Surprised by work…

(When you're not great at shooting selfies while driving, transform them into sketches.... ) While I did ask my son how I looked before I left for my first day on the job, I didn't think about shooting a photo -- until I reached my first STOP sign. I look more happy than anxious. :)
(When you’re not great at shooting selfies while driving, transform them into sketches…. ) While I did ask my son how I looked before I left for my first day on the job, I didn’t think about shooting a photo — until I reached my first STOP sign. I look more happy than anxious. ūüôā

What surprised me about my first day of work was not what it entailed but the “when.”

I had long entertained the desire to work for my alma mater, and by the time my final year of teaching ended this spring, I already had numerous applications in the university’s system, all positions for which I was qualified. One job, in particular, caught my attention because it seemed to require every aspect of my eclectic background — an ability to understand technology¬†and science, an ability to write and edit, and an ability to work with upper level students. I had taught middle and high school students Algebra and English for 15 years, often using technology to do so, but I had come into teaching through my journalism background, and I came into journalism through my passion for science and my desire to communicate environmental issues to the general public.

Within the job description was this detail: “translate highly technical information and scientific jargon into descriptions the general public can understand,” and I felt as if I were reading my own words. A large part of the job included acting as a writing coach to a dozen or so interns, mostly upper level undergraduates or law students. I believed that this position was a fit for me — but I had thought that about numerous job descriptions without¬†much result.

As weeks passed after submitting my application, I wasn’t overly hopeful¬†and¬†was having communications with a couple other businesses that were displaying interest. Those potential employers scheduled a series of phone interviews, and I had just completed one of them when my cell phone rang again. It was the university’s¬†Office of Technology Licensing.

Thirty minutes later, I had a paper filled with scribbled information and a smile on my face. I had been completely honest, completely myself; I had answered questions and then asked my own. I liked the voice on the other end of the phone, and the voice seemed to like me. I hung up with a face-to-face job interview scheduled three days later.

The interview was nothing short of miraculous.¬†As a teacher, I enjoyed the knowledge that I was making a difference in the lives of my students every day, and the thought of doing just “any old job to earn a buck and benefits” didn’t excite me at all. (See “Why I teach…”¬† ¬†for more insight.) On top of my own efforts to make a positive impact while teaching, I had worked with my seniors on their Capstone Projects, projects in which they had to change the world in some way. In the interview, I realized that¬†making the world a better place was the vision statement for¬†this office at the university. Changing the world in some way every day would be my job.

So when the director asked me why I wanted the position, I honestly (and, perhaps naively) said,

“This job is like my fairy-tale ending. It is the culmination of everything I have done so far — the science, the journalism, the teaching, and even my desire to change¬†the world. That has been the goal of my seniors’ Capstone Projects, and now it can be my daily goal, too.”

I felt confident and comfortable; the two women who interviewed me laughed with me (at appropriate times) and seemed genuinely interested in me as a candidate. Afterward, though I had some of those second (panicked) thoughts about my responses to questions, I thought if I didn’t get a job offer then I could never trust my senses again.

We had parted with a few, less-than-heartening statements: “We have a few more interviews” and the dreadful¬†“If you don’t hear from us in a week or so, give me a call.”


The next morning, a Friday, at 9:42 a.m., I got the 4 minute and 29 second call, a job offer at the highest number in the advertised salary range.


The person I was replacing already had moved to another state, and I was wanted immediately. Of course, “immediately” translates into something more like “eventually” when a huge organization is involved. Or so I had been told.

Minutes after the phoned offer — even before I accepted the job — Human Resources called to start the background check. By Monday, I had passed. By Tuesday afternoon, all my references had been contacted.

“Could you start this week?” was the next question.

All I needed was to have the university vice president sign the paperwork — and then I could begin. But that was delayed by vacation time or sick time, and I got the word that the earliest I could start would be Wednesday of the next¬† week.

On Tuesday morning of that  week, I got word that the earliest start date would be Friday (doubtful) or the following Monday.

But that same afternoon, I got the official offer letter. Tuesday evening, a call from HR to schedule an appointment to sign paperwork the next day.

Wednesday morning, at 8:37, I got word that I could start. Immediately. As in that very day.

“Well, just give me a few minutes to change into something more professional,” I said.

They were more than gracious about the time. We settled on 12:30.

Timing is everything, as they say. God’s timing is an expression of His love — and so perfect. I had no time for nerves¬†and¬†no loss of sleep, anxiously anticipating that first day in the office.

Being surprised by the first day of work is a beautiful thing.

Being surprised by how much I could love a new job is even more beautiful. Each day I work is a reminder of how much God knows and loves me.

And that should be no surprise.


4 responses to “Surprised by work…”

  1. Claire S.Manger Avatar
    Claire S.Manger

    Congratulations:) Your Mom & Dad would be very proud of you! Uncle Jack, also, as I am.:) Love & prayers, Aunt Claire


    1. sarahas5 Avatar

      Thanks, Aunt Claire! That means a lot. ūüôā


  2. Betty K Avatar
    Betty K

    With tears of joy in my eyes I send best wishes and I know you will change the world and help others do the same. I am so very thankful you taught my daughter through high school and capstone. I send praise and prayers to you!


    1. sarahas5 Avatar

      Thanks, Bettty! I am so thankful I had the opportunity to teach at Cornerstone and, truly, never thought I’d find another position so meaningful to me. To know that God had such a perfect plan for me blesses me to no end. Thank you, too, for your work at Cornerstone and the ways you have supported my dear Adam through the years. I think you were always rooting for him. Blessings! Sara


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