Just a few of the things I am thankful for

It’s Christmas Holidays Season!  You are probably as excited as I am for the opportunity to spend time with family and friends and chow down on some good food and fixings. As I sit here in front of my computer, I can honestly say there are a number things that I can give thanks for.

A lot has happened in my life since the last time I posted an article.  After almost a year and a half after relocating, I was given the opportunity to work full-time outside of the home this summer not once, twice but three times!  Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for the transition time.  I still consider myself a newlywed after almost three years of marriage.  For the first nine months, the Hubby Coach and I lived more than a thousand miles away from each other. I was still up in New York cutting it up with my best friend, winding down things there; while he was here in Houston coaching Football.

During my transition period and after my big move, I was able to get to know my husband beyond what we learned of each other during our courtship.  I learned how to rely on someone else other than myself and God emotionally, financially, spiritually again.  I became a homemaker for the first time in my life. We also jointly learned how to trust God when our income didn’t match our bills. I know it was only God who kept us in the black during those leaner times.

After several years acting semi-MIA; calling only around the holidays and for special occasions. I began the practice of conducting regular check-ins with my family.  I made it my business to go to the doctor and find out what was going on with my health. I was negligent in that area for a number of years out of fear. I also got my driver’s license and did the seed work necessary to go back into the business for myself and to college.

In addition, I took on a few clients and designed and now manage their web presences. I began to take daily walks to collect my thoughts and commune with Jesus. It was a very Zen-like period for me. And still I did become a bit antsy and discouraged at some point.  I think anyone would. Cabin fever was beginning to sink in hard!  I needed something to do away from the house beside what was familiar.

To be completely 100, a sister needed a job! I needed to be around new people and experience new things.  In a lot of ways, I felt like a car with the engine reviving while its wheels were on blocks. I had to put my mind in check though in regards to the entire employment issue. The negative energy was starting to bring me down and make my husband equally antsy. I don’t know why; I had any concerns about the situation.  I have experience in this area with God, so I knew better.

I had two periods of sudden unemployment during a five year period that wrecked me straight down to my core.  The first time I was ever released from a job was after my mother went home to be with the Lord.  I hadn’t allowed myself to mourn and heal. I attempted to lose myself in my work. I had quit a job where I was making good money.  However, it also gave me a high level of stress. The problem with that was I accepted a position while my emotions were high in full-time ministry in the area of Member Care services.  That was not my lane. It is not the area that I am primarily graced in. On top of all that during that season, I was a broken person, attempting to supply the needs of other broken people. Two wrongs never make a right.  So, eventually I was released and then re-hired into a position that was better suited for me.

Through that experience I learned that God truly had my back. He had my best in mind.  I just needed to trust in him and his timing. Going back to the present, while I had been steadily shopping my resume around to a few recruiters and had applied for a number of opportunities on my own; the callbacks were few. No responses had come back; that were concrete.

Then this last recruiter calls me, I am a bit surprised. I had forgotten about applying for the particular opportunity at first.  I didn’t allow this to stop me; I scheduled my interview. I then went back into my files and found the job’s description. The position was temporary, just for the summer. However, on paper it looked like it was one that could lead to a more permanent opportunity.

I would be working as a summer (administrative) helper within the Human Resources Department of a local school district. The exact work I did not know what I would be doing until I started. However, I knew once hired, I would be working with the talent and acquisitions team. This team of people were responsible for recruiting, screening and recommendin candidates for the entire school district! I could only pinch myself and say “Look at God!”

The funny thing is before I had relocated to Houston I had begun to apply for jobs within that very school district because my husband worked for them.  My husband is an educator and a coach.  It was my prayer to work with a schedule that reflected his.

The day of my interview I was slightly late for, no fault of my own.  It turned out that the interview my husband had been waiting for had been rescheduled for the very same day last minute.  He was up for a new teaching position at his school.  Since we were sharing a vehicle, he had to come and get me and then rush us back across town to my interview location.  When, I realized that I might be running a few minutes behind schedule I called my recruiter and left her a message.  Upon arrival, I let her know about the message just in case she had not had the opportunity to check her phone and also who had made me late and why.

