Unexpectedly unemployed for the fourth time in my career and feeling extremely discouraged, I trudged through the motions of a job search. Wondering and waiting were part of the process; I knew the drill too well. I remembered that a respected mentor in the workplace once told me that perfectly good people get dislocated through no fault of their own in a bad economy. He counseled me, saying that employers recognized this and were not only willing to hire people who had been laid-off, but often looked to them as desirable people to hire.
I took some comfort in remembering his wise counsel, but it was still a hard place to be.
I targeted a large and highly-respected organization in my community. It wasn’t an easy target; it was one of those places everyone wanted to work. When an opportunity came, it was not in the form I had expected or hoped for—it came through an entry-level position.
Not being sure I wanted to step as far back in my career as an entry-level job would cause me to, I had to pause and gauge my desire to get into the company. While there were no guarantees of security anywhere, in comparison to the smaller companies I’d been employed by, this company seemed like it would be a much more stable place to work. Stability was very alluring with four dislocations under my belt. I thought a company of that size would be a land of opportunity with a chance to move into a new position in a short amount of time. After deciding the benefits outweighed the sacrifices, I accepted the position. It felt like a door that God wanted me to step through.
It wasn’t long before I doubted my decision. The position wasn’t a good fit for me. While I could easily do the job; I felt confined, undervalued, and unappreciated. Coming to work was drudgery. My attitude sank to the bottom of the pit, making the drive to work less appealing every day.
While my work record had been stellar at every company I’d ever worked for, my performance came under question, which devastated me even more. I was not in a good place.
I was absolved from the false accusations surrounding my work performance and two years after starting the entry-level job, I found another position within the company. While this job and the three subsequent jobs were much better, I knew each step was still on my way to somewhere else and I moved on quickly, searching for the right place.
Six-and- a-half years and five positions later, I arrived at the perfect place for me. At last, it felt like a place I was supposed to be versus always a place on the way to somewhere else. It was the place that God had been moving me toward the whole time. We say hindsight is 20/20, and an opportunity to look back does indeed bring clarity. Now I could see how each experience, especially the toughest ones, were preparing me for the places God had in mind for me all along.
When I started at the company in that entry-level job, I had a general idea of where I thought I should go. The unknown area of the field where I ultimately arrived was a delightful discovery along the way. The journey was rich, but I wasn’t wise enough to recognize the beauty en route. I was always too intent on getting to my undefined destination.
Of course, I’m still on the journey. We will always be on the way to where God is leading us, but I’m in a really good place now. I feel energized by work that I find fascinating. I’m learning. I’m challenged. I feel like I found a home and I’m working in a much healthier work group with encouraging people again.
I couldn’t see the plan from the first department where I started, nor could I see it in the next few positions. I did not know then how I could get here from there, but God knew that there was a reason for every step.
God always had a plan. The many challenges along the way prepared me to be able to be where I am today. Unbeknownst to me, God was moving me in the right direction all the time. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).
It’s a story about trusting God, trusting even when we can’t see where we are going, and trusting that He is moving us and preparing us for where He wants us to be. God can use every step we take.
Shari is currently serving as a Hospice Chaplain at Olive Grove Hospice. Shari is a certified coach who lends a blend of business and ministry experience to her every endeavor. God has given her a passion to encourage people to integrate work and faith. You can learn more about her book, Walking in Faith: Stories of Hope and Encouragement on her website: www.sharjharris.com and contact her at email@example.com