In the last two years I have applied for two jobs—only two. Obviously, I have not been hitting the pavement searching for employment. Nor have I found myself thinking, “I should look for a different job,” while on my way home from my current job.
Last summer I saw a job listing that looked as if it had been written with me in mind. It involved doing the kind of work I am doing now, but on a college campus. This job also included teaching, and it was at a Christian college, so not just anyone with the right training would be considered. The skills, experiences, and attitudes described as the ideal applicant all matched me perfectly. The only discouraging sign was that they preferred a Master’s degree in the field; even so, they were willing to hire someone who would study to earn a Master’s degree while working for them. Best of all, this college is near my childhood home—so close that I had visited the campus often.
I sent them the required information, and they quickly responded. Later they told me that I was on their short list and asked for additional information. In the end, I was not one of the two people they interviewed on campus, but their last word to me was that if the interviews were unsuccessful they would get back to me. Evidently, I missed getting the job by this-much.
This winter my best friend asked me if I had seen a job listing in the publication from Church Headquarters. I had not—most of the mail that comes from Church Headquarters goes straight to the recycling stack. I found the job listing and saw that they wanted someone who could write for the Church Headquarters. The various kinds of writing all appealed to me, so I decided to apply. The process was automated, and after the initial acknowledgement I heard nothing more for a while. I figured that the computer had read my information and disqualified me before a living human being ever knew I had applied. Meanwhile, just in case they were interested, I took the time to familiarize myself with written information coming from Church Headquarters.
Then, months later, I received an email inviting me to interview over the computer. We scheduled the interview—I put on a tie and suitcoat to talk to people on a computer screen. The interview seemed to go well, and they asked me to email samples of my writing. It sounded as though they were hoping to make a decision rather quickly. Weeks went by, and I heard nothing. I asked myself if I had checked the writing samples carefully for grammar and punctuation and spelling. I was tempted to open the email and double-check those things, but I knew it was too late to change anything, so I didn’t really want to know. Last week I finally got a computer-generated email thanking me for my interest and telling me that the job at Headquarters had been filled. (Yes, I am again dropping all publications from Headquarters in the recycling, unread.)
Not long after the interview, while I still had reason to believe I was being considered for the job, I received a phone call. “Hey, J.,” the caller said. (He is someone I have known for a dozen years.) “Would you be willing to let yourself be considered for a full-time church job?” I had held such a job for a while, then dropped back to part-time church work and took a different full time job. Rather than give a quick yes or no, I asked for a day to think about his question. The next day I returned his call and said I was willing to be considered.
A committee interviewed me over the phone the next week. I was one of three they were interviewing for the job. They promised to keep me posted on their decision. They have not done so. At the beginning of this month, I learned from two round-about ways that they had offered the job to another man. That did not mean that the story was over, though, because it was possible that he would decline their offer.
My thoughts dwelt on full-time church work again. I considered how I would tell my present coworkers about the change, and how I would discuss it with my family. I considered creating a Facebook post with a picture of Michael Jordan and the words, “I’m back.” (Sports fans will understand the reference.) Since I am Facebook friends with my present coworkers, I thought that might not be the best thing to do.
In all three possible job offers, I tried my best to pray the words, “Thy will be done.” I tried not to add, “but if you want my opinion, Lord….” Even though I do not have a burning desire to change jobs, any of these three would have been good for me, and I would have been good in any of them. Finally, it was good for me to consider the question, would I be willing to be considered for a full-time job in the church. I am not ready to go looking for such a job, but if one were offered to me, I would very likely accept.
This morning I learned that the other man who was interviewed and who was offered the job has accepted. That door is closed, but I have a suspicion that another door is about to open. J.