Been on a job hunt lately? Dumb question. I’ve seen the unemployment numbers. Obviously a big chunk of the American population is looking. Let me make my apologies to any of you who are looking for a job because you lost one. Reading anything that I have to say on the subject is bound to aggravate you. I left my teaching job quite deliberately. My best friend said to me on the week I gave my notice, “Katie, you’re so funny. Everyone’s hanging on to their jobs for dear life and you just up and quit.” We used to have classrooms right next door to each other. She updates me periodically on the changes in the district, such as insurance. It’s not exactly a cut in salary, but when you don’t get as much help paying for insurance as before, it amounts to less pay—a whole lot less if you happen to get sick.
Yep, I’ll bet the Beasleys are a touch irksome to people who didn’t leave a job by choice or whose pay doesn’t keep pace with increased living expenses. “Katie, you’re so funny…” Yes, I’m hilarious. I’m thoroughly amused by myself. I’m laughing all the way to the bank…to squeeze the last penny from our tax refund.
If you read my most recent post, you know that my husband and I are moving our family from Orange, Texas, to Little Rock. We made the decision to go this summer whether we had secured jobs or not. It’s been a year since my last paycheck, and Todd just gave up a perfectly good job so that we could free-fall into whatever God provides. Ever heard that bible verse about waiting on the Lord and mounting up with wings like eagles? Well, I’m waiting on that eagle to swoop in before we go SPLAT!
Here’s what it’s like to apply for jobs in a city, state, where you don’t yet have an address. Silence. Eerie, awful, prolonged silence. Not even the peaceful chirp of a solitary cricket. It’s so quiet, it’s deafening. For the first time since college, I was passed over for multiple teaching positions. The last few jobs that I really wanted, I got. Not so in The Natural State. I am plagued by the suspicion that a few superintendents got together and agreed, no doubt while exchanging sinister chuckles, “Yeah, we don’t want her kind around here!!”
None of that matters, though, because I now have a part-time position at a Christian school. Whew. Once again, I can’t doubt God’s existence when He so obviously provides what I need and not what I thought I needed. Full-time teaching jobs suck all the energy out of me. Had I been hired by a school district, I would have effectively put a writing career on hold–again. I admit, the full-time pay would be nice and meet a need. But my other half is still looking.
My husband and I both have seen how ridiculous it is to look for a job in a new city. How much more difficult a road to navigate when you apply for jobs outside of your field. I actually got booted off of an online application for a job which listed a GED as the minimum education requirement. If I hadn’t already jumped off the cliff (still listening for the flap of an eagle’s wing), this would have sent me over the edge. It tossed me out of the pool of applicants because—get this—I’m not qualified to be a receptionist because I’ve never worked in an office. Do you know why I’ve never worked in an office, stupid nameless, faceless, cyber-whoever-you-are but-certainly-not-human-resources? Because a teacher acts as her own secretary, that’s why. They take phone messages for me in the school office, but other than that, I handle all my own phone calls, emails, messages, files, documents, records. I create, delegate, negotiate, evaluate, present, persuade, and placate. I am professional, I am articulate, and I have run away leadership skills. I taught eighth grade for eleven years. I CAN GET ALONG WITH ANYBODY. Seriously. There must be a better way to weed through applicants.
Even more daunting for a minister seeking secular employment, I’m sure. If it frustrates me being denied the opportunity to hand my resume in person to potential employers who might be ignorant of the skill it requires to teach kids, then certainly Todd’s job search is an uphill climb. Every one is somewhat familiar with a teacher’s daily routine. But a minister? Most people probably have no frame of reference for Christian ministry to begin with. Until we started putting resumes together, even I was in the dark. I can tout my abilities to get a middle schooler to crank out five paragraphs, but I have a grade to hold over the child’s head. Ministers have volunteers to work with. I was in charge of a group of volunteers a few years ago, and listen, people, that’s like herding cats. Moreover, in the ministry the authority pyramid is warped a bit because, even though the minister is in charge, the congregation pays the salary. Talk about skill. Administration. Communication. Presentation. Negotiation. Persuasion. And all this with integrity and a sincere desire to make a difference. Companies should be climbing over each other to interview Todd.
Mulling this over in front of the TV last night, I realized that the obvious solution is starring in a reality series. People with much less “real” work experience and virtually no education have far more earning potential. Ah! A solution! Let’s run through a quick list of possibilities, shall we?
Picking? Too much travel.
Little Rock is nowhere near an ice road, ocean, or swamp. Shucks.
Too dignified for Jersey, not near dysfunctional enough for Kardashian. Rats. That was secretly my first choice.
Wait a minute, babe. I’ve GOT it. Pest control! Rounding up a racoon and her brood is a little like herding cats. Transfer skill! First of all, the location is perfect! Plenty of critters in Arkansas, I’m sure. So let’s just check the requirements:
- Wild man call? Not a problem.
- Talk as ignorantly as possible? It will take some practice.
- An accent so thick it requires subtitles? For the money, you can sure get one.
- Experience working with animals? Some, yes. I recall a story about how you trapped a possum once. Whether you want to put your hand into muddy water to retrieve a snapping turtle is up in the air. We’ll see how desperate we get.
- Catchy nickname? Keep in mind that Turtle Man is taken.
- Big ol’ gap where your front teeth ought to be?
Aww, dad gummit!! That’s the deal breaker right there, babe. You have too many teeth. I know you won’t go for an extraction, and I don’t want to kiss a toothless face.
So where does this leave us? Right where we were. Leaping. I read in Sarah Young’s devotional book Jesus Calling that “it is virtually impossible to stumble while walking in the Light with [the Lord].” Likewise, we can’t stumble during a free-fall.