Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Success of Failure

All the items on my mental "to do" list were swirling through my mind as I drove to work one beautiful April morning. The last thing on my mind was the possibility of being terminated due to downsizing, but that was the reality I faced.
In less than a heartbeat my salary dropped to nothing. Tears held at bay, I stuffed years of my life into a cardboard box and made the journey home to break the news to my husband. My job had entailed a healthy salary that allowed him to take early retirement. Now how would we pay our bills? We had no savings and no retirement “nest egg.” And I had two major strikes against me in looking for a new job. I was a woman and over the age of fifty.
For the first time in my life I drew unemployment to survive. My severance pay allowed us to fund the costly Cobra insurance for both of us, and by tightening our belts, we managed to meet our monthly obligations while I searched for a new job.
It was a time for introspection and reflection. Had I been happy with my career direction? Was the salary worth the time sacrificed or had I traded happiness for financial freedom? I turned to prayer and asked God for direction. Instead of asking myself what I wanted to do with my life, I asked God what plans He had for me. I knew God would get back to me in His own time. And I settled down to wait. Over the months that I searched for another position, I enjoyed the laughter of our grandchildren, and wonderful relaxed conversations with our children. My husband and I became closer as we spent time together in our home. I found I had missed so much on the career treadmill I’d taken.
This led to a rethinking of my goals. I'd been happiest years earlier when working in a support role where I didn't take work home at night, and didn't spend outrageously long hours away from home and out of state. Being a mother of eight, and finishing college at the age of forty-three, I knew a lot about organization. And I loved handling a variety of duties.
With that in mind, I changed my resume and focused on looking for an Administrative Assistant position. It wasn't long before I was hired into a company only six miles from home.
Since then, my health has improved and my outlook on life has brightened. Oh, I’ve given up a lot, such as working long hours into the night, missed family get-togethers, driving sixty plus miles a day, and high blood pressure.
Looking back, I believe God intervened in the career path I’d chosen to get my attention. Sometimes we need a good kick in the pants when we’re going astray. God got my attention and He answered my prayer. No, I didn’t verbally hear His voice telling me what to do, but He set me on the path I believe He wants me to walk.
I'm grateful for God’s intervention. Had I continued in my managerial role, I would have missed so many wonderful blessings in my life. I'm not looking back. Though my salary is less than half what I used to make, I am so much more blessed. I go through each day with a smile on my face and peace in my heart, and the knowledge that God always provides what we need, when we need it.

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