The Interview

Kansas City was a season of God withholding what my heart desired and granting what my heart needed. It was a season of intense struggle for me but was a season of intense glory to Him when He led me out of the valley. This is the story of climbing up to the next rise to see a glimpse of His promised land.

My job had been deteriorating for a year, or maybe even two. I was traveling almost continuously to Baton Rouge Louisiana or Freeport/Houston Texas and the people I was working with and for were becoming less and less appropriate. The gore-y details don’t add enough to this story so I’m not going to share them here but by the time I left, 4 hours didn’t pass at work without someone cussing me out or telling me I wasn’t good enough (as a person, as a female, as someone who is under 30 years old, as an engineer) to be in the position I was in or getting blamed for something I didn’t do.

God provided me a new job. He orchestrated long ago, for my Dad to be in the same industry as me, and for him to have mentors and friends. Those mentors and friends caught wind of my situation and offered an interview.

The night before my interview, I was driving around Baton Rouge trying to figure out a part of town that I could see myself living in if I liked the job the next day. I was balling – tears streaming down my face – as I cried out to God that I didn’t have any friends in Baton Rouge and I have wonderful community (finally!) in Kansas City so why would I want to leave? And why don’t I quit construction all together because I didn’t believe that men in construction could be inclusive of a woman like me.

Fast forward to a breakfast meeting that lasted almost 6 hours where I struggled to comprehend that men in power in the construction industry were patiently listening to my opinion on the current state of affairs in our business. They wanted to know what I thought about how to run a project, how to leverage technology to produce faster results, how I could teach others my leadership skills, if I would be alright moving across the country for a job in a different culture, if they would be able to afford my salary to even hire me in the first place.

Lunchtime meant introducing me to another female engineer – the lead process engineer on the largest company project, also under 30 years old, and from Texas with a family full of Aggies (she’s a LSU grad but I won’t hold that against her). She and I were able to talk like we’d been friends for years. God was showing me to trust Him and He will provide me with new community.

I wanted to work for a company affiliated with CII (construction industry institute) because I hold a couple of leadership positions within this volunteer organization to help further the construction industry and didn’t want to walk away quite yet. I also felt obligated to finish the project I was currently working on at my old job regardless of how I was being treated, I was speaking at a national convention on behalf of my previous company, and one of my best friends was getting married in Jamaica in August so I needed a little time to finish everything up from Kansas City. In His generosity, God provided a slow down in the project at the new company so my timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I was able to “finish” everything prior to turning in my two weeks notice.

Months later – I look back at my time in Kansas City and I still miss my community and church family. I wish it was colder here in Baton Rouge. but my job has already afforded me tremendous opportunity both for my career and for space in my personal life. I am still excited to see what God is doing with me here.

Commuter

Today was supposed to be a quick jont over to St. Louis for a meeting. A single meeting.

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Hazelnut Latte (and Jesus) helped me thru the day!!

It turned into 5.5 hours in airports, 4 hours on airplanes, 3 hours in meetings, and 1 hour at the most delicious California-burger-making restaurant in Illinois! I seriously wish I could have taken a picture of the burger but I was at work with two of my vendors and my project manager so no dice.

This vendor is my problem child. Not the problem child that is so smart you have to out think him, the problem child that you can’t get to stop starting off into space long enough for them to remember their own name. I travel across the country to see them almost weekly. I’ve been at this since February and quite frankly I’m sick of it.

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Steel that has taken 9 months to fabricate…

I get frustrated talking to them on the phone recently. I think they are part of my unwillingness to go into the office unless I absolutely have too (event tho I’m still answering my phone and emails from my couch). About three days ago I decided I would finally invite God into the situation (it sounds so dumb, but that’s not my initial reaction with work situations. It is when I want something or if nature is being beautiful but not when I’m working construction. I’m building something. I’m creating. And therefore taking the spot from The Creator).

I’ve been praying for God to hold my tongue and tone. I’ve been praying for this one day meeting to go well for days. Literally days. God is so good. The meeting was fairly typical as far as missed deliverables, schedule that is bogus, change orders I don’t want to pay, and rude comments about women and youth but the difference was my attitude. I was laughing. And that brought more confusion and progress than anything else I’ve done in 8 months.

The Fall brought labor pains and work that involves toil. This is toil. And it is designed to bring me closer to God. He alone can redeem. He is slowly redeeming my relationship with this vendor. It’s probably not going to be great but I can be great at being a Christian sister to them (with God’s help).

My project manager and reporting supervisor were in St.Louis with me which meant our 2 hour delay inside the airport came with chips and spinach dip…

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…and whiskey-sprite 🙂

This massive storms in Kansas City this afternoon mean that I got to meet some interesting people on my southwest flights. On my last flight Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sat across the aisle and a row back.

It was interesting to be stuck on a plane with her for 5 hours. She spoke to almost no one, wasn’t friendly, and was generally put-out by having to be on the plane. It must be hard when you’re used to White House accomodations and spending my tax-dollars.

People’s reactions to delayed flights fascinate me. Some people have hope. Some people are angry. Some people give up. Some people sleep. Last night, I prayed. I prayed that God would bless me with a good attitude. All 137 passengers and 8 crew members were tired and didn’t want to be sitting on the runway for 3 hours but I wanted to be nice to everyone I was coming into contact with. No one asked me if I was a Christian or not. No one really asked me too much. But a more positive attitude made sitting on the tarmac a much less miserable experience.

I have to say, my good attitude quit on me when I walked into the door close to midnight to a hot house with no power and no desire to cook food by flashlight. Thankfully I could find my bed in the dark…

Construction Photos

http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2013/07/expansive-photos-of-the-worlds-most-sophisticated-suspension-bridge/#slideid-25761

I don’t work on bridges. I’m not a photographer. But I do work construction and I do take pictures. This guy is pretty awesome! Check out the article linked at the top. Although it would be slightly annoying to have a photographer following you around the jobsite, the extraordinary photos you would have at the end would be well worth the additional safety measures you would have to take.