The insightful gift of hindsight

One year ago, I quit my job. More accurately, a year and a half ago I quit my job, but circumstances were such that I phased out very slowly. It was a blessing and a curse.

Two years ago I decided I needed to move on from my job. I no longer felt that I was being challenged or stimulated and there were aspects of the position that made it downright miserable. Additionally, it was only part time which meant I needed at least one other job to make ends meet (which I had been exhaustively doing for two years). I was tired and fed up. When I told my boss about my dissatisfaction, he told me to reconsider my opinion and my attitude. I mentally told him (and verbally expressed to God) that I would make an effort to adjust myself, but I would make a much bigger effort to find a new job ASAP.

So, by the time my boss and I actually agreed on an end date, I was simultaneously overjoyed to start a full-time search for my next big thing and completely exhausted from working a job that didn’t fit anymore. There were no vacant jobs within the organization that I remotely wanted and I was absolutely not interested in waiting around for one to open. I was so ready to bid adieu to my hometown and alma mater.

Despite not having a job lined up or even a firm idea of what I was looking for in a new job title, I felt so much relief on my last day of work. I assumed I would shortly be packing my life up and heading off to a “cool” new adventure, so I was a tad annoyed when I checked my voicemail for the last time. I had a message from human resources asking if I’d be interested in a temporary position in a different department. Although I was excited for freedom of unattached unemployment, I was equally stressed out about a lack of income (especially during the holiday season) so I said yes to the opportunity.

Two short days of unemployment later, I started a new job answering phones and processing invoices. I was assured by my new bosses that they understood I wasn’t interested in the role for the long-term, and they encouraged me to use the time to also apply for jobs elsewhere, which I did. However, by the time Christmas break rolled around, I had been given responsibilities and projects that used my skills of interviewing, writing, transcribing, organizing and collaborating. I had enhanced my résumé doing a job that I would have never considered had it not been pitched as a temporary opportunity.

The timeline for the temp position was always vaguely “through the holidays,” so when I left for the two week unpaid Christmas break, I wasn’t exactly sure if I was going back or not. However, at the start of the new year, my boss expressed that as long as I didn’t find another position, I was welcome to and appreciated in continuing to fill the gap.

The day our office reopened in January, the woman working as the public relations specialist put in her two weeks notice, thereby vacating the ONLY position at the University that I was interested in. My bosses very heartily encouraged me to apply, interview for and ultimately accept the role. After spending two months very anxiously anticipating that I would literally and figuratively move on, my perfect (at least in the foreseeable future) job left me very literally in the same office, the same organization and the same community. I’ve been able to continue doing things I love (teaching yoga, volunteering, spending time with family) that would have been impossible if I had had to move for a new job. What a weird and yet wonderful answer to prayer.

A year later, I’m super thankful for how everything worked out, even though things did not at all go according to my plans. A few notable things I learned along the way:
1. God’s timing usually looks wildly different from my own, but it’s been better for me 100% of the time.
2. Joy is something that must be pursued and chosen on a daily basis. While sticking out a job that was no longer serving me was very tough, it also taught me a lot about humility, perseverance, patience, attitude adjustments, love, creativity and gratitude. While working in a job that I currently love, I still have to make a choice to stay invested, to find joy and to seek excellence in my work.
3. Doing what I felt to be tedious tasks in the temp position actually proved so helpful when the department finally filled the position. I was the only person qualified and able to train my new coworker, which provided natural moments of connection and made for a very smooth transition for everyone.
4. Patience and peace go hand in hand. For the most part, making spur of the moment life decisions does not work for me. Spending time in intentional prayer, seeking wisdom and thoughtfully reflecting through journaling has given me so much clarity when I’ve needed to evaluate major choices or opportunities. When I make a move without doing any of those three practices, I typically find heaps of unnecessary pressure, anxiety and doubt added to my life.
5. Sometimes the next best thing is right in front of me, even if I’m too blind, prideful or impatient to see it.

I have no idea how long I’ll remain in my current position, but I do know that every day that I pursue excellence with a Christ-like attitude, I’m building my résumé as well as growing emotionally and spiritually. What a wonderful gift of insight for this season of life.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. sscbeatty says:

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Fox says:

    A beautiful reminder that God is in the details. Never know what door He’ll open. Grateful that you continue to express yourself through the written word and invite others to find themselves in your story. Love you cousin!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LW Warfel says:

    I love how our two stories merged in this one, Lauren! I was just sharing about this from my perspective this week. So thankful for how God is honoring our faithfulness is very different ways. So thankful to know you.

    Liked by 1 person

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