The Tender Mercy of Employment
I had been unemployed since April. Looking for a job in the accounting field during the off season was not panning out. My family had just made a major move from Georgia to Utah and our finances were running dangerously low. The pressure of unemployment and the uncertainty of tomorrow were weighing down on me as I picked up the July Ensign and read the article titled “Way Beyond the Help-Wanted Ads.” As I read the article, I felt the Spirit prompting me to seek out the LDS employment resource center and see what they could do to help me. However, time passed and I forgot about the prompting.
Some time later, my wife wanted to go to Deseret Industries to look at furniture and things. We decided to make it a family adventure. While we were there, we noticed the LDS employment resource center and my prompting came back to the surface.
The next day I found myself talking with a pleasant sister missionary. She helped me fill out a Career Assessment Plan sheet and signed me up for a three-day career workshop that would help improve my job searching skills. During this time, my efforts to look for a job did not cease. These efforts included hours of research on the Internet, some cold contacting, and lots of networking. Nothing seemed to be paying off and it seemed there was no end in sight to my unemployment. A week before I started the career workshop, I spotted a bookkeeper position on providentliving.org. The posting was made just that day. I quickly went home, got dressed in professional attire, and zoomed over to the office with crisp résumés in hand.
The human resources director was nowhere to be found but I decided to wait and see if she would return. Eventually one of the billing managers returned with interesting news. She told me that she had not been able to find the director but that the chief financial officer would come out and talk with me. I had an informal interview with him. He took my résumé, reviewed it, asked me a few interview questions, and then sent me on my way with a request for a few references. He made no promises and I returned to the daily grind of searching for employment.
Later that week, I received a phone call from the company to set up another interview. This interview was the same day that the career workshop began. This was good because knowing I had an interview caused me to take the career workshop very seriously. I knew that everything I was learning would be put to use that same day in a live interview. At the career workshop, I learned the importance of researching the company, practicing interview questions, constructing a “Me in 30 seconds” statement, and more.
Elder and Sister Asay, the missionary couple teaching the class, took personal interest in each of us. They were available to answer our questions and concerns and were excited about the new developments in our job searches. After the first day of the workshop, I went to my interview wearing a white shirt and tie, and feeling a bit more confident because of the advice Sister Asay gave me. The interview went pretty well but none of the questions in the interview triggered my “Me in 30 seconds” statement. In fact, all the questions were new to me. On the other hand, I did impress the interviewer by coming prepared with questions and by sending the interviewer a thank you note afterward. I learned these important things in the course. Again, the company made no promises but I felt good about the interview. I returned to the second day of the career workshop the next morning. Elder and Sister Asay, along with Elder and Sister Whitaker, were interested to find out how the interview went. I filled everyone in and they seemed hopeful for me. At the end of that day’s class I sought the experienced advice of the Asays. I wanted to know if I should follow up that day and if so, how I should do it.
They advised me to wait a couple of days and then follow up. When I checked my voicemail after class, the company had already followed up with me. They wanted me to come in for a second interview. The trouble was that this second interview was in a week and the owner of the company would be in attendance. Upon completing the career workshop, the Asays and the Whitakers requested that I come back to let them know how the next interview turned out. I promised them that I would give them a full report.
In the meantime, I started to prepare for the interview. I used the computers at the employment resource center to do some heavy research about the company and its owner. I also used one of the handouts the Asays gave me to practice answering interview questions.
When the big day came, I had practiced all the interview questions in the handout, I knew a great deal about the company, and I had a number of questions prepared. I even brought three thank you notes with me to the interview because I wasn’t sure how many I would need.
I arrived at the interview 10 minutes early. After a brief wait, I was greeted and led into the owner’s office. I was interviewed by three people: the owner, the vice president of billing, and the vice president of synergy. The first question was, “So tell us about yourself, why you chose this company, and what you can do for our company.”
Almost every question they asked was either one from Elder and Sister Asay’s handout or was close enough that I could use what I had practiced to answer the questions. At one point in the interview, one of the interviewers asked me if I had practiced. “Your answers are so polished,” he said. When the interview ended, I went downstairs and wrote a thank you note for each of the three interviewers. At the conclusion of the interview, the owner had said they would not get back to me for a week or two. After sending the thank you notes, I received a phone call and an official offer in less than 48 hours. I started working for the company the following Monday. After working there for a time, I was promoted to a leadership position and received a raise.
It is clear to me that the Lord has been with me through this whole process. He guided me to the employment center and the missionaries there prepared me for success. I attribute this all to the tender mercies of the Lord and the helpful tips I received from the employment center.