November 27, 2013

Good to Go!

It is Wednesday, November 27, 2013, and I am sitting in my home office typing out a blog post. Yes, I am at home, thankfully, at home! God has provided a good opportunity to me to return to Grand Canyon and teach in the Spring. I won't be teaching three classes as I had hoped, but I will be teaching one Literature course (more than I hoped). As a result of this offer, I was able to go into my job at NurseWise and submit my notice yesterday.

Submitting a notice is a tricky business. It is awkward and it is difficult. You never know what the reaction will be or how your boss or colleagues will respond. Still the deed has to be done, and the notice must be given.

I was hesitant to tell my boss that I was leaving. I didn't know what to expect, and I didn't want to appear as ungrateful for the work opportunity I was given. Yet, in my heart, I knew that I needed to leave this position, and that I needed to move on (or back) to where I felt that peace, that sense of belonging.

I think the worst part of the whole thing was when I tried to explain why I was leaving. How can you say that you feel that God was leading you elsewhere. I had no knowledge of whether my boss was religious, and normally, I do not bring my faith into any conversation at my place of work. I have learned to keep my tongue and not say anything unless someone personally asks me, and then, to reply only if I feel that I am being prompted to do so. I believe in relationship building and in establishing a friendship before I share anything about my faith journey. Even at that point, I may share encouragement or advice, but not my personal walk. I have found that often seekers need comfort and they need to know that someone cares about them. They don't need a testimony unless it directly bears upon their circumstance.

I did my best to give my reasons for leaving, and I think what made it all the more difficult was that I had made my decision and it was final. I read online that communication with your boss is critical, especially if you feel that your job is not what you expected. I regret that I wasn't more forthright about the job. I should have been more bold and upfront with my boss regarding the lack of work. However, to my credit, I did tell her three times (once per week for the three weeks I worked there). I thought I was being clear, but perhaps I wasn't as clear as I needed to be (note to self).

In my defense, I assumed (wrongly) that the visual fact of me sitting at my desk all day, eight hours a day, with nothing to do would be "enough" testimony for anyone to see that I needed more work. Moreover, I assumed (wrongly) that when my boss checked in with me at the end of the day and apologized for leaving me unattended was testimony that she recognized my plight. In short, I assumed that my nonverbal behavior (visual appearance of sitting with no work) was enough. I assumed that my verbal conversation with my boss each week where I said that I needed projects to work on was enough. Apparently, my cues weren't clear enough to prompt any action.

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I struggled to articulate my reasons for leaving with my family as well so I do take some of the blame (if there can be any) for the failure of this position. I tried to explain to my family why I was unhappy at the job. I blamed the lack of work, purposeful and useful work. I said I was bored and I sat all day long with nothing to do (true). I said that I didn't like the drive (one hour each way -- true). I said that I didn't like the isolation of being alone all day long (true). I said that the nature of the job, the type of position, didn't fit me well (true) and that I decided I didn't like the role of business analyst (true).

All of those reasons were well and good, but my family struggled with the knowledge that I would give up a perfectly good job with a perfectly good salary and benefits on the basis that I didn't like the work, didn't have enough work, and didn't like the drive. To them, I am sure, my motives were selfish and rash. After all, it is better to have A JOB than NO JOB. There are oodles of people out of work right now and any of them would jump at the chance to have the job I just left. Of course, this is a blatant generalization aimed to make me (or anyone in my  position) feel guilt over leaving it. In truth, and I say truth, not everyone is qualified to be a business analyst. Not everyone unemployed has the credentials and experience to work in this role. So if you want to mince words -- I would agree that any unemployed business analyst would jump at the opportunity to take this job. I believe this is the case. I also believe that given 3-4 weeks, they would agree with me that there was no practical work to do because the job itself was poorly designed and poorly administrated. Enough said on that score...

As I sat in my office the past week or so, I had plenty of time to reflect on the real reason why I wanted to leave this job. All of the above reasons were true, they were part of the package. Not one single reason among them was justification enough, but rather it was a combination of reasons that lead to my decision to leave this company. The real reason, the main reason was that I was not happy with the path I was on, and I wasn't fulfilled in the work itself.

I have worked in a number of jobs over the course of my professional life. Most of these jobs were ones that came to me through friends, temporary agencies or paper ads (more recently, online jobs boards). In my early years, I took whatever work was offered to me. I interviewed and if offered the job, I said "yes." I didn't think about it much, and in fact, I think the only job I really thought about the specifics (commute, style of work, etc.) was the job I had at Britton Lee some twenty years ago. I took that job because the office was 5 minutes from my house, and the job itself was working with computers (technical in nature). The other jobs, even the most recent jobs, were more about whether I could do the work (type of work), and whether the job paid enough money to live on.

Grand Canyon was an exception, and really, it was the first time I took a job based on desire and not need. Grand Canyon in no way could ever meet my financial need nor my security need (permanent, benefits, etc). I took the position as IA for one reason -- it was a doorway to teaching at a college. The pay was hourly, $13 per hour, and the work was mundane and boring. However, the process was what mattered. Work a semester as an Assistant and they you can teach classes. It was an open door to becoming an Instructor, and I took the position because it was the only way I was going to get teaching experience and potentially move into a career as a college instructor.

I made the conscious decision to give up pay and benefits for the prospect of teaching college. I decided that my future hope of a career as a professor warranted this move. I took the job, worked two months, and in a moment of panic, chucked it in favor of the safe corporate job. I believed that the hope of teaching was unfounded and that I would be lucky to get one teaching job (not enough to live on). In short (my favorite transition), I walked away from my faith -- my faith that said "I believe God will provide for me, and that He has a plan for my life." Yes, even though clearly I saw the hand of God on Grand Canyon, and I felt His favor as I interviewed and was selected for a position, I walked away from it. Even though I had received such testimony from teachers telling me that I could do this work, and that I was "ready" to do it -- I walked away. Now granted, GCU needs IAs and pretty much anyone can be hired to assist in the classroom (if you need part-time hourly work). I see this now. I see that God used a desperate need at GCU to get me in the door. Still, the promise for teaching held out, and as of Spring 2014, I will be teaching at GCU.

To sum up -->

I left a good job at NurseWise to return to what I feel is God's intended path for me, teaching college. In spite of all the other reasons for leaving, my primary reason was that I feel called to teach at GCU. Note that I am not saying that it is my calling to teach because this is not the case. I never believed I was called into teaching, but rather, I do believe that God called me to follow after Him, and in doing so, I was given the opportunity to teach as a career focus/professional line of work. In reflecting on my past, it is true that my intention initially was to become a teacher (of Art). I started on this path when I was 18, and I left this path when I got married at 21. I have regretted not following what I believed God called me to do, teaching included, and I have lived with that feeling of disappointment.

Began college with hope of becoming a teacher -->life interrupted, new path-->Back on path to teach

Yes, it seems that I have come full-circle now. I am officially an Adjunct Instructor of English Literature at Grand Canyon University. I don't have a salary nor do I have benefits. I am not earning a living wage, and I won't earn a living wage for a while. I am teaching, PTL, and I have been given a very unusual class (Short Story) and unusual gift (normally, new teachers do not get Lit courses). I wonder how I will make ends meet. I am a full-time doctoral student, and I am receiving financial aid (tuition and some living expenses). I will need my financial aid to help offset my living expenses, at the least, initially. However, I do have some part-time prospects for communication consulting work.

I am leaning on the Lord, trusting Him to fulfill His promise to me. He has promised that He will never leave me nor will He forsake me. He has promised good to me, and I am relying on Him to keep His word to me. He is good. He is faithful. He is trustworthy.

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