I know what it’s like to live through times of desperation when you just don’t know what way to go. It saps you of all your energy. Sometimes you just can’t think straight. You go months, and in some cases years to find answers to the question, which way shall I go?
During my time of loss and desperation starting from 2009 up to 2011 I was getting nowhere. I lost my income and investment property. I was in the process of losing our home. And I couldn’t find a job to save my life. I was sending out resume’s in southern California like crazy. But during that time thousands of others were applying for the same positions. I was getting older and I knew that had something to do with it. I even had one employer who had the guts to be honest and tell me, (off the record) “John, I have hundreds of other qualified applicants who are much younger, who I can pay less, and will have a greater potential for longevity.”
Our prospects were nil. Admittedly I confined my search to Southern California. We had lived here for a long time. My six children lived here. What else am I supposed to do?
Then one day, I looked in a “HR” posting I had never looked at before. It was a fluke. I found a job posting for a company that fit my vision and who I was perfectly. The only problem was, they were located 2000 miles away in a small town in the Midwest. If it had not been for the encouragement of my wife I would not have looked elsewhere. At this point I was open for whatever God had in mind. And I found a position at a place I would never have looked.
A company located in NW Iowa called Pizza Ranch (www.pizzaranch.com) was looking for someone to add to their training department. A small town of 6,500 people in the middle of nowhere. I can’t tell you my entire Pizza Ranch experience here, but I needed some assurance that this place was the answer to the question: which way shall I go? During my interview process, my potential boss was walking me through the corporate office and introducing me to people. We wondered into the office of their Director of Vision and Mission (now Chief Vision Officer). As we talked we discovered that he had lived in the same town as I in Southern California, and even went to the same church! We knew a lot of the same people. What are the odds?! I took this as a sign.
I spent 7 ½ years there and an additional 2 years flying back and forth once a month, until COVID hit. During that time, I was blessed to be able to impact thousands of team members in the things of leadership, culture, and customer service. This was the culmination of my career and I have never been able to use my gifts and talents in a more impactful way.
My message to you is this: look in places you would ordinarily not look and be open to go where you thought you’d never go. You never know what is on the other side.