Saturday, September 11, 2010

My New Job

To work? Or not to work? This conundrum was most certainly in the forefront of my mind ever since we found out we were moving to Guam. "What are you going to do there?" was a top 3 question from friends and family during our pre-move discussions... along with "Where will you live?" and "Is it true that snakes fall out of trees onto your head?" (The answer, by the way, is no, unless the snake is dead).  

Part of me, the college-educated, goal-seeking list-maker, has bought into that whole American idea that you are the work you do, that your identity is dependent on having a meaningful, high-paying, important job that's part of an even more impressive career path. Over the past few years, this mindset has clashed tremendously with my #1 life role, military wife, and unlike many, I can't even fully blame relocation. The last couple of years in San Diego I found myself working part-time teaching and consulting while Nick was home on work-ups, then picking up full-time work and volunteering to pass the time during deployments. It's just no fun to be stuck at the office when Nick is home, and not productive to be stuck at home when Nick is away.

So when approaching opportunities to work here on Guam, I did so cautiously, especially knowing Nick will be home a lot more than we're used to. First of all, there aren't exactly a slew of job options. Local jobs are primarily limited to people whose last names are Duenas or Tatiague. In other words, if you aren't family, you probably won't be coworkers. Government jobs are either of the $8/hour food service worker or $120K/year telecommunications engineer variety, with few opportunities in the middle. So after figuring I could stay busy playing golf, working out, reading, writing, playing the piano, and volunteering, (and blogging, of course), while also remaining flexible to travel, I resigned myself to enjoy these two years in Guam finding myself... unless, of course, something found me. 

Well, something found me pretty quickly, and I am thrilled about the opportunity! The last week of August we tried out a new church that my friend Caitlyn invited us to. After the service, the pastor (Pastor Jeff) invited us to dinner that Thursday, a welcome to Guam sort of thing.  During that dinner I purposely left out my experience as the youth director at my church in Coronado, not wanting to get too roped in to volunteering too quickly.  Well, it must have slipped out during the conversation and, once it did, I immediately saw the wheels start turning.

Check out the million $ view behind the altar! Can be hard to pay attention to sermons...
Turns out the current youth director is starting a double Master's program and will be pretty busy, and doesn't have a lot of the organizational skill sets that would help the program run more smoothly. Pastor Jeff asked if I'd be interested in possibly splitting the 20-hour/week position with him. A few meetings and a council vote later, and within a week I found myself with a 10 hour/week job as a co-youth director at my church!  It's a small Lutheran church with about 12 kids in middle and high school. About half are from military families, half are locals.  Aside from Sunday mornings (when we'd be at church anyway), I can pretty much make my own hours and keep a flexible schedule for traveling when those opportunities arise.  I'll be getting paid to do something I've enjoyed enough in the past to do for free.  I suppose the fact that I had been praying for direction on how I could be useful here was purely coincidental... right?

Two youth (Tara & Jessica) and my counterpart Doug
Best of all, I couldn't imagine a more meaningful job at this point. Last September when the opportunity arose to decide whether or not to step in as the youth director at my church, my dear friend April gave me timeless, matter-of-fact advice that still rings true: "You never turn down an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people." Working (and playing) with the amazing kids and leaders of my last youth group, I learned so much about love, acceptance, life challenges, prayer, and how God works so precisely in ways big and small. I also learned that I personally can do very little to make a difference in the lives of young people. I may put in the hours, but J.C. up there does the magic. So as I set off on this new life assignment, I am excited about what magic might be done here that I have the honor of being a part of. I am already off and running (literally) and will share some stories and pictures soon!

"Call on me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3


  1. If your last name is Cruz or Calvo, you can probably get a pretty good job.

  2. Yeah, we've noticed that Calvo has his fingers in EVERYTHING. He won the primary last week, not surprising.


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