Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stayin' Put or Movin' On Up?

Some friends and family may vaguely remember my feeble attempts at explaining my job when I first started at the company just over three years ago. It admittedly took me at least six months to come up with a semi-coherent summary sentence describing what Summit does, and even then, I was never confident about the garbled words coming out of my mouth. (And garbled they were!) I completely understand, especially now looking back, why I was received with the awkward smile and nod by those to whom I really did try explaining my job. It was just really difficult to explain to people, especially with my little to nonexistent knowledge of anything related to energy or the business world. Not to mention how my job even remotely related to my college degree and masters program...

If you're just tuning in, I work for an energy management company. Summit contracts with clients for the purpose of managing their electric power and natural gas usage to ensure that they are receiving the best for their buck. Now, these aren't residential clients with whom we contract, but rather companies that have large industrial sites that spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on their energy usage. For every unit of energy used there is a unit cost: multiply those and you get the total cost. (That is a very dumbed down explanation, but again, my explanation is a work in progress.) Imagine how effective the service of researching rates can be in saving such clients a significant amount of money in their overall spend. While Summit doesn't necessarily promise dollar savings, there is a whole gamut of services provided to the clients that. Not only do we contract with clients here in the U.S., but we have in the last year or two expanded to clients in other countries. Such growth is exciting and good for the company, but also understandably comes with its fair share of challenges.

So what do I, a seminary student with a church ministry undergraduate degree who prayed to pass any math or business classes I took in school, actually do at such a company?? Well, after spending the first two years in data management departments ("paper pushing" and glorified auditing of invoices), I have been on the new client team since February 2007. My team of four serves as the messengers between the client managers and our internal departments. We ensure that any new clients are correctly and completely entered into our computer system. We receive the data from the client via their assigned client manager, whether invoices or contracts, take it to the necessary departments for their expertise, and ultimately notify the client manager when their client has been completely setup in our system. What are helpful personality traits for the kind of position I am in? A people person who is able to communicate clearly and positively, someone with exceptional attention to detail, ability to multi-task, and pristine organization. Hmm...yeah, I would say the position I'm in is a pretty good fit (as long as you don't try to compare my work organization with my home organization!!). Now if only you could be a fly on the wall and see me attempt to apply all of these to a phone conversation with client manager who lives in Belgium but is originally from France, you might be in for some real entertainment!

I can look back on the past couple of years and clearly see the ways in which I have grown both individually and in how I relate to and work with others (I don't studder as much). My convictions have been sharpened when it comes to my role as a witness right in the middle of comfortable, middle America, and I have become increasingly more thankful for the ways in which the Lord has clearly provided by means of this particular job. After almost two years of being in this position, I am still always open for any opportunity for continued growth, which is why I applied last week for a position in a different department at Summit. I did not apply out of any negative feelings for my current job or co-workers, but simply for the opportunity to dive deeper into the actual services that Summit performs for our clients. The analyst position is a much more concentrated responsibility, one in which the individual becomes the "expert in residence" for whichever market he or she is assigned. I was eager to apply for the position as I could see the ways in which I had potentially been prepared for this kind of a move. The interview took place last Thursday, and I still had not received word when the weekend arrived. And then I didn't receive word on Monday. And then on Tuesday. Finally, after that many days of waiting anxiously (but honestly trying not to be anxious), I received the phone call late this afternoon. I timidly entered the regional manager's office and he proceeded to tell me the simple reasons for why I would not be the ideal candidate for this position. Everything he said was completely understandable, and I walked out feeling confident in the level of his honesty with me, but also encouraged by the positive things he told me about my career thus far at Summit.

So with a potential move up in the company (this move would have been a promotion of sorts), I spent the better part of the past several days asking myself "x-ray" questions, analyzing my heart and motives and dealing with the possibility of not being selected for the position. Regardless of whether or not I was offered the job, am I thankful for where I am at right now? What would such a transition solve, if anything, in my life right now? Would the increase in salary be worth it? Am I prepared for "no," or am I consumed with any self-centered notion that I had better be the one offered that job? Such were some of the questions I was flipping through as I prepared myself for the conversation that occurred today. When I arrived home after work, my husband obviously asked whether or not I had been offered the position since we have been waiting for this all week. He asked if I was alright with the decision they made, or if I was disappointed, and in all honesty...I was able to take a very refreshing breath and tell him that I am honestly completely at peace with the outcome. I have no reason at this point in my life to be disappointed because I have been given much more than I could have ever asked for or anticipated. The Lord has continually provided, and will only continue to do so in the ways He deems best. I couldn't ask for more...

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. ~Psalm 147:10-11

1 comment:

jennypen said...

Ahh, your contentment is a refreshing reminder.

Love to know what's going on with you. :-)