June 28, 2013

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Let God lead you to ‘opportunities from above’

Debra Tomaselli“Get out of the car and don’t return until you’ve knocked on every door in this building,” my mother instructed me as she parked beside a three-story office complex.

“This is dumb,” I said, yanking the car door open. “They probably don’t need to hire anyone!”

My complaint landed on deaf ears.

“I’ll be here waiting for you,” she said firmly. “Be sure to knock on every single door.”

My recent graduation pushed me toward employment. Although my dream was to work in an office, I dreaded the job search.

This was before the Internet days. You found jobs through classifieds, knocking on doors, completing applications and face-to-face interviews.

I cringed at the thought, bolstered by endless excuses: There weren’t any good jobs in the classifieds. I didn’t own a car yet. I didn’t have work experience. I didn’t know if I’d like the co-workers….

Finally, Mom, convinced I’d wrinkle and turn gray while napping on her couch, took charge. She made a plan: I’d dress for an interview, and she’d take me on a job search.

She claimed there were jobs available besides those in the classifieds. She knew where the nearby offices were. She would drive me there. When they saw my motivation, they’d waive the prior experience requirement. She knew they’d be a reputable business, and she knew the employees would be nice.

There was no escaping her plan.

I entered the building, breathed deeply, and opened the first door.

“I’m here to apply for a job,” I said.

“We don’t have any openings,” the receptionist said.

After this happened 15 times, I relaxed. I was right after all.

Somewhat smug, I advanced to the second floor. The elevator opened to the lobby of a large office.

“I’d like to apply for a job,” I said.

The receptionist handed me an application, which I completed. She disappeared, and returned with a question.

“Do you have time to take a test?”

“Sure,” I said.

I breezed through the quiz and, moments later, she announced a manager would like to interview me. I agreed, making myself comfortable.

“By the way,” I said, “what kind of an office is this?”

“Insurance,” she replied.

Aetna Insurance offered me a job that day and a career that lasted a lifetime.

I bought my first car while working for Aetna, moved to Florida with Kemper Insurance, then joined an insurance agency. When I married and had children, I left full-time work to create an independent, flexible schedule. I used my insurance skills to train employees, create continuing education programs and alleviate work overflows.

Years later, when I returned to full-time work in insurance, a wonderful job opportunity arose. It’s close to home. It’s a caring firm. I like my co-workers.

A lifetime ago, as I stepped out of my mom’s car, who could have guessed this opportunity awaited me? Looking back, I realize that moment was graced with divine direction.

As strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” fade in the distance, I wish the same for today’s graduates.

I pray they have eyes to view the opportunities from above, and the wisdom to see, as the years roll by, the Hand that is holding theirs.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at dtomaselli@cfl.rr.com.)

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