So I still seem to be struggling with articulating how I got to the point where I am now with my call. Or more importantly…how I realized my call. Its been such a long time that I’ve felt that the priesthood is my “calling” that I have in some ways forgotten how I got to this point.
Vocationally, I have always felt most fulfilled in my career when I’ve working in positions of service. I’ve had a few different jobs in my short career history. I’m going to touch on four of the significant ones (at least in terms of my vocational discernment).
First: (in chronological order)
My first longer term job during college was at LensCrafters in the lab manufacturing glasses. This job wasn’t difficult on an intellectual level…once I learned the processes, it was in fact pretty mechanical/repetitive. But I felt I was truely helping others to see, eventually learning more than just the manufacturing processes, but also many of the skills of an optician. I think perhaps this when I first began to understand the rewards of living a life of service to the community.
My second long term job during college was working at Symantec in the Order Processing department. This was an entry level job that I hoped would get me in the door to something in the tech support/desktop support/IT fields. I worked there for about 2.5 years. The last six months of this job was incredibely draining on both my physical psyche and spiritual self. I think a large part of this, was that I wasn’t able to see my career as doing anything to serve the community. Now I know that in a way I was serving the community and that in everything I do, I should be doing it in a spirit of humility and servitude. I just wasn’t seeing it.
By this time in my academic career, I had also moved on to a goal of going to seminary as opposed to getting a teaching certificate. Since my career at Symantec was stagnating, I decided to leave my job there and go back to school full time to finish my degree. That way I could finally get started on my goal of going to seminary.
After completing my final term at the UofO, I began to look for a full time job to support myself while I began the process towards heading to seminary. At first I looked mainly in Eugene, however eventually I had to expand my search to Portland, as I was having difficulty finding a job. Part of the problem during this job search was I knew what I wanted to do for a career, however I couldn’t do it yet, because there was still this process to complete. So in a way I was rudderless. I ended up getting a job as an “Admissions Advisor” for an online university. This was basically an inside sales job. I emphasize inside because while all our leads were supposably “warm,” many of them were actually requesting some other sort of information when they gave us their information. In our training we were told to find the “pain” of the person we were talking to and use that to help them complete an education and overcome that pain. For example, this was not long after a couple of hurricanes had struck Florida. In training we were told ways to overcome the potential students objections for reasons like “Well I don’t really have a computer because it and my house were destroyed during the hurricane.” Our reponse was supposed to be along the lines of; “Well what better time to return to school and complete your education while you are rebuilding other aspects of your life as well.”
In the end, I could not ascribe to the philosophy of the place I was working. I wasn’t comfortable exploiting the “pains” of the community for the benefit of my corporate bosses. I began to look for another job, eventually finding something with a temporary agency at a substantial paycut. This paycut was worth every penny in peace of mind however.
At my current job, I am a paralegal/office manager for a small local branch of a larger national law firm. Our firm practices in consumer bankruptcies. Once again I am in a position where I am serving the community. One of the things that I really enjoy about this job is the added benefit of some intellectual stimulation and being able to utilize my administrative skills (which I feel to be one of my better skill sets). For the first time in a long time, I am enjoying my job, despite it just being a job and not a vocation. More importantly, I am able to live my “priestly” vocation in my current job.