Thursday, October 11, 2007

Third time's the charm? (job three)

The power of the network kicked in again. When I made myself available for new employment, and contacted a good friend about it, her efforts lined me up with two interviews. I say interview, but really - based on a good recommendation, I wasn't really 'interviewed'. I found myself in the rare situation of having two offers and deciding which one to take. When a good person recommends you, all you have to do for the interview is show up (and not goof up).
I was called the Continuous Improvement Coordinator. The improvement aspect was wonderful, it was only change that people resisted (sorry, couldn't resist that). The company had wanted someone who would come in and kick some butt, and they found out that wasn't me. You know you're being watched over when the company has good enough reason to let you go, but they find a place for you instead. I was re-assigned to the IT department, and oversaw the procurement and implementation of a quality management package. We decided on a package built on Lotus Notes. It was my first exposure to Notes.
We went from running internal-only email (cc:Mail), to piloting Notes mail and adding 6 'shared' internet mail addresses, to rolling out internet email access. EMail (before the advent of spam - sorry, couldn't resist that either) was the 'must have' application.
Our computers suddenly became indispensable. We used 'out of the box' thinking to implement backup strategies for our Domino server, and incorporated part number updates from our ERP system to support Notes applications.
The internet became a powerful tool for searching, including job searches. I discovered a job at a Christian non-profit organization in Michigan and, on a whim, applied to it. I was surprised when they responded positively. My wife and I went for the interview, and they made a job offer that I accepted (sort of). You may be remembering an earlier post that stated my first job was the last time I got a job based on an interview with a stranger. Well, it's still true. I accepted the job. I went to the border to apply for a work permit. I was refused.
I had no experience or expertise in obtaining a work permit, and neither did the organization. The job offer died on the vine. We had thrown our hearts into Michigan, we thought God wanted us there, and the whole thing fizzled. The ordeal had lasted nearly four months.
I shut off all notifications for jobs in the U.S., and I told myself I was going to be happy where I was for a while.
While all of this was going on, I had been unavailable for a lead role in an Easter musical at church. I became available, took the part, had a blast, and really stepped out of my comfort zone.
A month after Easter, I got a call from a former co-worker who was now working in Michigan. Less than four months after that call, we were 'out of Dodge' and moved in to our house in MI. When God clears the way, things move fast.
I learned that I could want something to happen real bad, and I could try very hard to make it happen, but God would still implement His better plan.