It’s Friday afternoon, September 17, 2010. I’m standing in front of the mirror in the tiny, one-person restroom at the company where I’ve worked for the past two years. The reflection, mine, staring back at me looks sad, stressed out, pleading. I look up, momentarily breaking eye contact with myself, toward the understood direction of God. Where is my answer? I want to shout, but I try to be more polite with my thoughts. Dear Lord, I need a new job! I cannot perform to my fullest potential here. I cannot do my work for your greater glory. Please Lord, show me your will for my career!
It’s what I’ve been praying for weeks, months now, ever since the girl in my department, who started work here two weeks after I did, got promoted over me a few months ago. That was when I realized I was underestimated here. That’s when I realized, I was under-challenged. That’s when I realized I was unhappy.
Was the promotion fair? Sure it was. Gina (we’ll call her) has been working faithfully here every day while I’ve been out for eight months last year on maternity leave. She’s mastered the new system that has come to fruition while I was gone giving birth to and caring for my newborn son. She’s taken on the biggest burden in our department while the others of us have been in and out doing life stuff. Gina is on top professionally. She clearly has a passion for this very same work for which I can no longer find excitement. She deserves to be recognized, thanked, promoted.
No, it’s not jealousy (okay, maybe a little, but not for the most part) that’s driving me to feel I am underutilized here. It’s something deeper. At previous in-house jobs, I’ve had much broader, challenging, varied duties. At most other jobs, I’ve been a lone wolf in my department. And at most other jobs, I’ve not been a mom, not been over 30, not been a member of a church that has finally brought my husband and me close enough to want to spend our evenings together. I am a different person than I have ever been before, and this job I hold now, where I’ve come to realize I can’t work to my potential, can’t work for me anymore either.
I leave the bathroom and return to my desk, clicking on CNN.com in order to continue to avoid the tedious work awaiting my attention. An article titled “Moving Out of State to get Autism Treatment” catches my eye and I click the link for distraction’s sake. The story by Paul Frysh about Wendy Radcliff and her family draws me in, and I read how she and her husband fought with insurance companies in West Virginia to try and secure coverage for their autistic son’s Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, how they eventually had to move out of West Virginia to Florida where autism is protected by law from discrimination by insurance companies.
One of the family’s plights described in the article is the difficulty finding an ABA therapist in West Virginia. Radcliffe is quoted as saying, "In West Virginia, because insurance will not cover ABA, it's very difficult to find people that know and are trained in how to do ABA -- they're just not available and around because of that," As I read this, I begin to wonder, what sort of resources are available in my community of Grants Pass, Oregon. We’re a relatively small town of about 30,000. While we do have a Wal-Mart, I have no idea what resources would be available to a parent of an autistic child.
I finish reading the article and get back to work. Unbeknownst to me, a seed has just been planted. Unbeknownst to me, God has just given me the answer to the questions I’ve be crying out to him for the last few months.