Friday, March 12, 2010
Shane's Hidden Blessings
When Shane was fired from his job in Mountain View, we were all flabbergasted. He has always been a model employee. When we learned that he did have a clean file and even positive comments (including a salary increase for good performance the month before being fired) and discovered the likely reason -- Nikolina's medical bills -- we were even more flabbergasted. Of course, beyond the simple shock was the devastating and sinking feeling that here were two kids (Nathan and Nikolina) with birth defects and no health insurance. That sent Shane scrambling for unemployment compensation, which he easily was awarded since Mountain View could not cite a legitimate reason for the firing, and COBRA, which Donnie and I have been paying because the cost is way out of Shane's reach at 60% of his unemployment compensation.
One would think that this should be a considered a dark moment in Shane's life, but it has not been that. It has been a bright moment, in fact, a series of bright moments. Here are some:
(1) Shane found out how well liked he was by his colleagues. They raised a ruckus at work over the firing, not concerned about retaliation, and the Union, which is not supposed to represent management (Shane was a supervisor), took on his case. We don't know where that stands but since Shane was conditionally (based on passing a medical exam) offered a job at California Highway Patrol on Monday (to start o/a April 1), it no longer matters what the outcome is of that investigation unless Shane wants to take Mountain View to court. (Not a bad idea, should they want to do the same thing to other employees in the future.) Shane's colleagues also have been writing to him every day on FaceBook and calling him, offering encouragement, support, and ideas for jobs.
(2) After nearly a year of non-stop physical activity and emotional turmoil, given the stress that comes with being a supervisor at work, his undiagnosed appendicitis that brought him close to death and into emergency and extensive surgery, and the birth of Nikolina in an unassembled state that took Stanford University Hospital months to assemble and repair Shane got some rest. Just enough rest before a different kind of stress (unemployment issues) could set in: 6 weeks. In that time, he was able to put his financial house in order, take some vacation time (including a trip to Disneyland and to the San Francisco celebration of Chinese New Year, using saved funds), and find a job.
(3) Shane got to feel the kindness of many people, including strangers. Stanford, for example, wrote off the amount of Nikolina's bill that Shane owed personally, not only for the past year but for ALL future bills! Unheard of! Simply unbelievable! Talk about God working through people!
(4) Going back to CHP feels like returning home to Shane since most of the people he used to work with are still there and excited about his coming back. Working for the state, even considering the difficult financial state that California is in currently is infinitely more secure than working for a city or a private company. Even if there is some reduction in force, it is not likely to affect him. He regains his 12 years of seniority the day he walks in the door. Moreover, there are other options long-term. As he finishes his education in computer science, he can move from dispatch into a tech job, which pays more. It is likely that he will be asked to do the regional computer coordination that he did in the past, and that will facilitate a move in that direction, which is the field in which he would ultinately like to work.
(5) Since unemployment does not pay much and going back to CHP also means going backward (or down) in terms of salary, Shane has had to scale down his expenditures. With Stanford's assistance with medical costs, he has been able to do that. It is always good to have stricter control over one's finances!
(6) Perhaps the most important blessing has been time with his family. Shane has had family time that few fathers rarely, if ever get, to spend with Nathan and especially Nikolina in their early years. He has been able to see those daily things that usually only mothers see. He has taken scads of photographs of little Nikolina has she grows up and learns to enjoy life. In fact, it is hard for anyone, being near her, not to enjoy life. Her favorite game in recent days is to heave her bottle, watch it fall, and then crack up at herself for doing it. She is the happiest little thing and brings smiles to anyone who meets her.
What a wonderful thing it is that Shane lost his job! God works in the most marvelous and unpredictable ways!