Posted on September 30, 2008
Filed Under Journeyman Chronicles, Theological | Comments Off on Reputation

I have ideal circumstances for pursuing an MBA:

I am not enrolled in any secondary education program. I have considered it often but I have never actually begun the process. I am not sure why, except that I don’t want to begin such a project without feeling confident God wants me to do it, and I have not felt that confidence.

If I were in an academic program right now, I probably wouldn’t be working on the project that I now have three days to finish. I wouldn’t have time to do it, and I would have told my boss so outright or given him a schedule sufficiently extended that some other option would have been pursued.

The urgency of this project, or of wanting to work on it but being constantly diverted, would have my mind in shambles now if not for the previoiusly scheduled week of vacation this month. The project itself is exactly the kind of thing I enjoy doing, and the latest fruit of the skills that first got me hired with this company.

In May 2006 I was contacted by a company I never heard of in a place I never heard of to work for them as a temp, because they had found “Microsoft Access” in my resume online. My resume did not feature Microsoft Access; it appeared on there only because while I was overkilling a summer project at the university library I learned a bit about Access and had nothing much else to put on my resume.

Then I got a different, full-time job at the company because my temp contract was running out and they did not want to lose me. I had nothing specific to commend me for the actual job I was given. Then I was assigned a job I might not have taken if offered because they decided I would have it.

So I have used very little deliberate initiative in getting where I am in my career. What’s more, except for this latest position, I have had little on paper to justify the jobs I have held. This makes me generally uncomfortable; if I were to lose my job for any reason, I don’t know that I could get a job that paid as well or I enjoyed as much, since my credentials seem to be in-house word of mouth as much as proven experience.

I feel like I really ought to get some serious training before I get stuck at the end of a trail of jobs that don’t quite suit me but were handed to me, and the road has run out because word of mouth will only get you so far before some asks to see your papers of entitlement.

This project I am working on now could put my name in the ear of the next person to hire me. Or it could wind up as an eccentricty, a project the worth of which depends completely on the peculiar setting it has in the current corporate culture.

I’d rather something a little more certain. I’d like a guarantee that I can find a job at or above my current pay level. How can someone with an MBA ever lack employment? But I have not gotten where I am on guarantees. I’ve worked hard in the job I had, entertaining only a vague notion of how to take the next step, and there’s been an unexpected element in taking on each new role that I attribute unreservedly to God.

Some people I know would say there’s no reason to get superstitious. I’ve been recognized as a able and diligent worker and that’s credentials enough to justify any career. There’s no need to attribute divine intervention to felicitous surprises.

And part of me agrees. It’s not like God made ten thousand armed men flee before me, or let me know I could be stronger than anyone if I let my hair grow long. He hasn’t really guaranteed that he will keep me moving up the career later, so with all due appreciation for his contributions so far, I’d like to go guarantee my future with a degree.

I have said, with the brazen indifference of the young, that I don’t rely on my retirment benefits, as there’s no saying they will be available and meaningful when I need them. Just lately that’s become a truism. So, today, what will I trust my future to? God, to whom I so casually commit my fragile senility? Or the achievments of my youth, waiting to be seized?

The Faltering Economy

Posted on September 24, 2008
Filed Under Journeyman Chronicles, Mundane | Comments Off on The Faltering Economy

What you buy at the store is what you will eat at home. I have tried from time to time to see if I could buy chips and “health” bars and other snacks and then go home and eat a three-course meal, and thus far I have always wound up with one hand in a snack bag and the other greasy hand on the mouse.

What you don’t buy at the store you won’t eat at home. Sometimes I open the fridge looking for fresh vegetables and they aren’t there. Sometimes I open the freezer looking for beef and all I see is chicken. I don’t know if there is something wrong with my refrigerator or what because every other place I have lived you can usually find something unexpected somewhere around the place so you can at least put a twist on whatever boring thing will be for supper. It doesn’t seem to work that way around here. Once I opened a cabinet and was suprised to find it didn’t even have any beans in it. Canned beans! Please. If you can’t find a can of beans in a pinch what are you going to do?

Maybe I should not have said that what you buy in the store is what you will eat at home. The reason I cannot find anything to eat around here is because half of the stuff I do bring home fresh–even fresh from Dad’s garden–barely even gets eaten. I have to race a half gallon of milk to its expiration date because I only use it on cereal. If I bring home one tomato and three squash, one of them will probably get a big rotten spot before I get around to it. I hate bringing home food just to throw it out. So I don’t bring home much. And then there’s nothing to eat.

I was doing pretty good for the first nine months or so. Things weren’t perfect but I was having a pretty good time getting home and throwing something together out of whatever I had on hand. I did not bring home much snack food because I knew I would just sit there and eat it, and I did not go out much because I knew the fast food didn’t really taste that good anyway.

I think I just got disenchanted with my own cooking. It’s not bad or anything, in fact it is still pretty good stuff if I get around to it, but it takes so much less gumption to slink over to the computer and stare at the glowing screen in search of meaning.

So I get into this vicious cycle where I run and grab something to eat, yes, fast food, even, because there’s nothing at home and it is far too late to go shopping and cook something. And then I eat that for supper but there’s nothing for lunch because I don’t have any leftover supper and I didn’t go shopping anyway so I go out somewhere for lunch. And then there’s nothing home for supper so even though I don’t really want to it looks like I’ll be going out for supper again . . .

I don’t really know how often I’ve been doing that. The days kind of blur together in the particulars. Mostly what I have been noticing is the way it all either works together or fails together.

Here’s the funny thing. It takes me a long time to go shopping because I dither around in the aisles worrying about the prices. But I never worry about the price when I go to the fast food chain or the vending machine. Those are exempt from frugality.

Cereal seems to be the most expensive thing in the store. It doesn’t spoil on me, but if it were inclined to spoil I’d still finish it in time because it is satisfying to crunch on. While you are crunching your mouth is convinced you are eating a stout meal, and if your belly doesn’t feel full afterward, why, it’s easy to do it again!

Now let’s ponder the similarities of cold cereal and credit, because I think there’s a brilliant simile in there somewhere but I don’t feel clever enough to winkle it out just now.