Call me a late-bloomer. In my early 40s, I marched in step, while dancing in my heart, to the band playing Pomp and Circumstance for the college graduating class of 2009. I worked hard for this glorious milestone. While employed full-time for 14 years with the same company, I attended evening and Saturday classes taking anywhere from 3 to 9 credit hours each semester for 6 years. Many late nights were spent reading textbooks and writing papers. I am the youngest of five in my family, and the first to graduate college.
Having made the Dean’s List 3 times and excelling in the capstone classes with A+ as my final grade, I was bursting with confidence. Bursting with confidence, even though a month before my graduation I was blind-sided with a 60-day notice that my job was being eliminated. The blind-side was softened by promises that the Human Resources Department would assist me in finding another position within the company.
In October, 2008, God called home the president of the division, whom I supported for five years. Understandably, a shift in management ensued and my job became redundant when the newly-appointed president decided to retain his current assistant. I cried on my husband’s shoulder that evening the day the bomb dropped on me. This news stung my pride like a very angry bee. As the last step of our debt-snowball, we had planned to pay off our house the following year and this unexpected news was forcing us to recalculate our timing and finances.
During my 60-day sentence, the Human Resources Department proved not as agreeable in assisting my job search within the company as promised. However, I was blessed with a temporary boss that knew my situation and he allowed me the freedom to network within the company. I felt like a door-to-door salesman selling my work ethic, job skills and experience, and of course, highlighting my new degree to management throughout the company.
Time moved forward and the new president rearranged his corner office and I regretfully trained his assistant. Word spread that my days were numbered. Often asked how I was coping with this news and transition, I was able to witness confidently that God has a plan for my life and I was not at all worried.
My inter-company networking and salesmanship paid off and I was the first of many candidates interviewed for a position on that final week of my employment. I knew I was over-qualified, but my confidence was still running high and I really wanted to stay with the company. After all, 14 years was a long time to give up without a fight.
I was invited to lunch every day of that last week by co-worker-turned-friends. Everyone in my department held a special lunch in my honor on the final Friday. I was given an over-sized homemade card signed by the team along with gifts, balloons, and a sugar-high from the icing on the farewell cake. At 4:30pm that day, after everyone left to begin their weekend, I waited by the office phone in anticipation of a call from Human Resources to either invite me to the exit interview or extend a job offer.
The phone rang and I heard myself accepting the job offer. Humbled by the love shown to me from so many on that final week, I likened it to being at my own funeral and popping out of the casket and asking everyone what was going on because I was simply taking a nap.
In my mind’s eye, I replay this time when I juggled a full-time job, late nights reading textbooks, writing papers, and trying to keep up with house and husband. I know God carried me through it all. I never gave in to worry the day after the bomb dropped on me. I believed God’s promises written in Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV),
”And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
Even as a late-bloomer, I never gave up on God because he never gives up on me.