Friday, January 20, 2006

Counting my chickens, or Thoughts on accepting a job that I haven't yet been fully offered

I think I managed to acquire a job today. I’m not going to count my proverbial chickens before they hatch, but (to borrow from another colloquialism) I think it’s in the bag.

I interviewed for a position at a plant nursery and show garden here in Colorado Springs. Should I be extended an offer and accept the position, I would become their tree salesman for the season. I would probably be put in charge of repotting as well.

Many of you know that this sort of position is right up my alley. Plants—trees especially—are on my list of favorites (see footnote 1). I worked at a nursery in Juneau, Alaska, the summer that I went “on project” with Campus Crusade for Christ. I loved what I did, being surrounded by beauty all day. I would marvel at the colors and contours of each plant that I worked with. The job would have been relatively perfect (can perfection be so modified?) were it not for my boss, whose cantankerousness seemed to increase throughout the summer. Other than working for a sometimes crotchety man who quite resembled Santa Clause (only in plaid and driving a beat up Chevy truck), I could not complain. God created me to enjoy the beauty of His natural creation, and I got paid to enjoy it.

Here’s the quandary I find myself in now: I’m not sure I want to take the job here in Colorado Springs. (Yes, I know I can’t refuse a job I haven’t been offered. Obviously, my chickens haven’t yet hatched; what follows probably constitutes me counting them prematurely.)

I am experiencing two reservations, one of which I know is most likely illegitimate and probably unbiblical. I’m not sure yet about the other. Let’s first discuss the latter.

My interviewer—the woman who manages the nursery, and my would-be immediate supervisor—warned me at the outset of our meeting that the man who owns the entire business is notoriously Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde-ish in the way he treats his employees. One day he may take them out for lunch, and the next he’ll tell them that they’re doing it all wrong. It just depends on his mood. From what I gather, he possesses the male version of what is often referred to in women as a high maintenance personality. Everyone has to walk on eggshells, because no one knows what his mood will be. The man I worked for in Juneau had the same sort of personality, and I can tell you that he was often not an enjoyable person to be around. I really don’t want to work for a man who doesn’t understand the effect that his countenance and speech have on his workers. I recall the days when my fellow workers and I would lament our boss’s emotional vacillations. We really wanted to quit, but we couldn’t, as per our the agreement we signed with project staff prior to going to Juneau with Crusade.

But here’s the flip side of the coin: I almost want to take on the challenge of befriending this man, and getting on his good side, so to speak. I want to show him what a dependable person looks like. Most importantly, I want to show him how a devoted Christian lives, or at least works.

So, do I take on the job, and try to keep my chin up when my boss unwarrantedly criticizes my work, hoping that I have some sort of influence on him? Or do I continue looking for a place that consistently treats their employees with respect?

I don’t know. But I do suppose that God knows. And so I shouldn’t be anxious.

1. Other favorites include honey mustard; bright colors, especially orange; and sunsets.


jenni said...

sweet! you might have a job?!... praying for you as you toss things around in your mind. perhaps the alaskan santa clause could have prepared you for a new "friend". i suppose you now know moreso what to expect from such a person... we shall see! keep us filled in!

Manda said...

First, congratulations on the "not quite hatched" position that sounds like it would suit you to a "tree" :)
Second, let me pass on this observation I have made about my employment situations as they relate to my employer. Currently I have an "un-ideal" (is that a word?) job with a great boss who I enjoy working for. I don't mind getting up and getting an hourly wage. I have also worked for an "un-ideal" boss in an "un-ideal" job which was pure torture. The observation I want you to know about is the position where I was in an ideal position for an "un-ideal" boss which, as it turns out, has been the most emotionally damaging position that I have ever been in to date. It is a situation that I have every intention of NEVER repeating again.
Finally, a question: how much time do you forsee actually spending with this person? Might it actually be someone who you can blow off?
Sorry, this got a bit long. You're still loved...

Ashley said...

Congrats on the job possibility my dear cousin and friend. Ah, the world of the job search. You and I have embarked on this adventure together. The only advice I can pass on to you about this potential job with Santa is...pray. "Pray the prayer that is always fulfilled; Thy will be done," Father Tom Kavanaugh. Or rather, Jan Karon, author of The Mitford Series. The books are simply written yet dotted with profound quotations of the fictional characters, aka Father Tom. By the way, could I have an autographed copy of Geographica when it is published? I get enthralled reading your blogs. When I'm done reading, I'm sad the story is over. : ) Well, keep a-postin'. Prayers for you.

Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sars said...

How is driving a Chevy truck a difference from Santa Claus??? Duh, you don't think he travels the whole world in one night in a Ford do you?

Manda said...

Good morning, friend! I Hope your weekend was great...whatever your desired outcome of the Superbowl was. Any thoughts on jobs? You're loved! Manda

melissa said...

what a difficult situation, my friend. you could potentially be miserable under the authority of such a man, but think of the powerful witness you could be. and lest we not forget, these trials lead to perseverance, proven character, hope...the refining of your faith through the tests of fire such as this is absolutely priceless. not to mention, it's a wage :) these are my thoughts on the subject that is your prospective employment. thanks, as always, for writing. more fulfilling than tv, less fattening than chocolate.