Change amidst challenges is definitely the theme of the past two months, a whirlwind of what-do-I-do-now with the potential of peril.  Life is that way, at least it is for me.  Lately, it’s almost been necessary for me to wear a thick glove on my right hand, lest I scratch another hole in my head.

I’m right handed.  Most likely left brained (and I don’t know what that means).  I try to do my best to find the blessings amid the chaos, see God’s hand whenever I can, yet let the wails come out in private when the burdens seem to get too much.  The worries wash out with the tears most of the time.  Tears also take away the crud that keep me from being honest with myself and with God, and I welcome the tears that come because I often am able to make a decision when my soul is washed clean, when I am open to listen more to what God is trying to help me see.

I’m also melodramatic when I write.  If you continue to read on, you will see that it’s not that bad.  God has provided.  The blessings have prevailed.

One afternoon in June, my boss sauntered (actually, he shuffled.. that’s what he does) into my office, pulled up the little chair I keep in the corner in front of my desk so that he could lean on the front of my desk.  It was obvious what news he was about to impart, although the request was a bit outrageous, I suppose.  Dave is a pessimist, his cup always bitter, so he sees the dark side of a situation.  In the five years that I worked for him, he was always that way.  Our subsidiary office is having a bad year, the first since I started working for the company, and the first time we haven’t been the number one subsidiary globally.  I have heard Dave complain, moan, worry, fret all year about our numbers.  So, when he sat down in front of me, I had a good idea of the request he was going to make.

“Steve, it looks like we are only going to have enough cash to pay salaries until the end of July.  You are going to need to consider taking an unpaid furlough for the month of August.”

There was a lot more behind that request than Dave was letting on.  Ownership in Budapest thinks the Americans, especially yours truly, get paid too much.  They weren’t going to support us in our down year, and they were looking for a way to get me to accept at least a 20% pay cut.  Even better, ownership wanted me to be replaced with someone who would work for quite a bit less, travel and work as outside sales (odd, since I do perform that task and wear many more hats — and also because we have sales reps who sell for us).  But, well, in five years I also know how ownership thinks.  When I was offered Dave’s position last October, to be assumed in three years when he retires, the owner explained that he prefers to promote from within, said that he doesn’t have to pay someone as much when he does that (yes, he said basically that).

My reaction?  Updated my resume that evening, applied for several jobs right away.  My focus was on a job opportunity that a friend has been strongly encouraging me to consider.  It was that job opportunity that I accepted.  Today starts my second week with that company, a fresh new environment with a much larger company.  I get to learn new things in an industry different than I have been in the last thirty years — and I love it!

More to come.  It’s time to head down the street and clock in!