to go there next Fall." His eyes lit up, and he grew very quiet. He walked away from me. Yesterday evening, I approached the subject again, and tried my best to give wise advice. He diverted us to another stream of conversation. This is his way of saying "Mom, I am thinking about it. Leave it alone."

Last night, we spent the evening together (a rarity). I bought "The Dark Knight Rises" and offered him a stay-at-home movie night. We used to do this when he was younger, but now that he is almost 20, well Mom is not the first choice for movie nights. He took me up on it, and we watched the movie, and most of the special effects and bonus material. After the movie, he went upstairs while I waited until the fire had actually died down. I followed him upstairs only to find him listening to some blazing music in his room (through headphones -- it was the pounding and stomping that concerned me).

My musician son was in the zone. He was listening to something, and was into the music. Yes, we had just finished watching the extra footage of Hans Zimmer orchestrating the movie, but something had clicked in him, something had sparked an interest again. I was pleased.

I went to bed thinking that things had changed. I was much calmer, more ready for sleep than I had been in a couple nights. I had made the decision earlier in the day to remain at CVS Caremark, to hunker down and just work through the trials at my job. After all, I like the work. I am getting paid a very good salary (when you add in benefits and the other compensation, my package is more than I could have expected). I decided to do this job as a job, and not a career. I know the plans God has for me, plans for my education, plans for His work (His Kingdom). I know that between now and 2017/2018, I will be a doctoral student. The job I do is inconsequential so long as it doesn't interfere with my online courses. Once I complete my PhD, the plans had been for me to work as a consultant. This is a very real opportunity, but I have to finish my degree.

I started thinking about everything, how God put it all back together again. My son wanting to study Norwegian, me working at CVS Caremark, and not focusing so much on the job, but on His work. Somehow God fixed whatever was wrong, whatever was off the mark. We seem to be moving back down the path again, the path we were on, when we both were happy and settled. Everything seems to be back to normal, back in order, and back to where it needs to be. God is so very good all the time.

Dear Lord,

I asked you to help me put things back to the way they were. I felt that I had been moving down the wrong path, and that I was going off-kilter. I had noticed that DJ was off as well, and that "it" just didn't feel right, feel good like before. You have fixed whatever needed fixing, and I thank you today. I praise you, and I give you the glory and honor. You are Good, all the time. Thank you, Lord for helping us, and taking such good care of us. Thank you for making our way smooth, our path straight. Thank you for your goodness, and your good mercy. May you be praised today and forever more. Amen, thy will be done. Selah!


Mama Squirrel said...

So very, very glad to hear this! Happy dancing (stomping?) with you.

Carol Hepburn said...

Thanks! We just finished applying to North Park University. We also completed the FAFSA application, and received a tentative outline of what North Park will offer for scholarship and aid. It looks doable, and realistic now. Before, it just looked too far off, too much, too hard. God does amazing things when you are keen on his will, and following after Him. 2013 seems poised for changes, and there are a lot of good things in the works. I am excited to see what comes of all this, and to see where we both will be next January, 2014!