The Job I Didn't Want



Some three years ago, I started my first job. It was great. I loved the community, loved the goal we strove towards, loved the advocacy that kept our hearts pumping, our adrenaline on a high. Then came The First Event which was basically my "baptism by fire". It wasn't solely my own project, but it sure was a big one that we were all involved in.

I thought it would be easy. We had event organizers in place, we had a marketing team in place. Promotions were garnering attendees that increased as the day grew closer. It was exciting and I was glad to be in the middle of it.

Until the actual day when everything fell apart.

Months of preparation unraveled in just seconds. Plans that had been carefully constructed and rehearsed to ensure its success came tumbling to the ground. Roles were mixed up, lines crossed, tears shed. And the event hadn't even officially begun.

That day sealed it for me: I would never work with events. They were just too stressful, too unpredictable, too complicated, too taxing. Three years have passed since my stout, firm (and somewhat stubborn) declaration. Three years and I am now in charge of the events program in our organization. (Our Heavenly Father definitely has a sense of humor!)

What made me change my mind? I can't pinpoint the exact time and place or even person. As is with companies and organizations around the world, people resign, switch jobs, find their calling and purpose elsewhere. So with ours. I found myself working, doing admin duties. I was asked a couple of times what I thought about working in events. Twice, I refused, saying that I did not think I was cut out for a job like that.

About a year and four months after The First Event, I had to step in to fill the shoes of the temporary event organizer then. This was during one of the biggest events of the year. I remember posting in my Facebook status the night before that I had gone home in the rain and how appropriate it had been to sing Les Miserables' On My Own. Right after the event, where I was suddenly whisked from being admin to actually acting as organizer for the event, one of my bosses approached me and said that sans Les Miserables feels, I didn't ever have to sing On My Own with regards to work because I would always be standing on the shoulders of people who were willing to guide me and help me where events was concerned.

Two weeks later, I signed the new contract to be the event organizer for the organization.

And this last event!!! I think in exclamation points when I realize what took place this past week and how it was never me but Abba Father working in spite of all my weaknesses and limitations.

If you've ever played Wedding Dash, you would most likely have met Quinn, the main organizer whose job is to oversee everything. As the player, you see the world through her eyes, making sure that the guests are served promptly and properly while making sure that the bride doesn't come down with a bad case of hysterics, Great-Aunt doesn't get too weepy, Great Uncle doesn't become drunk and uncouth. Oh, did I mention that the cake mustn't fall and the kitchen mustn't catch fire, nor the wire for the music become unplugged? Quinn has to oversee all those things and oversee them excellently (else the game will end and the points won't be credited to you).

I've always wanted to be Quinn with her cool, calm demeanor (I know she's not even real), and yet at the same time, I was terrified that I would never exhibit the same kind of grace under such pressure. It's easier when you've had months of planning (although something is bound to happen on the actual day that you never really prepared for) but when you have events within a couple of weeks of each other—and as was in the last case, one week of each other—it's like a whirlpool of to-do lists, figures, budgets, Gantt charts, all ready to drown you alive. But the week before this last event, we had another semi-major event. You can imagine the distraction and the confusion when, as both events drew near, I began interchanging facts and information.

But that is why I am so amazed and thrilled at the last event. Because I can honestly and stoutly say that it wasn't me. It was never me. The Tuesday before the event, I contracted an allergy that caused my foot to swell and made walking and going up and down stairs difficult. The day after, I came down with a migraine and flu. Friday, the day before the event, the truck that was supposed to deliver all our items to the venue broke down just as we were leaving the office. I thought everything would finally go well when we got to the venue, only to encounter some more problems with the staff and security guards.

So much beyond our control. So much messing up on our parts, so much room for human error. But wow, so much grace, so much goodness from our Heavenly Father. There were glitches as the event happened, there are so many lessons to learn even now as we wrap up, but we are still amazed, still in awe over what transpired.

I've always been the backstage girl. The one to help the kids into their costumes during our plays. The one to create the props or fix the PowerPoints and Keynotes so that things look just fine when flashed on screen. I'm not the leader type, either. I usually lead by example and I feel uncomfortable when I have to tell people what to do. My job as an events organizer has stripped me of those two things I am comfortable doing--those two things I used as reasons when I turned down the offer twice to handle events some years ago. I think our Heavenly Father must have been watching the whole thing with an amused smile on His face. The funny thing is, I now enjoy events so much—from something I didn't want, it actually became something I really love. But when I think about it, when I think about how I ended up with this job after fighting against it, I realize that I've a lot to learn in this area and that working in events has even shaped my dreams for a future possible long-term job some day.

In spite of all those good event days, I haven't mastered the art of events. I still make mistakes in budgets, I don't follow my plans to the very last dot, there are days when I leave important things behind, but in the end, when the lights are dimmed and the curtains are drawn, when we're packing away all the equipment, I think what matters most are the lessons learned, the effort we put as we strove towards excellence, and the dreams we dream that are way bigger than we can accomplish...because we have a Heavenly Father who is bigger and greater than we are and can do what we cannot and can give us strength when we are weakest. We may mess up everything, but He can make it all beautiful in the end.

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