Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sometimes the job doesn’t come until the eleventh hour

If you are unemployed, you want the job NOW! Christians have always heard that God’s timing is perfect. As humans we usually wish things happened in our time. When I was in a job search in 2002 I even bought a book titled “You’re Late Again Lord, the Impatient Woman’s Guide to God’s Timing” by Karon Goodman just because of the title. This humorous book, sadly out of print now but with copies still availability on Amazon, reemphasizes the point that God’s timing is perfect.

So why does God sometimes wait until the final hour, sometimes even the final minute and second (11:59:59)?

I have two stories of how God perfectly used the time before giving jobs to two women: one is me the other is a good friend.

My story is like so many others. I lost my job in the 4th round of company downsizing following the dot com bust, the resulting stock market “correction” and 9/11. Being in Information Technology (IT) I was like many other techies, I was used to falling into my next job due to the high demand for our skills.

At the beginning of the search I calculated how long I could last financially while I was looking for a job factoring in the severance package (which was small), unemployment, and savings. April. April was the deadline.

I didn’t know that the job market had changed so I was shocked three months into it that I had not been scooped up yet. I had a peace though that God had me where I was supposed to be. I had an amazing peace although I was still keeping my eye on the calendar.

In April I looked at my finances again and surprisingly could make it until August 1st. I had not had many bites and had even been refused registration for a job fair because I didn’t have five years of healthcare. A JOB FAIR! They were going to be sitting there anyway taking resumes but they would not let me attend.

I soon realized what God was doing. He was teaching me to walk in faith and strengthening my walk. If you have read any of my work or heard me speak you know I use a LOT of analogies. The comparison I use for this time is the time we taught my much younger baby sister how to walk. When we knew she was close to taking those first few independent steps, I propped her up against the coffee table and I stepped back a few inches and called her to me. She let go of the table and took one step toward me and then fell into my arms. After praising her I put her back against the table and I stepped back further so she had to walk further. I was stepping back further so she would walk further and get stronger at walking, although I was always right there.

That is what God was doing with me. He was stepping back but not away so I could learn to walk in faith. The happy ending is that not only did I network into and get hired by the company that would not allow me in their job fair, but within two weeks I was promoted to the manager position and a month later HR asked me to work the job fair; the very one that months earlier I was not allowed to attend. That was God reminding me too that through Him all things are possible. Since that time I have been volunteering with Crossroads Career network, sharing with other job seekers how the market has changed and what they have to do to be successful in it.

I continued in IT for the next 6 years but in 2008 I had the opportunity to take a severance package (not so small this time) or apply for another position within my company whose industry was hard hit by the recession and economic crisis. I chose to take the package and that is when I launched my own company as a career coach.

Speaking of walking in faith! I had never run a company before, less start one up, in a field that was not the one I worked in for oh so many years. I didn’t have capital to invest in the business. I was literally walking in faith. And once you take that first step, it is just like when we were teaching my sister to walk. There are longer stretches of road ahead that require faith. But just like on a highway, when we start to wonder if we missed a turn that we were supposed to take, God will give us a sign to assure us that we are on the right road. I now see clearly how God used my eight months of unemployment in 2002 and I am grateful for it; I needed that lesson for now.

Not always do we see the reason, at least in this life. However, there are other times, like mine when it is obvious. No example is as extreme as my friend’s story.

Terri (not her real name) had been in job searches before. Being in HR, she experienced the ups and downs of the market and mergers and acquisitions. A woman of faith, she knew God would provide. One of my favor quotes is attributed to Mother Theresa: “God does not give you more than you can handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much”. I’m sure Terri felt the same way.

Terri’s healthcare coverage (Cobra) was about to expire at the end of February of this year. A week before that Terri started experiencing chest pains. There are many things that can cause chest pains and the feeling of indigestion but since heart conditions run in her family, she went to get it checked out. The first doctor did a few tests and listened to her heart and dismissed it as anxiety (after all she is in a job search and her Cobra is about to expire) and suggested she take an antacid. Not finding any comfort with the antacid, and watching the calendar get ever closer to the end of the month, Terri scheduled another doctor’s appointment with a different doctor.

This doctor conducted more tests and still didn’t see anything of concern. At her urging, he scheduled her for a stress test on Friday. She was sure if there was anything to find, the stress test would do it since she had been experiencing exhaustion and pain especially when she was active.

Upon completing the stress test, the doctor told Terri in his most serious voice to get herself over to the hospital immediately. She had two 99.9% blockages and she needed to have surgery immediately. He said if they had dismissed her, she most likely would not make it through the week.

She had two stints put in that very day. Because of the new advances in surgery she was home the next day and even went on an interview that Monday. By the way she got the job.

But here is why His timing is so perfect for Terri. He knows Terri. He knows that if her Cobra had not been about to expire, she would have dismissed the signs and deferred her doctor appointments. After all she can’t afford the expense or the time from her job search. He also knows that if she had already started her job, she would have not taken time off for a doctor’s appointment; how would that have looked just having started a new job? God KNEW this was the only time He would have her full attention. Had she not gone to the doctor when she did, she would not be with us today.

How is God using this time with you? Is He trying to teach you something you will need in the future, like me? Is He trying to draw you closer to Him so you are seeking with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11-17)? Is He giving you time to take care of and spend time with a relative who is sick or dying? Or does He know you like He knew Terri and is trying to get your attention about something? Ask Him and then listen for His direction.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'm in tears after reading this. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be learning while in this time of transition, but I will take your advice and simply ask Him. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.