Today is Friday July 22, 2011. (I'm sorry this is so long. And I haven't yet proofed/polished any of it). But I'm going to publish because I need to share!
Just over four months ago, on March 15, 2011, we were told that Jon's current department would be consolidated and, unless he wanted for apply for his position in Omaha, NE, his last day with the company would be July 1, 2011. Whoa! There really aren't words to describe the amount of shock I felt that day. There were a gazillion reasons it "shouldn't" have happened. The previous year or two Jon had applied for jobs within the company that, if he had gotten them, would not have resulted in job loss. Many people said they didn't see why he didn't get those jobs then. The company had even said that our Wichita (SOC) department was structured and operating the way they wanted to model ALL other SOCs after. Why would you eliminate the model SOC? And, at the very least wouldn't you make sound efforts to relocate them or utilize them in structuring and training other SOCs around the country? Regardless of what management said, when a company offers you an automatic $1500 (I wish I was kidding about that number) for you to relocate after you reapply for your current position, they don't really care if you stay with the company or not.
So, the constant prayer about our future really began that morning. By the next day, we knew we weren't supposed to move. I'd been open to it for a few hours, but no part of it made sense. We didn't feel like the Lord was asking us to move. I wasn't willing to uproot our family to move to a job that Jon would dislike far more than the job he was already struggling with day-to-day. The job in Omaha would be a step in the wrong direction, and even a management position would be a commitment to YEARS of headaches and heartaches in the struggle to make all the improvements that would be needed to get that SOC "up to speed." Well, that was easy. But it was also the acknowledgement that we'd rather face unemployment than take that route. Check.
The next huge question was, was Jon supposed to start his own tech business? We spent nearly the entire lent season really struggling with this one. (We found out about the consolidation about a week after lent started). I really felt that we would know the answer by Easter. And sure enough, about the week after Easter we had a great talk and had enough reasons to set this aside. The big one, we had too much debt to try to walk away from his current job and expect to start turning a profit almost immediately. Or, more accurately, to start turning enough of a profit to feed a family of four on! Another reality was that we could not start a legitimate business and collect unemployment at the same time. (Some East-coast states, I learned doing some research, do have this option). Ultimately, it just wasn't right.
So, what were we left with? We were left, at least in my mind, two "options" remained. The first, and the more likely, was that Jon would go after an CMTS engineering position with his current employer. He'd applied for this job about two years ago. And honestly, it was a strange set of circumstances that he didn't get it then. We're not bragging when we say he really was the BEST candidate for the job---then and now. He'd wanted the CMTS even more over the past two years and had made it known that's the direction he was headed. Almost immediately after the restructuring announcement was made, he contacted the new manager over those engineers and introduced himself. He shared that he was really interested in becoming a CMTS engineer and asked if there was anything more that he could do to make him the best candidate. During the same conversation, she mentioned that she was aware of a complex problem Jon had identified and resolved quickly. The problem, she'd said, was solved FASTER than she had seen in all her years of working there---kudos Jon!
The other option was looking for another employer. Honestly, I didn't think it would be possible to find a "gig" as good as what we'd had for the last nine years. But, the perk, was that we would walk away with two weeks of paid vacation (half of the four he would have been granted for the year) AND FOURTEEN weeks for severance. I'd always said it would be really *nice* to walk away with the money AND another job lined up. I was pretty doubtful it would actually work out that way, though. I imagined us using the severance to live on while I got a crummy job and we waited for ANYTHING that would pay more than unemployment.
The chronicle that leads us on a journey from what feels like a far away land began long before the black folders were handed out in March. I know that all stories are multi-faceted, so all I can give you are my memories and my account. In a small group sometime between October and December I asked for prayer for Jon's job. I asked for prayer because I'd known for a long time that things needed to change. Additionally, I was very aware of his desire to start his own business. So I asked for prayer for all of it---with the admission that I was way too attached to the security he had with his current employer. I knew that if he was ever going to start his own business--- my trust could not be in those reliable paychecks--- and I was FAR from ready to take any kind of financial risk.
Recently, I was reading through my current journal and I came across a fascinating prayer I wrote in January. I prayed for Jon's job. More specifically I prayed for a MIRACLE. I even said something about the possibility of going to a different company. I asked that God would bless Jon for his diligence was more specific than I normally am (I'd quote, but I don’t have that notebook with me). Another fun detail is our church's fund raising tactics. Early in the year our pastor began our second "Faith Promise" event. We currently meet in a middle school and our youth group needed funds to go to Mexico---so we knew from the start where the money we gave to faith promise would be going. Unlike a pledge drive--- faith promise is unique in that, we're simply told to pray about how much we feel God wants to give through us. Pray about how we can give and know that it is above and beyond our tithe. If we feel that we are supposed to fast a meal or a drink and give that money, if we feel we are suppose to not make sacrifices but simply give money that we attain unexpectedly or earn through a garage sale or overtime---whatever, the deal is you decide the amount and you can even tack on exactly which avenues you will or won't be giving from. This is a lot of info, I'm sorry---but you have to know that Jon came to me with a HUGE number for faith promise. HUGE. The amount was FIVE TIMES the amount I was comfortable with. Don't get me wrong, I'll admit that I'm pretty safe and guarded, so my number really wasn't that great. But, I also knew that we were struggling and needing to pay off debt. I knew Jon's number was going to be bigger than mine, but I didn't expect him to say anything THAT big. I prayed and tried not to freak out. After all---it's a FAITH promise. I knew we weren't going to get nasty letters in the mail if God didn't provide the money, it was on Him---not us!
