The Best Laid Plans

My life has been a twenty-two year long journey that many would say has been incredibly lucky. From the family that I have the privilege of being a part of, to my experiences in college, there have been an incredible amount of coincidences that are difficult to pin on the arbitrary force of luck

Even when thinking back on the circumstances leading up to my ancestors coming to the U.S. and their individual stories about how they came to believe in God, it’s hard to believe that an orphan who became a general, a pharmacist who had everything stripped away by communists, a grandfather who learned four different languages, and parents who overcame language barriers and incredible odds are those who paved the way for me.

I recently graduated from the University of California Irvine and my four years there have been nothing short of a daily reminder of how I can do everything in my power to succeed, but that God gives every good and perfect gift and that believing that my success is due to luck is more foolish than realizing that some divine being is orchestrating the circumstances that surround my life. 

My first job was at a fast food restaurant called El Pollo Loco. I was just about to be a senior in high school and my parents told me that I needed to get a job to better understand the value of money. Of maybe the twenty places I turned in my sad resume to, no one gave me the time of day. And then this hiring lady at El Pollo Loco sat down with me and asked me if I played video games. The conversation then centered upon what game she should get her daughter for her birthday and then she gave me the job as a cashier. I worked my butt off at that job. Many days it was the farthest thing from glorious. I would pack tortillas for hours and deal with entitled and rude customers all day long. But my hard work paid off and pretty soon I was running that drive through like a pro.

I started looking for my second job almost three years later as I was attempting to make up for my weak GPA. If I thought the previous job wasn’t glorious, well I was in for a pretty big surprise for this job. I was a sales representative for a startup company called Vivint. After making sure that it wasn’t a pyramid scheme that was out to jip people I began to learn the ropes of sales. As difficult as it was, this job really stretched me and taught me many skills that I still use. From finding the value of a product, maintaining eye contact, and putting yourself out there this job taught me some really important lessons about how far I’m willing to go to sell something. However, just like the previous job, I was underqualified and felt like I bombed the interview. I made the least at this job, but I probably learned the most.

My third job I only got because my girlfriend’s father was looking out for me and told his friend that was well networked that I needed a summer job. All of a sudden I was being interviewed for a marketing intern position at a company owned by a retired major general that specialized in financial instruments. Coincidentally, they wouldn’t have found me a good fit if I didn’t have previous sales experience. So basically, the opportunity was placed in my lap and the experience I needed for the job I only had because I struggled through the previous sales job.

My fourth job was found from a place of desparation. I needed income to pay off my car bills and my rent. No one was hiring at the beginning of the academic year, and it was hard to find a  job that could flex to my school schedule. It was week zero and I saw that Chick-Fil-A in UTC was about to open in a few weeks so I applied online. Apparently, that store received a ridiculous amount of applications during that week as well. The very next week after I got a haircut, I had two hours before my next class and I saw this booth in front of the “under-construction” Chick-fil-a where I started a conversation with a guy named Kyle about their hiring situation. I communicated that I was looking for a job and that I had turned in my application the previous week and I asked if there was anything that I could do to set myself apart. He interviewed me on the spot, told me he couldn’t make the hiring decision, and sent me up to the operator (mind you I was dressed in shorts and a v-neck). As I sat in the waiting room watching all the business formal dressed candidates walk into the room, I thought about how there was no way I was presentable enough to get this job. I talked with Craig the operator and what do you know…. the El Pollo Loco job that I thought would never help me proved of some use. We joked around in the interview and he told me he would get back to me within the week. Two hours later he called me and offered me the job at Chick-fil-a. I have a lot to say about the service industry and Chick-fil-a but we’ll save that for another day. 

It’s graduation day, I have officially been out of school for eleven weeks, but I haven’t really done any job searching. The uncertainty of the future has paralyzed me. I don’t like not knowing what I’m doing next, and I am conflicted about whether or not I should pursue what is feasible and sustainable or what I am  passionate about. As I sit next to my friend who I had just spoken to a few weeks ago about the uncertainty of the future, I realize that this is the end of my super structured academic career. I had no idea what to do come September when it was time to move back to San Diego.

Just a week prior, I had gone over to a family’s house for dinner. This family along with two other families had volunteered to host college students twice a month at their house for dinner and conversation. My college pastor had connected me with them two years prior and we had fostered this relationship since then. Now if you know me, I have serious issues with getting to places on time. It’s something that I’m working on. But for some reason… this day I was early. In fact my roommate and I were the first to arrive and upon arriving the host mom asked me if myself or anyone I knew was interested in real estate, specifically real estate involving multipexes. Coincidentally my parents and I had talked about this a couple of months prior and since I couldn’t get my foot in the door anywhere I was going to take some community college classes regarding real estate when I got the time. 

Ten  days after I offcially walked in my graudation ceremony I had an interview for the real estate job. The lady told me that she would get back to me in a day. As I was leaving she asked me if I had any other interviews coming up. I did not, but I was conflicted about what I should answer, because I didn’t want to signal to her that I was either desperate or lazy. I decided to answer honestly with “no I don’t” to which she answered with a smile “good. I guess that’s selfish of me?” She called me back in two hours. and offered me the job. The job is literally exactly the experience that I am looking for at a salary that is sustainable for me at this moment. PLUS it is going to utilize my film skills that I never thought I’d be able to use in a job.

Basically, I’ve been so lucky that I can no longer believe that it is just “things working out”. Yes there has been an element of hard work at the jobs and yes there have been nice people that have connected me, but ultimately, I fully acknowledge now that God has given me each of these opportunities. There is  way too much overlap and perfect timing for this to all be luck.

A person Paul plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

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