Posts Tagged ‘job’

I’ve got a whole crop of friends who graduated from college this year. Many of them are part of our beloved small group from our Abilene church; they are smart, capable, kind, funny, utterly wonderful people. Some of them have plans, but a few are still waiting, sending out job applications, bunking with friends or family or staying in college houses for a while, crossing their fingers and worrying and hoping. And even those who have plans – for grad school or a first job or internships – aren’t entirely sure what’s around the next bend.

And I want to say to them, and to you, if you’re there: I remember how that feels.

I remember the last few weeks in my college house, after the flurry of tearful post-graduation good-byes, packing books and dishes and furniture, trying to keep Bethany laughing as we worked so neither of us would cry. I remember sending out dozens (which felt like hundreds) of job applications, to places like New York and Nashville and Austin, and walking every day to my student job on campus, because they were keeping me on for the summer, and I sure didn’t know what else to do.

I remember watching Bethany drive away in her yellow moving truck, so tiny in the huge high cab, back to Longview to stay with her folks while she job-hunted. I went into the house and sat in the empty living room and cried. And then I called my friend Stephen, and we went for a Cajun cone, and I tried to drown my sorrows in shaved ice with raspberry syrup.

I remember the tentative first few weeks in my sister’s house, living with one of her roommates and assorted other girls who stayed for a week or a month, and the unexpected joy of Bethany moving back to live with us for the summer, and the two of us relishing our “borrowed time” together. (With Leigh Anne, the roommate mentioned above, whom we quickly came to adore.) We did a lot of worrying and some weeping that summer, but we did far more laughing – and we watched movies and hung out at coffee shops and borrowed each other’s clothes, and held each other in that tender space of not knowing, of in between.

At the end of the summer, I moved in with friends – because I didn’t want to go home (which felt like admitting failure), and I still had no “real” job. I kept sending out applications, including one to a job on campus at ACU, even though I thought I didn’t want to stay in Abilene.

As fate, or God, or something would have it, I got offered that job, accepted it, and spent a very happy year working in the Bible department at ACU, living in my own apartment for the first time in my life, making the odd transition from student worker to grown-up colleague, and laughing at the antics and witty comments of the faculty members I worked with.

It wasn’t the job I wanted to do forever. (I’ve never yet had a job that fitted that description – unless it was being a barista at the Ground Floor.) It wasn’t technically “in my field,” and it certainly wasn’t what I expected. But it was good. So good. And it gave me a year to grow up a little, to stretch my wings in the safe confines of Abilene, to breathe a little and get my feet under me before embarking on the next phase of my life and career (which turned out to be graduate school in Oxford). And the next phase, too, was good.

So to all new graduates, or others, who are feeling unsteady, like you don’t have a clue how to navigate this new grown-up world or use that shiny new degree: I know how you feel. Five years ago, I was there. (A little secret: I’ve been there many times since – and I’ve spent a lot of time there this year.)

But it’s all worked out okay for me, at least so far. I have a job, a wonderful husband, dear friends and family in multiple cities on two continents, and I still get to play with words all the time. Not bad, really, for an English major who spent a whole summer terrified that some or all of those things might not work out.

Where were you five years ago? Is it radically different from where you are today?


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inertia is powerful

If you came anywhere near a science class in about junior high, you heard about Newton’s first law of motion: A body at rest tends to stay at rest.

Oh, man, is that ever true.

For one thing, I am not good at getting up in the morning. If I am at rest, in my nice warm bed (with my husband curled up next to me), I tend to stay there as long as possible. And once I get to work, and get settled in at my desk, the same is true. Sometimes it takes a Herculean effort to get up from my desk, to get some water, make a cup of tea, or even walk over to ask my boss a question instead of sending an email. (Other office-dwellers: does this happen to you?)

It’s also true, unfortunately, in my creative life. Once I get stuck in neutral (and, oh man, has that been the case lately), I tend to stay there. And then I start to freak out that I’ll always be there, while struggling to find the motivation to kick back into gear.

What are your tricks for a jump-start – in the morning, in your job, concerning exercise, and perhaps most importantly, concerning creativity? I’m all ears.

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-that I can wake up at 7:22 and still be at work by just after 8:00 (it wasn’t intentional, but it happened).

-that I like red M&Ms best – I just do.

-that I can put my creative writing flair to good use in the TONS of reminder emails I send to the Bible department faculty.

-that a lack of coffee in the break room constitutes, in Jack Walker’s words, “a petite crisis” in the DBMM.

