Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Musings of an "At Will" Employee

As a part-time college instructor, I am an "at will" employee. My contract isn't created and signed until after first week of each college semester when the powers that be are sure enough students have remained enrolled in the class so it will make money. I can be terminated, non-renewed, or just plain forgotten for any reason or no reason at all.

In the strictest sense, I have no job security. And yet, this type of "career" has been a blessing since 2006 when I obeyed God's voice telling me to stay home once I had children. Since that time, I have never lacked "enough" classes to teach. In fact, there have been many semesters when I've had to turn down classes because I know I can only grade so many papers each night after my brood goes to bed.

Come this past August, though, I hit my first bump in the road. I was scheduled to teach my normal load of six classes. Yet, a few days before the term started, I learned two of my classes had failed to "make," casualties of our continued slumping economy.

With only four classes to teach, I felt like a failure, not bringing in my fair share to the household's pot. I wondered how my husband and I would deal with my pay-cut on top of his already decreased salary because of his own employer's economy-driven business woes.

I cried. I asked God to just "fix it," to make openings where there were none. During the first week of school, I tried everything in my power to drum up extra classes at other institutions, but as expected, it was too late for this fall.

God was giving me rest, like it or not.

He was reminding me that yes, I am an "at will" employee--but at His will.

Two months later, I've relished in evenings crocheting in front of a good movie, in solid hours where my attention was more focused on my Bible studies, and in a little more time spent with my husband. It's been wonderful.

In the midst of my rest, God sent a small editing job. A lot of work for not much money--I decided to just say no. But, while typing a rejection email, I clicked cancel, sensing that I needed to do the work. Halfway through the project, the hair on my arms raised in eerie awareness that in the dissertation was an answer as to why a full-time online teaching position fell through for me a couple years ago. It was an answer I had never asked for; yet, God provided it anyway.

Now it seems God has opened yet another door, establishing a casual acquaintance years ago as the head of the English Department at another college. It seems my Spring semester will be much busier than this Fall, a busy-ness that, ironically, I'm not looking forward to even though I went kicking and screaming into a semester with less work.

Blessings in a Pay Cut. Just one of those contradictions found in God's economy.


  1. Awesome God!! Praising Him for that blessing for you. And encouraged that He can handle my financial situation as well.

  2. Dear Jennifer,
    How wonderful God is, has been, and always will, to you.... He is just the perfect One who orchestrates every event in our lives.

    Yes He is the source, even if channels of provision may dry up, other doors will soon be opened.

    Praising God with you,

  3. Jennifer, I know you will blossom wherever you're planted. It's a God thing. In quiet confidence you will continue your walk on the path of life, blessing all those within your reach. Ah, I'm waxing poetic today. Don't know why...