So, it turns out God answers prayers...and then adds a little finishing touch. I can even sense a "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" in His message. Here's what happened...
I've been dissatisfied at, stressed from, and frankly concerned for the future of, my current employer. For reasons that don't need further extrapolation, I have been seeking a new job for over a year. Researching and applying for jobs similar to and a step forward from my current one - what I feel I am supposed to do now that I'm a "grown-up" - was leaving me cold. It felt like I was trading one bad situation for another one. But what's a grown-up to do?
I networked of course, and spread the word to friends and family that I was looking for a "customer service" job. One good friend, Mark, sent me a posting for the company he works for - as a fill-in type position as I looked for my grown-up job. The position seemed, on the surface, interesting but did not pay appropriately. I blew it off almost instantly.
And then I went on an LSD trip with said friend - that is, in our training for an upcoming half-marathon, we ran a Long Slow Distance run - I believe it was eight miles that day. (Truth is, with Mark, it isn't really ever slow!) At some point in our huffing and puffing conversation, he mentioned the position at this small company (DING! - I like working for small companies - always have, in fact that's one of the appeals of my second shift job - small group of co-workers. It's like a small company within a big one.) and how flexible the hours were (DING! - I need a job with flexibility so I can pick Andrew up from school) and that the hand-assembly (DING! - I so miss creating/building/fabricating with my hands) was something I could easily do with my background (model-building) and that the company was full of Believers (DING! - perfect!). Also, the office was located in our community - just 4.5 miles from our house - easily bike-able, even occasionally run-able (DING! DING!)
I sent my resume/cover letter that very night.
And, conversely, interviewed for a position at my current employer a few days later. It seemed like a good move - a day position with a step above what I've been doing on the night shift. It was daytime hours (possibly flexible) and meant working in the large population of "daywalkers". I would still be driving a computer (with my hands) sitting at a desk, but it would be more hours and, I assumed it would come with a significant pay increase. Interviews, three of them, went well enough (backed up with a lot of prayer). It was a grown-up thing to do.
Four days later I was sitting in the office of the president of the small company where Mark works, animatedly and enthusiastically discussing everything from my squirrel feeder patent and how that whole business was started in our dining room in St. Paul, to the good ol' days of architectural model building. We talked about their handful of employees (DING!) and how their products (related to air pollution and auto emissions - I think they have a long and huge future in the upcoming green-conscious next century or two!) are hand-assembled (DING!), that they have flexible hours (DING!). Oh, and did I mention that upon the founder's bookshelf, within easy reach, sat a Holy Bible? (DING!)
I spent a lot of time over the next 24 hours praying, telling God that I really, really, REALLY wanted this job, but that it needed to work money-wise (that whole grown-up thing reared it's pragmatic face). I even posted my little prayer on the KTIS radio website among all the "serious" prayers.
Two days later I received word from my current employer that, though they were offering the position for which I had interviewed to another candidate, they were offering me a different one, a little more in line with my current skill set and certainly helpful in preparing me for stepping into the larger role in the future. But no, the hours were not flexible, and since I am already at the high end of the pay scale for that position, there would be no rate increase at this time. I was a bit relieved (the bigger position had some intimidation factor going for it) and flattered (she sounded sincere in her predictions of future movement) and I told her I would get back to her in the next day or two once Minda and I figured out how to make it work.
And four hours later I received an email offering me the job at the small company. With pretty much everything I had hoped for.