-that cardigans ARE sexy. Amen, Julie. 🙂

-that sometimes rebooting a computer really WILL solve all your problems.

-that cut flowers can survive for two weeks. (Betsy’s orange daisies are still perking along nicely.)

-that I NEED alone time, as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t had any.

-that the Conference on Christianity and Literature is being held at ACU in three weeks. Now, how can I swing it to go…?

-that sunrises through the Danleys’ front windows are among the most breathtaking sights in the world.

-that new haircuts, even drastic ones, are fun.

-that Glenn, bless his kind, loyal, slightly pessimistic heart, actually does resemble the hound dogs he loves so much. 🙂

-that Fridays of 40-hour weeks are an even greater blessing than Fridays of 32-hour weeks.

-that reading friends’ blogs is good for the soul. (I think I knew that already.)

-that I love my life. And my job. And my Jeremiah. And my friends. And the God who has made all this possible…and so much more.

Blessed be His Name…

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I got a job!

As previously disclosed on the Chatbox (for those of you who read it), I GOT A JOB!!! A real one, with office hours and benefits and a staff parking tag and everything! Yes, that’s right…on Wednesday at 8 a.m. sharp, I will begin work as the new Bible department administrative assistant at ACU. It all happened so fast…here’s the approximate timeline:

On July 30 at Lifeteam, I met Pam Pemberton (wife of Glenn, the department chair – their precious daughter T’auna is a regular at our Lifeteam), and she told me Glenn needed a secretary. I sent in my app to Human Resources later that week.

For two more weeks, I worried and agonized over not only that, but lots of other jobs, and sent out resumes, and worried some more.

While in Nashville on Aug. 15, I got a call from the department asking me to set up an interview. On Aug. 18, after driving back to Abilene the night before, I spent an hour with Glenn Pemberton and Camille Dickson (a friend of mine, who works in the department), interviewing. About 24 hours later, Glenn called and offered me the job! – but told me I should think about it. (Which was helpful, since I needed to think about it…talk about a quick turnaround!)

After talking to several dear friends, making two extensive pro-and-con lists (one for Abilene and one for Nashville), talking to my mom, talking to Jeremiah, praying a LOT, and being at Lifeteam last night, I came to the conclusion…this is the right thing, at least for now. There are so many people who love me, and whom I love, in this town. I can’t leave this family yet…not the Lifeteam, not Highland, not the blogosphere folks who are in A-town, not Jeremiah, not my sister, not my dear roommate Leigh Anne. I need to be here. When I said that last night, Marlene smiled and said, “We want you to stay.” Calvin couldn’t stop smiling. Lorin hugged me and kissed my cheek and said, “We’re glad you’re going to be around.” T’auna was so excited she couldn’t form a complete sentence. And Sarah Butcher grinned at me and said, “Yes. You need to be here.”

So that’s the story. I have a job!!! Thanks so much to everyone who prayed and thought about me and left encouraging comments and listened to me worry over these past months. I love all of you. Hugs. 🙂

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Fear. Angst. Worry. I know those are all I’ve been blogging about lately (or it seems to be so). Despite the fact that it’s spring here in Abilene, and we had a rip-roaring thunderstorm last week, and I am more in love with Highland than ever, and there are some fun things going on, I’m really scared. Searching for publishing jobs is an incredibly intimidating experience. So many of these job postings require years and years of experience that I don’t have. And 90% of them are in New York, which scares me to death. I don’t want to move to New York all by myself! I don’t know anyone there! (Of course, I know a grand total of about six people in Boston, two or three in Nashville and a very few in D.C.) And they want salary requirements along with the resume and cover letter (and I’m TERRIBLE at writing cover letters). Salary requirements?!? I’d just be happy to get a job at this point!

I read something this morning that flatly denied the possibility of landing a New York City job (or any other big-city job) if you live anywhere else – namely West Texas. Does this mean I’m really going to have to move before I have a job? I’m the sort of person who likes to have everything planned out. That scares me sooo much. Of course, I’d rather not start out in New York – Colorado Springs or Oregon or even Nashville scares me less than New York. I DO NOT want to go back to Midland, or stay in Abilene past this summer, and I’d rather not go to Dallas either – although I’d be fine with either Austin or San Antonio, at least for a while.

Sigh. Three weeks to graduation and my life is still one big blank after May 14. Ideas, anyone? Advice? What did you do right after you graduated? (And don’t tell me graduate school because you didn’t know what else to do – I’ve basically ruled that out.) I could use some encouragement right about now. And a job would be even better.

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