My Financial Storm – Part 2

As I mentioned on my previous post, I was let go after one month as the assistant branch manager of a cleaning company and it left me in complete shock. I had been laid off twice previously, and I was not ready then and much less at that moment. From 2005 to 2009 I worked for a disease management company and I was making decent money. They relocated me to Miami and I had a company laptop, cell phone, and got reimbursed for my car mileage. I was a Provider Relations Specialist and my duties included visiting doctors offices, hospitals, and other medical facilities to educate the providers on our company’s disease management program. I was also a member of the Miami-Dade Council on Aging where I served for several years, and I received a Certificate of Appreciation for my continued participation in the meetings and events. That was the best job I ever had, unfortunately due to economic downturn of 2008, the company laid off most of the staff in 2009. That was the first time I was ever laid off and it hurt.

After losing this assistant manager job in 2015, I immediately went searching on the internet and I found one at a local auto insurance company making a little bit higher than minimum wage. I was desperately searching since I didn’t want to rely on unemployment compensation. I was starting to wonder if I would ever be able to have another high-paying job. I was basically doing clerical work and greeting customers as they walked in to make their monthly payment. The owner wanted me to get licensed so I could sell policies and then make around $40,000 with commission. At this stage in my life that’s not what I wanted to be doing, so I kept applying for other positions. I always yearned to find another job in the healthcare field, but my job searches always led me back to the call center industry where I’ve had the most experience.

I had several interviews lined up but I was not getting hired. Then I received the call that would change my life and set me on a new career path. It was from a major health insurance company, and I was longing to get back to this industry since it’s where I had the best experience. It was for a senior bilingual representative position in their call center and at this point I wasn’t necessarily looking for supervisor jobs, I just wanted to find a decent job with decent pay.

The first interview was a phone interview with a recruiter who asked me a few questions about my work experience and why I was applying for this role. Since I am bilingual, that was a plus because they were looking for people to fill these positions, and there was a pay differential once I passed a Spanish certification test. I told the interviewer that although I had previously been a supervisor in other companies, I wanted to start from the bottom here so I could educate myself on this industry before I moved on up.

The next interview was in person at the call center. I believe it was God-incidence that the supervisor who interviewed me was a member of a church where a friend of mine was the pastor (I didn’t find this out until months after I was hired). After the interview, he took me on a tour of the call center and then he offered me a decent starting pay which was more than double what I was making at the small insurance agency. I accepted it and went through an intense four-month training program and I felt that I would be working here for a long time.

The biggest shocker was when in my first month out of training I had worked a lot of overtime and I was expecting a huge check. To my surprise when I checked the online paystub it was half of what I had calculated it to be. I immediately called the HR department to ask what was going on. They bluntly explained to me that I had been served with a garnishment and the company suing me found out I was working there so they had to comply with it. My heart started racing at a high speed because I was not expecting this at all. Later I came to find out it was a company where I had purchased my laptop and other electronics, but they had not notified me that this was going to happen. I had stopped paying them when I got laid off several years earlier. It would have also been nice if my new HR department would have sent me an email or a letter to inform me about this.

I then called the collection agency that was handling this garnishment to work out a new payment arrangement since they were taking half of my paycheck. I had to have money to pay both my studio apartment rent, my car payment, and I had to have money left over to pay my other bills. Thankfully they were able to grant me a lower payment arrangement. And thankfully as well, that year the company offered overtime every single month and I took advantage of it and paid off this balance in six months. From that point on I became a minimalist, being frugal with everything I bought. I increased my 401K contribution and made it a point to have money left over from paycheck to paycheck.  And I made over $40,000 that year and I knew I had made the right decision to work here.

This all happened in 2016 and that summer I also enrolled in a Christian Financial Freedom course that would enlighten me more on how God blesses us financially. I will share this story and more on my next post.

My Financial Storm – Part 1

In my first post, I mentioned how I had lost my job just one month after having relocated to another city. This job had been offered to me by a couple who was vacationing in Miami where I was living, and they lived in San Antonio where I previously had lived and met them. I had known them for many years and we had originally met at church. They came to the United States leaving everything behind in their native country to pursue a better life. Since they didn’t know English, they had to initially settle for cleaning jobs at first, but they were able to save money to buy a small house. Eventually, they both learned English and the wife was offered a sales job by one of the ladies at church at the cleaning company where she worked. The wife excelled at sales and was later promoted to branch manager. During their vacation in Miami, I met them for lunch and it was when they suggested that I move back to San Antonio and become the assistant branch manager. I was going through a tough financial situation in Miami, since it is an expensive city to live in, and my paycheck wasn’t enough to cover my expenses. I told them I would pray about it and let them know. After a few days of praying about it I decided it was the ideal time to move back to San Antonio. They were already back in San Antonio and I called them to accept the offer. The salary was more than I was making at the time and I was ready for this new career path.

I would be moving back to familiar territory, and San Antonio was fast becoming a major metropolitan area. I was excited to be back living here and on learning about my new position with this cleaning company. Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of the most disappointing and eye-opening experiences in my life. I had never really had too much interaction with the wife at church, only with her husband. I thought that by the manner in which she acted in church, always raising her hands during worship and sharing her testimonies, and by our many years of friendship, that she would hold me in high esteem. I was wrong. Pardon the pun but she turned out to be “the wicked witch of the west”. On my first day at work, she told me she would only train me for one day and the rest I would have to learn on my own, because that’s the way she started her career with the company. From there on, it was all downhill. She even humiliated me in front of the owner, which was personally devastating after I had professionally introduced myself to him on my first day at work.

I felt a demonic presence whenever she was near me, and many of the staff didn’t respect her. One lady quit and threw the cleaning towels in her face. And I was thinking to myself: What part of all the sermons and Bible studies did she not pay attention to? How could she raise her hands during worship and share testimonies of how good God had been to her, and she was treating people this way?

Well, she called me into her office on the fourth week and told me I was not progressing as she expected me to, and she told me my position had been eliminated. I was in shock. How could she treat a “brother in Christ” like this who had known her for over 20 years, and who had shared meals with her and her husband and with other church members? I considered them like family. It took me many months to forgive her because I felt extremely humiliated by her actions toward me. And to top it off, when I shared this with the pastor of that church, he basically told me to forget it and to look for another job. Did I really feel “Christian love” throughout this experience? Absolutely not! I was flabbergasted. I also didn’t understand why God had allowed me to go through this.

Nevertheless, I started attending a megachurch since I didn’t want to mingle with anyone from that other church. I needed to strengthen my relationship with God and move on from this unfortunate incident.

But now looking back, I can see that the main reason for me moving back to San Antonio was because God had something even better planned for me. He just needed me to be back here, and the way he did it was by having that couple convince me to do so. As they say, God moves in mysterious ways and in this case, I can certainly say that he did.

I will continue with this story on my next post.