Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Deo Gratias: God gave Frances a new job!

To continue the story from this post...

Exactly one week ago today I received a phone call from a fellow parishioner (the NFP dad). In his voicemail he told me that his company had a position opening that he thought I might be well suited to and he invited me to call his brother-in-law to find out more. I was on my way to an appointment, so I debated whether to make the call in the 20 or so minutes I had before the appointment or wait until afterwards. I waited. Then, safely in my car in the parking deck (with shade, silence, and privacy), I made that fateful phone call.

I am not sure how much detail to provide here - if you have questions about some specifics I neglect, feel free to ask in the comments or via email. Here goes:

The Director of Publishing of Saint Benedict Press, currently based in Gastonia, NC, (about 20 minutes outside of Charlotte) is expanding the business and looking for an Associate Editor to help him write book prefaces and back cover descriptions and contribute to decision making on all aspects of the business, from marketing to artwork to book selection. For various reasons deadlines loom and he needs a right-hand man (or woman) as soon as possible. Ideally, this person would possess writing and editorial skills, the ability to handle all sorts of practical and creative business needs, AND a lively Catholic faith with a strong appreciation for quality Catholic literature.

We chatted for about half an hour and then he invited me to meet him in person - as soon as possible. I shared without any need for secrecy that I was on my way to Adoration and Mass at St. Ann's and would not be available until 8 pm. He agreed to meet me at a coffee place five minutes from where I live at that time.

With my heart racing and my mind reeling, I called David as I drove to church. He listened and then encouraged me to be open and put it all before the Lord in prayer. We met in the church parking lot and went in for some awesome Jesus time. As I prayed I realized all the things I love about my current job (great environment, varied work, excellent pay and benefits, and not too much stress) and all the reasons I had concerns about taking a new job at this stage of our life, especially one that was further away, promised to be more stressful, and paid less. I left Mass believing that this was not the right opportunity for me.

But when I spoke with the Director on the phone on my way home, he listened to all of my concerns and countered them: the commute isn't really very long or difficult (just 35 minutes going the opposite direction than most on the highway), the job might be stressful at times but not constantly, and he was willing to negotiate salary. When I told him point-blank "we're hoping to be blessed with a baby soon and I'm concerned about starting a new job, being sick in the first few months, and then having to leave less than a year later" he assured me "we can work with that." Can you believe it? (Keep in mind that he and his wife have five children ages six and under. And that they met at Franciscan.)

So I agreed to meet with him as planned. We spent almost 2 hours sitting at a table in the open air, talking about Catholic classics, business practices, artistic design, and my background. I left with a lot of excitement and uncertainty.

On Thursday afternoon the Director called. He wanted me to visit the offices of Saint Benedict Press and its parent company, Good Will Publishers. The CEO and other key personnel needed to meet me. We coordinated our schedules and I drove out to Gastonia that very afternoon. (Can you believe how quickly this was all going?) For another 2 hours I toured the facility, learned all about Good Will, chatted with employees, and endured a grilling from the CEO. Once again, I left excited. But was I ready for such a big change? Was this really what God wanted me to do?

I spoke with friends and family and discussed the pros and cons. I prayed fervently - I haven't been so communicative and close with God in a long time (I call the whole ordeal the "spiritual kick in the pants" I needed). On Friday morning I shared the possibility of a new job, my dream job, with my supervisor and a few friends at work. Their overwhelming response: do it. This is an opportunity not to be missed.

Mid morning the Director called: "we want to offer you the position." (Fact check: that's less than 48 hours from finding out about the job to being offered the job. Whoa!) My response: "my husband wants to meet you" (quite a logical request, considering that I would be spending much time one-on-one with this other guy). The Director agreed to meet us for lunch. Over lunch, David asked all the questions that he needed to ask, in a gentle but serious way. I loved him so much for that! The Director's answers satisfied David, and we told him we would take the weekend to discern our response.

Lots of great conversations and prayers ensued and by Sunday we were certain that God had orchestrated this blessing. Despite the sacrifices taking this job necessitates in our lives (I will be away from home more, our costs will go up and our income will decrease, and the stress might further delay our hope for pregnancy), we see that God will use it to challenge me spiritually in the best of ways (I will be reading awesome spiritual texts) and provide a beautiful opportunity for me to evangelize (I will be writing to encourage others to read these awesome spiritual texts). I will use all the skills I've developed in school and my previous employment experiences. And, I do believe, this work will bring me great joy. (It makes me chuckle to realize I actually told the CEO I have a gift of joy. It was so refreshing to be completely transparent about my faith the entire time.)

I filed my two-week notice at the library on Monday. Friday, May 16, 2008, will be my last day with PLCMC. Although my first official day at Saint Benedict's will be the following Monday, I've already started writing for an assignment. Here I go!

We truly appreciate your prayers as we go through this transition and prepare for whatever God might have in store for us!

2 comments:

Adam said...

Frances, I am so happy to hear that you found a job that seems right up your alley!

Good luck with the changes and it looks like Im going to have to start buying stuff from St. Benedictine Press soon huh?

*carrie* said...

Frances,

Wow! Thanks for sharing that story--such a testimony!

This is off the topic, but I've been meaning to thank you for referring me to Zoom. I signed up and have already completed a few surveys.