It was my first job after college. The layoff wasn’t personal, my boss assured me. You were doing a good job. 9/11 just happened and the economy is in the crapper. You understand.
In my naivete, I believed him. Five years later I would ask him for a reference and be turned down. “To be honest, you weren’t fired because you were the most junior member on the team. You just weren’t ambitious enough.” was what he said.
Ah, I see. Good thing this was never brought up while I was working for you.
The really crappy thing is, he wasn’t wrong. Remember how I was anxious about programming in college? It didn’t stop after I got a job. Now that programming was a source of income, it got worse.
I was anxious before work. I would stand in my apartment alone (my wife had already left for her job) with a knot in my stomach and listen to heavy metal music to make it go away. I don’t think it occurred to me to pray. Why would God be interested in my job situation?
At work I was anxious because I didn’t have my own cubicle. I sat in a room with five other guys and I was anxious because I felt like people were watching me. I left at five o’clock on the dot every day. And I really only worked seven hours a day because I took an hour for lunch.
Then, when I got home I was anxious because I was figuring out how to be married, which was a stretch for me since my wife was the only girlfriend I ever had. And we both worked, so the apartment was a mess. Which made me more anxious. I mean, my parents was practically a hospital, because my mother got really anxious every time the slightest thing was out of place.
All of this combined to make an environment that was downright anti-productivity.
After getting laid off, I went through three software jobs in five years. The third one lasted almost four years, but after two mediocre performance reviews they let me go.
The next job was the one that stuck. I decided to be proactive and take on work without being asked. This strategy was a big hit. My confidence was boosted, and I’m still at that job after almost six years.
Why the big difference? I don’t know. The increased performance did correspond to an increase in time spent praying, going to church, and reading the Bible. Of course, correlation doesn’t prove causation, but the fact was these things did put a damper on my anxiety level.
I started to think I was getting the hang of things. I was getting pretty good at this Christianity thing. My wife and I joined had joined a church and started attending a bible study where we made a lot of friends.
We decided it was time to become parents. We decided to take a casual approach, and just stop trying to avoid pregnancy. We didn’t want to become pregnant right away, you see. We figured we had a while - people didn’t get pregnant right away.
Two months later we were proved wrong.