I'm going to be completely transparent with you: despite having a great GPA, choosing a great field, and being this close ( || ) to finishing my PhD, the job search is not going very well. Or at least, that's how I feel most days. I'm not quite type A, but I have type A tendencies, and not having a solid plan for the future is one thing that bugs me. My plan was to secure a job during the winter. I'm a little more than 3 months away from graduation and I have no idea what's going to happen next... That's way out of my comfort zone.
Anytime you have to step out of your comfort zone, you can be sure both God and the devil are somewhere nearby arguing about how you're going to handle it. I can hear the conversation between them now. I imagine that the devil has accused God of ordering my steps perfectly over the past 28 years—an accusation that is true. Everything has always fallen in place perfectly, and that's definitely not my doing. Like with Job, the devil seeks to prove that if we feel abandoned or that God has withdrawn His blessings, we will run for the hills.
One of Job's friends, Elihu, tells Job that God has been trying to speak to him all along. Elihu suggests that Job was too stubborn and angry to hear God's call. As I've been on this job search, I've been trying my hardest not to get to that point. Last week, after a disheartening conversation with a potential employer, I received an invitation to interview with another potential employer. I was stoked! Things were looking up, and I figured this was the opportunity God had for me. Until, they forgot to send me the information on scheduling my travel. I called, I left messages, and no one responded. The day before the interview was supposed to take place, and the day of, I felt pretty low. I felt like a failure and it seemed like even though I'd done all this work to pursue my dreams, I'd still turn out to be 50 years old working at Walmart and living in my parents house. What was I doing wrong?
And then the internet connection holding together my last experiment for my dissertation dropped. I've been using a hotspot to power my wireless system for over a year. Since hotspots were not designed to be used that way, it's a little cranky now. Every once and a while, it decides it just doesn't want to work and disconnects itself from the cellular network. I have to manually reset it, and sometimes restart it. After restarting it, the base station sometimes doesn't want to connect, so then I have to coax it into re-establishing the connection. If I gone to the interview and hadn't been there to do this, it would have messed up my experiment. Although the data saves itself until it can be transmitted, the final phase of the experiment hinges on the real-time application of the data. If the data isn't being transmitted, due to lack of WiFi connection, it isn't real-time and I can't make any claims about my device. Continuing the data collection for another week wouldn't be a viable option because I will be at a conference the entire week, and the following week, the students are out of school.
The devil wasn't trying to block an opportunity for me, God was making sure I don't miss my opportunity to graduate! I know first hand just how hard it can be to slow down and let God do what He does. We want to feel in control of our lives, and when we don't, it's hard to trust God to do what's best for us. When everything was said and done, not only did that company call to apologize and reschedule, another opportunity appeared. It's obvious to me that God is moving behind the scenes to set up the path in which he wishes me to go. I just have be patient and listen for His direction.