Friday, October 29, 2021

A job change engineered by God

"Answer that call." The impression was clear and surprising. As a software engineer, I have been used to being contacted by recruiters throughout my career. Software engineering has long been a hotspot in the job market.

Beginning last spring, I noticed a significant uptick in recruiters reaching out to me by phone, email, and LinkedIn. Turning down recruiters seemed like swatting away flies. My LinkedIn profile doesn't even show that I'm interested in looking for a different job.

Besides, I had a good job as a senior engineer at a growing logistics management firm. I was an influential member of a great team of professionals, some of whom were good friends. My work was highly valued. I had a lot of deep tribal knowledge. The pay was good and the benefits were decent. I was earning plenty of vacation time annually. I worked from my home office full time. I honestly told people that this was the best gig of my entire career. Why would I give that all up for something unsure?

Growing pains often accompany growing organizations, and so it was in this case. Over a period of less than a year, nearly the entire executive team had been replaced with executives hired from larger firms. Each came onboard wanting to quickly make their mark. The result was chaotic for my position, as various executives ordered immediate competing priority changes seemingly willy-nilly. But this alone would not have caused me to consider changing jobs. Growing pains tend ease over time.

Frankly, I had been sensing a need to consider a different challenge career-wise. I am getting along in my career. Too often I have seen seasoned workers slowly slide toward becoming living inventory as they rely on past accomplishments and look so longingly at retirement that they lose the drive to learn and do new things. Although I found challenge and reward in my work, I had been feeling a subtle itch to reach for the kind of challenge that can usually only be found through a job shift.

In recent years, recruiters have opted for email and LinkedIn messaging over phone calls. I usually screen recruiter phone calls and let them go to voicemail. When the phone rang showing an unrecognized number, I pressed the call screen button and watched to see if the caller would say anything. As the recruiter started talking, I sensed the unmistakable prompting to answer the call. I almost surprised myself by pressing the green answer button.

As I chatted amicably with the recruiter, I heard several things that normally would have caused me to conclude the call quickly, but I felt a deep inner calm signaling me to continue learning about the position being discussed. I also heard one thing that really made me pay attention: FamilySearch.

Like many family history enthusiasts, I have been an avid user of FamilySearch products for many years. An opportunity to work on software systems for products that I deeply believe in? I was all ears.

Later I would learn that the recruiter came upon my information in a very unusual manner. He also felt that he should call rather than reaching out via electronic message. That first discussion led to a series of interviews, all of which felt very natural and comfortable.

The entire process from first contact to confirming a job offer went so smoothly and quickly that it seemed uncanny to me. I have been around the block a few times and I know how these things usually go. The recruiter later confirmed that nothing ever works that smoothly in his line of work. Well, nothing except this job.

The whole time, I have felt very strongly that I have been guided to this position, almost as if all my past training and experience have been preparing me for this exact situation. I continue to feel that way now. Each time a new coworker has told me that I was divinely brought to this job, it has simply echoed something I have already known to be true.

The hardest part has been leaving my old job and coworkers behind. And yet, as I prayed about that, I felt strongly that this would actually work out best for that organization too. Frankly, it is humbling to be told by God that your workplace will be better off without you there. But it all felt good and right. A good friend at work was so distraught about my announced departure that he prayed about it and received a witness that it was the right thing for both me and the organization.

Jumping jobs at this point in life is not without its challenges. I am back to starting over on earning vacation and starting new insurance right when we had covered our deductibles for the year. Our home budget system has been thrown into a bit of disarray. Unlike working for a place where the home office was inaccessible on the other side of the country, I now live an hour and a half from the office, which is within range. Although I work from home full time, I find that I am commuting to the office once every two or three weeks.

I don't know what the future will bring. This is still the right thing for me to be doing right now. While my skill set meshes well with my new job and I am highly aware of FamilySearch products and offerings, I am still learning many new things. I am having to stretch. It isn't always comfortable, but it feels good and right.

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