The Job Saga of 2013

So, it’s been three years since I’ve blogged here and you’d think I would choose some happy or funny or thought-provoking post to “resurrect” my entries.

But, no. See, I’ve begun a few of those posts but haven’t finished them quite yet.

Instead, I choose to tell you a long tale of misery and woe, of lies and deceit, of hope and peace.

Hmmm …. sounds like a plot line for a daytime soap, doesn’t it?

The Short Version

For those of you who just want the facts, here they are:

Chris received a signed offer letter and accepted a job offer in mid-July with a start date of August 1. His start date was repeatedly pushed back with excuse after excuse until it was September 8. After talking with the VP, he discovered that the job did not exist and the offer letter was a forged fake.

So, Chris needs a new job with full benefits, a robust salary, stability, and a future.

The Long Version

For those of you who want more details, enjoy this sordid tale:

Back in April, Chris’ co-worker, Michael, left their company to take a management position with a health/IT company based out of Alabama. Michael told Chris that he would be heading up a Nashville office and his first hire would be Chris.

We were told he wanted Chris in place by June 1, then end of June, then July 10. By mid-July, Michael forwarded Chris an offer letter, signed by the VP, which outlined every detail of employment, including compensation, benefits, holidays—you name it.

So, Chris quit his job effective July 31. August 1 was the first day of school for our kids, so he asked Michael if he could start instead on August 5 (which was a Monday), and he said that was fine.

August 5 comes, and Michael’s not quite ready for him. (At the end of this journey, I have lost track of all the excuses for delaying his start date, but they included any variety of these: “the office isn’t ready”; “we need you to actually sign/date paperwork, benefits forms, applications”; “the HR department is incompetent/on vacation”; “we are checking on your references/background check”; and “I’m hiring a few other people so I want all of you to begin on September 1.”

We were devastated when he pushed him back to September 1. One of the main issues was that our insurance (for a family of 5!) ended on July 31. So, we had to take out one of those short-term emergency-only insurance policies. That was $400 out of the account that we had not budgeted.

September 1 rolls around (Labor Day weekend) and Chris is told he’ll begin September 3, but only as a contract employee. Because the money is not quite yet available from “the board,” he can only go full-time starting October 1. We were kinda-sorta OK with that, only because we had waited this long and were eager just to see some forward motion. My big questions were — “When will we actually see a paycheck and insurance?????” We, of course, didn’t have concrete answers for that.

But on September 2, Michael tells him — oops! you can’t start yet. You’ll be getting a packet that you need to complete and it will be at your house by Wednesday.

Guess what? Wednesday comes and goes and no packet. His start date is then pushed back to September 8 and “the packet” is supposed to be coming in a PDF via email. I don’t have to tell you that it never showed.

So, it was last week when Chris began unraveling the mystery. He placed a call to the VP (whose signature was on the offer letter), and the VP told him he had not authorized Chris’ hire, didn’t have any info about him, and never signed an offer letter. Furthermore, the company was NOT opening a Nashville office.

From what we can piece together on this end, Michael was in over his head and assumed authority he didn’t have (I choose to believe this rather than that he is Satan incarnate, but there’s that possibility, too). He actually DID hire some other people—completely legitimately—but, for whatever reason, did not follow the proper channels with Chris’ hire and for SOME UNKNOWN REASON, allowed Chris to quit his job, jeopardizing his entire family’s well-being, knowing the job was a possibility, at best and a complete fabrication, at worst.

Why??? I have no idea.

So, here we are now. Going on 8 weeks of lost wages, scrambling to make ends meet, and praying no one has an ear infection or strep throat. Chris is shaking the trees looking for a wonderful full-time job. I have picked up as many hours as possible at my work and am looking for extra freelance projects, too. We are selling stuff and cutting back.

What God Is Teaching Me

In this past Sunday’s sermon, our pastor talked about praying for change/action so crazy-huge and impossible that we (humans) would look foolish trying to take the credit. I love that. That is my prayer. That out of this crazy, weird, never-before-happened-to-anyone-else situation, God would receive all the glory.

  • We know he’s in control and we know he’s good. Rather than fret and worry, thinking, When is he gonna come through?, I’m choosing to adopt a perspective of expectation: God, you must have something awesome in store for it to come in such a weird, mixed-up way as this!
  • God is teaching me daily dependence. That idea of day-by-day leaning on him and looking to him for everything—from my every breath to money for softball pants.
  • God is teaching me to trust my husband and be patient with him. He and I approach “problems” differently. I’ve really concentrated on stepping back and allowing him to process this and move through it in the way that best suited him.
  • God is showing me the importance of prioritizing my relationship with him first, my husband second, and my family third. When you find yourself in the middle of hardship (whether financial, spiritual, emotional), your tendency may be to rely on human relationships for sustenance and counsel. Sometimes, you may be disappointed to find that those relationships don’t “come through” for you—or don’t “come through” in the way that you expect.

Discovering the true parameters of relationships in my life has helped me identify which of those relationships I’ve been idolizing—depending upon for something only God can give anyway. This has been a truly hard lesson for both me and Chris, but even good human relationships can become idols and God calls us first to intimate relationship with him.

  • God is showing me my sin and how it affects my relationship with him. Oooohh — this is a hard one. I idolize money, entertainment, “nice” things, and comfort. I love being in control. If you live in a big house and take your kids to Disney World every year and don’t think twice about how much a haircut costs, I’m probably big-time jealous of you. And a little bit bitter, too.

But all of that envy, greed, and bitterness erodes at my relationship with Christ. It chips away at my heart’s first love (God and his work) and instead begins to fill in the cracks with a counterfeit affection.

When you don’t have money for haircuts and a trip to Disney World is the further thing from your mind, idolatry of material things seems so superficial. And when you look at it through spiritual eyes, you also see that it’s a misplaced affection because the temporary things will never, ever satisfy.

  • We have hope and peace. God is always on the other side of whatever. Should our situation come to dire circumstances, God is there. He’s always there.

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;

the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

May the Lord give strength to his people!

May the Lord bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29:10-11, ESV)

How You Can Help Us

Wow! You’ve made it here. Thanks for reading all of this. It has been cathartic for me just to get it all out.

Pray for us, please, and remember us if/when you hear of job leads.

Thank you.

image: courtesy