I spent about a year and a half working in the car business.When I say working, what I really mean is hanging around a car lot hoping that you are the first person to talk to the next nice family that pulls in. I moved to a new company towards the end thinking that it would be a little easier on the family, finances and schedule. That didn't really happen and just about that time I also started to see things in a different perspective. The tricky thing about the car business, and really almost all commisioned sales jobs for that matter, is the inconsistent manner of the paychecks. I had some pretty successful moments financially, but it was spotty at best. Paying bills is pretty hard to pull off when you sometimes make $300 in a week and then once every so often you pull in a big-boy check. It felt like we were always playing catch up.
I grew up as a fiercely loyal customer of US Bank as my mom has worked for the company for as long as I can remember. Over the years, my sister, old girlfriends, step-sister and friends in school had put in their time in a teller window. My sister started in as a trainer with the company after putting in 4 years at another bank working her way up.
I remember the day that Summer called me and told me about an opening at the bank. At first I wasn't really excited about the idea. I just really couldn't picture myself working for a bank. There was also the issue of the money. If you looked at the year-end total from selling cars, it didn't look too bad. The reality of the week-to-week was terrible. the bank job would be considerably less overall, but consistent every two weeks. It took me a while to make the call, but I did and it was an amazing turning point for me.
I dove into my new job and found myself actually enjoying the work. That was a pretty novel concept for me. It wasn't really the job or the environment, but the culmination of all the conversations and the weird work experiences that made the difference. In my bank career, I've had great success and have felt real purpose.
Over the past 5 years, I've had the chance to focus on people development, coaching, sales and a whole bunch of other parts that are specific to banking. Although it is a work and a corporate environment, there are so many lessons and areas that I've been challenged in that I could never have expected. I've changed so much and the clearest evidence for me is the attitude that I've seen in my wife. She has always followed my lead, but it is pretty amazing to be in a place where I'm leading and working in a way that is worthy of being followed.
Recently I've realized that all of this stuff kind of works in cycles...but it is more like a spiral. You start at the middle and although you are going to go through similar challenges, the view is broader the next time around and if you are paying attention you can see how the last time you dealt with this stuff you saw less of the whole picture. All that being said, I've found that I still struggle with the idea of work. The difference is that I've been there before and know what it looks like. I know the excuses my heart comes up with to keep me distracted from what really matters. I can see that right now there are a couple of big themes that are colliding in my life; that success or non-success at work can easily become my identity and how I feel and commit to work has a huge impact on how I lead my family and ultimately present them to the world and to God.
I've thrown out a prayer request a few times in the past few weeks asking for perspective and that seems to be selfless and noble , but a friend recently said that he was praying for me "for Faith, Trust and a peaceful spirit". Praying for those things has brought me the perspective that is needed. Faith that provision will come. Trust that it will be exactly what I need and that peaceful spirit that I really need but is out of the ordinary for me.
At least I kind of know what is going on this time around!