Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Big Announcement - part 3

As previously mentioned, my gig as a recruiter was short lived. It seems that in the short time I was there, changes occurred frequently. I think I just got dizzy. I returned to waiting tables for a while, which ironically God-indicentally connected me to my husband. There is always a reason. Always. The providence of God is an amazing thing.

Soon I became a temp employee at a local hospital where I worked for an Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon. He never said 2 nice words to me, but the job was fine. I liked my co-workers. One of them fasted every Wednesday and always talked about Jesus. I wasn't a big listener back then, but I know now that Fran wanted me to know Him. After many months of being a temp employee, a full-time position opened up and I was offered the job. I accepted, and then over that weekend something changed and I was notified that next week that not only had they not been approved for a full-time employee in that role, but they were no longer afforded the temp position, and so I was immediately let go. It was hard to be let go from that job especially since I wanted "it" and they wanted "me". The truth is, I would have likely stayed in that job forever. It would have helped pay for Spencer's college because of the affiliation with Vanderbilt, great benefits, great location, and the constant challenge of working for a turd. Wait...did I type that? Sorry.

I left there feeling hopeless and empty. I was a single mom and had to find something FAST. Immediately an attorney hired me to replace his legal assistant. Two days before I was to begin that job, the legal assistant decided not to move out of town with her boyfriend after all and so she was given her job back. I didn't even get to start. Thankfully, I had been on several interviews already and within a short period, I got a call back from a prestigious Financial Institution in downtown Nashville. It was very high brow. Marble floors, a pantyhose requirement, a front-office staff with permanent frowns. It worried me. I didn't have the clothes. I didn't have the pantyhose. I didn't know how to walk in heels on marble floors. But I learned a few things as a recruiter and those gems got me the job. During my interview with the man who would eventually hire me, we went through the list of general questions posed in most every interview. When he finished interviewing me, I said...."ok Bob, so here are the answers to the questions that are illegal for you to ask me.". I explained that I was a single-mom to a 10-year old son and that he would never hire a harder worker than me. He grinned from ear to ear, folded up the file with my resume and marched me to the president's office for a quick introduction. I started the following week.

My first role was in Wealth Management where I prepared retirement plans for our brokers across the country, for their clients. The brokers were my clients. I LOVED it! We were purchased by another firm and I was switched around to the Trust Department. I took several training classes in Phoenix, AZ and I earned some professional licenses pertaining to the financial industry and eventually assisted in the management of trusts and estates. It was hard. It was fascinating. It was rewarding and mostly it was eye-opening. I stayed with this company for 3 years, through another merger, and then I left voluntarily for what boiled down to some heavy ill feelings toward some of my co-workers. Two of them were having an affair (both were married). I was expected to accept this and look away. That was pretty disgusting. My boss was on cloud 9 one day and barking from the pits of hell the next. Another superior sat on a mighty high horse and treated me like the scum beneath the mud puddle. I loved the job but couldn't bear the politics. I left. But I left with the incredible knowledge that in the vast majority of lives I witnessed, money creates monsters. Greed destroys families. Climbing ladders can result in fatal falls.

I left that job with a deep pain in my heart. I was just getting started. What would I do next? These paths seemed to have some dramatic starts and stops. Couldn't God just lead me to the perfect career? be continued......

1 comment:

Pete Ahlstrom said...

Ok, Melissa, you have our interest hooked pretty hard. We'll keep watching. At least we're glad to know you're NOT quitting real estate, getting a divorce, or moving to Africa. And that you won't be challenging a Fox news anchor to a "Boob War" like the one I saw in Fox's early days (which, with a few other things, definitely helped firm up my opinion of Fox). We'll stay tuned for the rest of yours.

Parts of what you've said are so parallel to my story I'm tempted to slip in the story of how I got into aerospace/defense work. (Just God). It's a big long, so if it gets boring, just quit. OK? .

In 1980, the pianist of our small San Diego church told me her company had an opening requiring a library degree. I had that degree, and applied. The interviewer, who'd be my boss, asked what I knew about Configuration Management. I thought for a moment, then replied truthfully "I THINK I've heard of it."

Not an impressive answer! But he took a moment to look me up and down thouroughly. Then he said "You can learn it."

That simply, I was hired to manage a library of confidential and secret documents on a submarine electronic warfare program.

A year later the Navy took over our
contract. We all needed new jobs. And one young woman who worked with me said "Pete, my mother works for CSC (our company) at Kennedy Space Center. Give me your resume, I'll mail it to her, and she can take it in to her boss." I did, they did, and first thing I knew we were flying there, with my wife 8 months pregrant.

There I spent two unforgettable years, working with the engineers, technicians, managers, and astronauts who tested, fixed, and flew the earliest Space Shuttles.

It was an entirely new field. I helped schedule Firing Room computers and software for tests and launches, went to meetings at most of KSC's far-flung facilities; attended Change Review Board meetings, and supervised the tape and documentation library that supervised the Firing Rooms.

In the course of that job I stood atop Launch Pad 39A's tower, visited the electronics rooms buried beneath it, worked inside a Mobile Launch Platform, stood beneatm the orbiter Columbia in its servicing bay; watched Challenger and Discovery arrive at KSC; and sat in the "Flow" meetings that prepared Challenger for its first successful launch. I heard the "Call to stations" that began each countdown, and chatted with astronauts in cafeteria lines, hallways, and men's rooms. I watched Shuttles being mated with their solid rocket boosters and external tanks, transported to Pad 39A, and launched.

The story moves on to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, then back to Orlando. But this seems like a good stoppping place for now.

Looking forward to more of yours.

Best wishes, Pete A. and family