After I was let go, I spent about 10 hours feeling sorry for myself. I know from previous experience how long it can take to find a job, so I hit the ground running. I sent resumes to places for which I was overqualified and wildly underqualified. I figured that the more places I sent my resume the more bites I would receive. I also knew that I would receive many more rejections, so I tried to brace myself for that. It wasn’t easy, my self-esteem had taken quite a beating during the previous three years. Once I finally posted on social about my job loss, a couple of friends reached out. I will be forever grateful to those who tried to help me find employment. I connected with four possible opportunities, two were from people I had worked with in the past. One I reached out to and the other reached out to me when they saw my post. Both jobs were intriguing and both women are outstanding. One offered me the ideal salary and the other offered me a bit less. I was torn about which would be the better fit and where I could make the most positive impact. So, I prayed about it. I told God that I really needed his help this time. I was too wounded from the death of my mom, the death of my dad’s close friend, and the coldness that pastors had when telling me I was not wanted. I confessed my fear I lacked my usual discernment. I asked Him to make it obvious, to close every door but the one he wanted me to enter. And I waited.
My former coworker sent me the finally approved job description she had been putting together for me. The other job stopped communicating. I asked some questions about the jobs and got some answers, and then I waited. My former coworker sent me an official job offer. And I prayed again, asking God if this was where I was supposed to land. He assured me that less money and a bit of a demotion were not a problem. I decided to wait 24 hours before responding. I reminded myself that I only asked for one voice and got that. I was only waiting to see if my ego would be bolstered by the other job. Right then, I accepted the offer. One week later, the other job finally reached out and made me an offer. I shook my head at the temptation and said I accepted another position.
I am happy to say that I accepted the communications role at Marion County Community Corrections. This is a new position for them. In this role, I will act as the social media manager, internal communications coordinator, and public information officer. Those of you who know me know that I love conquering new challenges. While I feel very confident in the role, I still have those 30-second moments of panic wondering if I can actually do this.
The only downside to this job is the location. It is downtown, but that’s not the problem. I love downtown and cannot wait to start walking around during lunchtime. The problem is their temporary home. It’s the old jail. When the Criminal Justice Campus was built, the jail moved, and the old building is still sitting here. This building will eventually be torn down. I suspect that this building was never a very happy place, but now it feels sad and a bit dilapidated. It feels abandoned and uncared for. The walls are beaten up and the drop ceiling is not great in some places. There are places where the sheriff removed their decals and images, and the walls were never fixed. MCCC staff is stuck in places and in nooks and crannies. Everyone knows this is temporary and it often feels like it has no personality. I have often been in a great mood only to have it tamped down immediately by the atmosphere of the building.
Despite the atmosphere, there are bright spots here. MCCC has an extensive training program for every new hire. We all spend a few weeks learning the ins and outs of the agency and getting to know what each department does. This means we have been scheduled to shadow various people to see how they do their jobs. We were a few weeks into dry training and to be honest the building was getting to me. I wasn’t feeling great. Then I sat with a case manager. The person I was supposed to sit with was out, so he had an unexpected shadow. He was so kind and welcoming to me and showed me the basics. I got to sit with him while he met with his clients. And I was blown away. His care and concern for them were outstanding. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I guess it wasn’t this. He talked to them about what was going on with them. He shared his concern with one client about not going to his kid’s games or school functions. He said home detention did not mean he couldn’t have a relationship with his kids. He told him he was concerned that he was spending too much time in isolation, and it wasn’t healthy. He talked with his second client about he was doing well adhering to the rules. He asked him about some health problems and medication the client had been taking. He talked to him about not taking advice from friends or random pages on the internet. He encouraged him to share his concerns with his doctor. It was inspiring to see this level of concern and compassion for people while making sure they stay within the terms.
I didn’t see this with one person or one case manager, but with so many others. One case manager went out of the building looking for his new client. This person was special needs, and his case manager watched his ankle monitor location to make sure he arrived. When the client was having a hard time finding the building the case manager went outside to look for him. Case managers at the work release detention center worked with their clients to make sure their work schedules and needs were met. The operations call center talked with clients helping them schedule trips to the grocery store or counseling sessions. While everyone made sure that rules were followed, their kindness and compassion pushed out the bleakness of our surroundings. They inspired me to want to tell their stories. There will be some sad stories to tell, but there are so many stories filled with joy and achievements. I am excited to share all the supports and classes that are offered by MCCC. My new hire class had two new case managers and one new corrections officer. I hope I can share their journeys as well. If you are excited to find out about those or just want to see what I’m doing, follow @MarionCoCC on all the socials.