But, let me also say that Jon and I were going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at the time, so eliminating debt was in the forefront. We'd determined we were not going to use our tax return for faith promise. But then, our tax return was FAR larger than we had ever imagined---and combining it with the bonus he'd gotten from work---it was almost exactly the Faith Promise amount. What!?!? We did give a small chunk of it to Faith Promise, but used the rest to pay down debt. I gave a testimony in church and said that we were reminded that if God can do it once, He can do it again. But inside, I was scared---scared that I was lying to myself. That even though we had both agreed the tax return was for debt (before we had any idea how far we had overpaid!) and we still had a few other avenues we wanted to use for faith promise. I was scared that we weren't trusting that God would provide to pay off our debt. But it resounded… if God can provide that amount once, He can do it again.Facing the possibility of walking into unemployment--- the thought of how we would make our Faith Promise amount pretty much vanished sometime in those first few weeks.
So… let's jump to June. At the start of June, not one, but TWO CMTS jobs opened up (both CMTS, but emphasizing in two distinct areas---this will matter later). TWO! It was set up so one was for Omaha and the other for Wichita, but the hiring manager didn't HAVE to stick to those parameters. How could she not pick from the pool of talent all losing their jobs in Wichita? Jon had stellar internal references and was friends with the 3 CMTS engineers all saying they were talking him up. The interview went great! I'm not being arrogant, but we couldn't foresee any reason he wouldn't be one of the next CMTS engineers.
That same afternoon of the CMTS interview, Jon had a phone interview with a different company. We were intrigued by this other company---who prides itself in being near the top of the Best Companies to Work for according to Fortune Magazine . We know a few people at the company who seem happy there. But leaving a company where you are safe and content, where you've been for almost ten years (having just earned that 4th week of vacation!) it's hard to just walk away. On the phone, Jon was very tempted to tell this polite gentleman he wasn't interested but he stuck with it and tried, to at least, give a mediocre attempt at it. By the end of the phone interview Jon had set up a panel interview the following week. We agreed that once we knew that Jon had the CMTS job, he would call and cancel the interview. (If he was offered ANY job with the company---he automatically forfeited any severance, regardless of whether or not he accepted the offer).
The call came. He called and said he was done with the company. I cried. He didn't get the job emphasizing in the area he actually wanted. Again. (One coworker genuinely thought Jon was joking when he told him he didn't get the offer). We had about 3.5 weeks left until his last day. The coworker that got one of the positions, was offered the job in the area he didn't have experience in (and is currently looking for other employment).
The only details worthy of sharing over those next few weeks are the waiting and waiting and then ultimately---phone call he received on JUNE 30, 2011!!! ONE day before his last day he knew where he was headed. He walked out with a smile.
We've had a three week vacation. For the first time, I genuinely feel like being debt-free is a legitimate goal in the near future. Faith Promise is WAAAY close to being paid off. Our benefits are substantially better---which blesses me far more than I anticipated. The pay is essentially the same. The company's website is right on target with our own ideas (I realize a website could be a FAR cry from the workplace environment---but in comparison to his former employer's website, it's already better). The management is already significantly better to interact with. I'm tempted to write *sigh* between every sentence in this paragraph! The job in itself is a blessing and the journey to it has been a miracle.
A perfectly orchestrated miracle. So many things could or should have been different, but God had a plan. Over the last few months I've been reminded over and over and over... something I wrote on here a while back---I don't have time to link it (sorry!) That when it comes to trusting in God's plan and will for my life, THERE's NO safety net. We don't need one.
I'll leave you with one last thing that speaks perfectly to what has transpired. (I found it in an old journal 2007ish). I can't tell you if I wrote it or if it's a quote I didn't cite, and that's the honest truth :-) ((There is a subject-verb agreement change---which leads me to think it's probably mine, that and yeah, I'll leave it at that))
The intricate details of history have not been random. The circumstances of your life may continually feel chaotic--
As we submit our entire will into the great and mighty hands of our God--we can trust that nothing is an accident. Every encounter , circumstance, trial and blessing are avenues to experience God, His character, love and vision for your future.
We serve a God who's vision is never fuzzy--nothing is ever big enough to obstruct His view of you or His plans to help, love guide and teach you.
Enjoy. (and God bless you!)