The unlikely way I got my unlikely job

Sometimes we have expectations for things to happen in our lives, and they look good. It’ll feel like you’ve snuck a glimpse into God’s plans for you and it seems that way because it looks so good. It makes sense and it’ll set so many things right. But then it doesn’t happen, and you have to accept that. And the thing you’ve got to hold on to for hope is the idea that sometimes, as good as our expectations can be, when they don’t come true, it’s because God’s got something even better for you.

It’s a nice belief and everything, and it sounds pretty good, but when you’re in the moment of letdown, it’s not an easy thing at all to believe. Think of it, one of the crappiest feelings ever is letdown. And when you’re in the moment of going through that, it’s tough to believe that there really is something better planned for you. It’s far easier to just take a position of complacency and fester in the idea that life just sucks for you. Sometimes self-pity can be addicting.

But that’s where hope kicks in. Things get better. And hanging on to that belief can be hard work sometimes. Hope’s not always easy. But it’s worth it. It keeps you hanging in there long enough to find that better thing that waits for you beyond the letdown.

I’ve been having this belief reinforced so much in my life lately. I keep running into letdown only to realize I was only being kept for something better. You’d think that after having gone through it so much, I’d know better, that I’d have full confidence that hope isn’t crazy. That whenever you lose out on something, it’s so that you can be part of something better. That wasn’t the case, though. Although I’m better at telling myself over and over that it’s true and I’ve experienced it over and over again, it’s still a tough thing to really embrace when a letdown hits. It suddenly seems like an empty cliche and a cheap comfort message that you can see right through.

I was in that spot once again. The other week, I found out I didn’t get a job I had been hoping for quite a bit. It seemed like the perfect job. It would have involved advising people on long term time spent abroad- a topic I would talk about for hours on end for free anyways. Also, this job would be on campus, and a work week would be about ten hours, so that would give me with the right amount of hours I would like so I could make enough money but still have enough time available for all my other commitments.

I didn’t get the job. I felt fairly sure I would, although looking back on it, I think I may have overestimated myself. It was a job that only went to six people out of hundreds of applicants. I figured having lived for extended amounts of time on two different continents, speaking three languages, and having diverse travel experiences would’ve sealed the deal. But I didn’t get it.

I figured I would need to go on a job hunt since that didn’t work out, so I set out on Monday. The first place I checked did all their hiring the week prior. Same with the second. The third place took an application, but said they routinely pick from a very large stack that made it seem unlikely for me to ever get chosen. It looked like I missed the entirety of the hiring season.

That was what happened to me last time, and I ended up not being able to work this summer. If you don’t apply at the right time, the job hunt can be pretty futile. It looked like this was happening again. I not only missed out on the job I wanted, but I was missing out on any job at all.

All that was happening, only because something better was waiting for me. Tough to believe, but I chose to believe it- even if believing felt forced.

And so, out of desperation almost, I wondered where on campus I could apply that I hadn’t already. And the Koegel Autism Center, which I pass by all the time but never pay a second’s thought came into mind. I was already standing nearby, so I walked over to see if they had any jobs. I didn’t expect them to, really. I just figured it would be worth it to check.

The girl at the reception desk asked for my status as a student, and when I said Undergrad, she told me they just had research assistant positions that I could take for class credit. Not what I needed, but I thanked her and took an application for that just to humor her. “For future reference,” I said before turning away, “are there any jobs for graduates?” She informed me that there were, which led me to explain that I finished all the requirements for one of my majors, which I suppose made me a graduate to some degree.

A lady nearby overheard my persistence, introduced herself as Lynn, and directed the desk attendant to give me an application for a paid internship. “We need men,” she explained.

When I got home, I discovered that the only Lynn at the Koegel Autism Center was Lynn Koegel. I filled out the app, and in doing so I realized that this was a real job that was beyond what I was expecting. I felt unsure about my qualifications, although I was willing to learn and do the work expected of me.

I walked in on Monday. I returned the application on Tuesday. I got a phone call on Wednesday asking if I could come in the next day. I had my first day on Thursday.

It’s coming full circle and I’m realizing how thankful I am to have this job. This job helps me put one foot in the “real world.” I’ll be doing the rewarding work of working with kids with autism, and I’ll get to see them make progress and be a part of that progress. I’ll earn valuable experience with a respectable research center. I’ll earn references. I’ll be able to do all this, receive sufficient pay, and still have plenty of time for school and all the other crazy things I get myself into. All in all, it seems like a good deal.

And I never would’ve gotten to do this if I got that first job. And to be honest, I’d much rather be working for the Autism center than as a travel advisor. I never would’ve gotten this job if I wasn’t driven to the Autism Center by desperation. I’m glad the first place I checked didn’t hire me. I would be washing dishes instead of doing this.

Sometimes, hope is a hard thing to hold on to. When things fell apart, I kept thinking, well, maybe I set my sights too high. Maybe I should learn how to settle for less. But believing that you have something even better in store is a belief worth keeping. Letdowns are more often than not just deferrals of the things we hope for. In the long run, they’re upgrades. Better things are coming.

Philippe Lazaro2011