For several days I’ve been thinking about how this thing works, this daily thoughts thing. I always write about what’s on my mind, usually without any reservations. I’ve addressed a number of sensitive issues, and since this ReAL Thoughts thing started I’ve broken up with a girl friend of three years, started another relationship, proposed to that girl, and am dealing with the current separation of my parents. I usually don’t shy away from those issues, but if need be will usually disguise the specifics in generalities so I can talk about what’s bothering me without mentioning names. Usually this works fine.
I’ve had to deal with various issues of readership. Who actually read this. I know my mom reads it, and that can make things interesting. The day after I bare my heart I’ll get a call from my mother wanting to know what’s going on. Usually it’s just a late night thought, getting something off my chest and it comes off sounding apocalyptic. My mother and I have had numerous conversations about reading into what I write. My roommate often reads it and asks me about what I’ve said. He’ll push me and prod me, forcing me to question. My fiance reads them, occasionally asking for an explanation. I can deal with all of that without a problem.
I’ve even dealt with issues of faith without a problem. There’s no point in hiding the fact that I believe in Jesus Christ. I speak rather frankly about that, and hopefully people who aren’t so interested in this guy named Jesus aren’t offended. I hope I approach the faith issue with enough honesty to gain respect. I was going to say that I hope I approach the faith issue in a way that won’t scare anyone away–but then I checked myself. I’m not interested in that. Sometimes God is scary, and we don’t like what he has to say. He scares those familiar with him just as much (if not more so) as he scares those unfamiliar with him. So I’ve attempted to let my honesty bridge gaps between faiths.
But there is one issue with writing these ponderings that I’m not quite sure what to do with. You see, I’m graduating from college in December, and I’ll be starting a real 9-5 with benefits job. Every prospective employer has known about my work with ReALMagazine.com, and I run the “risk” that they may read these ponderings. I can’t help but wonder what (if any) baring this has on my potential employment. With that thought in mind, I haven’t prattled on too much about jobs. Not that I’m censoring myself (you don’t criticize the U.S. government if you’re trying to censor yourself).
But now I have a job. Last week I was offered an Assistant Editor position with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I start January 3, 2001. In the past week I’ve been thinking about this job and what it will be like. But I haven’t written these thoughts out for all the world to see. That’s usually what I would have done before. But now I’m hesitating. What if my future employers read these thoughts? They might not be as understanding as my mother. What if I say things about the Billy Graham organization that they might not like, even if those things are said in a respectful and entirely speculative manner? I can’t imagine they’d get mad and fire me before I start working, but I wonder what would happen. Alienating my future co-workers is not something I’m terribly interested in.
All of these thoughts have kept me from announcing my new job and speculating about what it will be like. I remember this summer quoting one of my co-workers in these thoughts, and then realizing she could possibly read that quote and be rather offended. It makes you rather cautious of what you say. Writers have to be very aware of their audience.
But I think I’ve come to a decision. I’m going to continue to honestly speak my mind in these thoughts. People need to understand that these thoughts are not an edited thesis statement reflecting my sharpened viewpoints. They are late night reflections, ruminations, questions. Often I’m engaging in a mental exercise and the results wind up here. Often I flunk those exercises. While I definitely want people to think, it needs to be understood (like my mother knows) that what is said here can’t be taken personally. If I question the policies of my employer, it’s because I’m curious, I’m trying to learn, I’m trying to understand and improve the company. It is not reflective of a dissatisfaction with my job. It is not reflective of any kind of disagreement with my employer. They’re simply thoughts. Questions. Things written late at night when I’m trying to get to the essence of things. That’s all.
Whew, I’m glad I got that off my chest. You’re probably wondering why I went through that tirade. Sometimes you need to write things out to work them through, which is exactly why I made this statement.
Anyway, I now have a job. This brings a tremendous amount of relief to a senior about to get married and thrust into the real world. This brings a tremendous amount of relief to a father who signed the lease of this poor senior before said senior found a fixed income. I’ll be doing something I enjoy and working somewhere that should be a lot of fun.
But I do have questions. I’m working for an evangelistic organization. That seems kind of odd. It’s a business, but it’s not. It’s not that I haven’t envisioned myself working for a Christian organization. I have, it’s just that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association seems a lot less like a business than Christianity Today, for example. It seems more like a ministry. I never quite envisioned myself going into ministry. This might not seem like a great distinction, but tell the people at home that. It sounds like my home church is all abuzz at the possibility that I’ll be working for Billy Graham. I can’t help but wonder if they’d be as excited if I went to work for Minnesota Monthly.
Working for such an organization carries a certain stigma. “Where do you work?” “The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.” “Oh.” How do you respond to that? Anything with “evangelistic” in the title makes it sound like your job is to knock on doors. The response from Christians is always exceptionally positive. The response from everyone else is always kind of delayed. It’s a weird situation, and I never dreamed I’d be thinking about it.
Oh the joys of working. I was always concerned about just getting a job. I never really thought much beyond what I’d be doing. I found something I thought I’d like doing and got the job. I didn’t sit around and think about whether I want to be an editor at a magazine, a newspaper, a publisher, or an evangelistic association. I didn’t exactly have the time to be picky. Not that I’m having second thoughts. It’ll just be interesting. It’ll raise questions. It’ll make me think.
And that’s the whole point.