Ebenezer Series–My Next Steps

Acknowledging God’s magnificent hand in my

otherwise ordinary life

Friends at MCS

Friends around my desk at the Multi-Cultural Services office

As I mentioned in my last post, my first job opened up so many doors for new experiences and for the most part, it was very good.

Unfortunately, after 23 months of employment, the owner of the company was making requests of me that made me uncomfortable. One morning, while he was in town, I was dreading going into work, knowing I would have to face him after an awkward conversation the previous day. I was annoyed and frustrated with him and felt very burdened over the entire situation.

As I sat alone eating breakfast that morning, a thought came to me: “I’m going to quit today.” Until that moment, the thought had not entered my mind, but when it did, I felt peace and a sense of excitement, and I completely recall a smile coming over my face.  I had a plan {short-sighted though it was}, and I felt empowered, and that changed everything.

I headed off to work and asked my immediate boss if he had a couple of minutes. I then became nervous and stumbled over my words, but without a lot of explanation I gave my two-weeks’ notice. It was not his fault and I felt bad dropping this on him, but I knew he would understand that it was time for me to move on to other things.

A fellow co-worker encouraged me to apply for a job at Lands’ End, where he was picking up some part-time hours. I applied and got a job there, but don’t even recall the interview process, so it must have gone off a lot easier than I expected it to.

I also took the state test to qualify for a program assistant position at the local university. There were no such state positions open at the time, but I did get called in for an interview for a part-time position in the Multi-Cultural Services (MCS) Department. I do recall that interview and was nervous and sure that I blew it, but was offered the job the following day and accepted it with some fear and trepidation.

I worked for the Assistant to the Chancellor for Minority Affairs and helped him write reports and worked in general with the campus’s minority and international student population. Many of the students were my peers and I developed great relationships with them—yet there I was getting paid as an employee while they were working hard to make it through the next semester. I finally got a taste of college, but from a completely different perspective than I ever thought I would.

Once again, my horizons were expanded as I interacted with people from various backgrounds and cultures. We were there as a resource to the students, but we also hosted wonderful events like International Night and various ethnic dinners and celebrations. It was there that I dared to try new foods and discovered that it was very fun and exciting to improve my palate.

International Night dinner and celebration

International Night dinner and celebration

I picked up part-time hours in other departments across campus as the opportunity arose, so that I was often putting in a 40-hour week. I worked for Counseling Services, Tutoring Services, the Teaching Department and the History Department. Everywhere I went on campus, people greeted me by name–students, staff, administration and faculty. My world had expanded greatly, and I loved it.

At some point, I ended my employment at Lands’ End because I was only getting a few hours here and there and it was a bit of a commute. I discovered quickly that customer service, i.e., sitting on the phone all day, was not something I enjoyed. At all.

When I was back to part-time hours at the university, I picked up a job at the local newspaper as a typesetter/proofreader. My interaction with others was very limited there, but it was another good learning experience for me.

I began to hang out more and more on campus, spending occasional nights with a friend who, as best as I can recall, was living in a dorm by herself, and soon she and I found an apartment to rent together and I was finally “out on my own.”

Dorm life and big hair

Dorm life and big hair

It was a very fun year of living in town, but at the end of that year, my roommate was headed to grad school in another state. I couldn’t afford to rent the apartment by myself and I was not having any success finding a new roommate.

And my faith was stretched farther than I thought I could bear.

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