I didn’t exactly throw my husband under the bus.  He told me to tell them that he made me late, and he apologized on my behalf for doing so.  They found the entire interaction charming and a great icebreaker for my interview!

Fast forwarding a month or so, I had been working on this assignment for a few weeks. I met this wonderful group of dynamic black women.  Their ages ranged from 10 years younger than me to 2 years older.  I worked personally with one that I now call a little sister.  I learned so much from her about the area and job hunting field.  I hope I was able to share any of my wisdom with her.  I also gained a couple of mentors.

The husband and I had prayed about me approaching one of the staff members on getting advice on how I may be able to get a permanent position with the company.  I carefully wrote her a letter of introduction and sent it via email. I listed my strengths, weaknesses and attached a version of my resume for her to critique.  After a couple of days, I had thought she was ignoring my correspondence when she pulled me aside and began to give me some good advice.  I took it all and to the heart and immediately, when I got home took a look at my resume and reworked it based on what she had shared with me.  I told her this during out next interaction.  She was surprised.

A day or so later her supervisor pulled me aside and told me of an opportunity that they thought I might be perfect for. It was the end of the day, and my laptop was off and my husband was downstairs waiting for me, so I attempted to pull it up on my phone.  When I got to the page, I noticed that it was no longer available. I immediately emailed my mentor and let her know. I still had an interest if the job opportunity presented itself for me to apply.

In this midst of all this, I had applied for another job.  I interviewed for it and received an offer.  I told my current employers this because the current assignment was getting ready to wrap up in the next week or so.  On my second to the last day, they honored us with a breakfast for all our hard work.  At the conclusion of the breakfast, my phone began to vibrate.  I excused myself to take the call. It turned out I was being asked if I was still available to interview for a position at one of the high school campuses within the school district! Again, I had applied for the position on a whim months ago and had forgotten about it.

The Administrator that called me hadn’t realized I was the very same person that had assisted him with his HR paperwork a couple of weeks earlier! He and I scheduled an interview for the next day.  The interview came and went, I believed it went smoothly. I interviewed with a panel of four. They told me that I would know if I was going to be offered a position by the next day. When I got the call, I almost jumped for joy, I now had two great opportunities to choose between.

I took the pros and cons and presented them to my husband and God. On paper, the first opportunity looked good.  It was in the industry I was most familiar with (I would have been an Administrative Assistant to a Pastor.) The hours were great, and it was less than 15 minutes, a straight shot drive from our home.  However, it did not have benefits for a year, and I did not see how I might be able to advance my career within the organization.

Both positions would allow me to make a difference. Either working with children or within the community, God had blessed me with that.  So in the end I choose the job that was almost an hour commute each way from my home and almost five months later I still love it!

Granted every job has its challenges. However, I was blessed with two great immediate supervisors/Assistant Principals.  My co-workers are wonderful; we work as a team, and I am learning so much from them. I know God placed me in that temporary position to give me a taste for what I had been praying and believing for and to present me before decision makers. It turns out the Associate HR Director that I had been working indirectly under was the lead counselor that had opened the campus I am currently assigned.  She worked very closely with the building principal, who is a legend herself in the field of education and within the district.  See, God placed me at the flagship campus!  I will never know officially if she recommended me or not, but I have a feeling she did.  Either way, I am thankful and know I truly have been blessed by God.

 

© 2014, Lela Jefferson Fagan. All rights reserved.

About Lela Jefferson Fagan

Lela Jefferson Fagan is the author of the book “Poetry of a Black Girl: The Darkness and the Light” and lead blogger at “Memoirs of a Black Girl”. Lela is an avid reader “A Real Bookworm” of all things in print. She finds joy in sharing socially and blogging about topics that matter the most to her. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Lela now lives in Houston, TX with her husband Oji, an educator and Football Coach. @LelaJFagan - See more at: http://www.memoirsofablackgirl.com/

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