The Sarah Palin Effect…

I have always had confidence issues.  I always second-guess myself in most situations.  I tend to worry about what people think of me to the point that I don’t always do what is best for myself.  I could cite many examples of this throughout my lifetime, but my self-confidence took a direct hit on my journey of infertility.

There was about a four-year period spanning high school and college where my confidence soared to new heights.  As a Senior in high school was I voted president of my school’s chapter of Health Occupations Students of America.  Subsequently, I went on to enter several competitions with H.O.S.A. and I won Miss Congeniality in the leadership competition for my region, first place in extemporaneous writing for the region and then first place in extemporaneous writing for the state.  I would’ve gone on to Nationals, but I competed in the first extemporaneous writing competition in my state that year, and this competition had not reached the national level.

All of this boosted my confidence to point it had never been before.  I was also in love, and there’s something about being in love that makes you feel you can take on the world.

This confidence waned a bit after I graduated high school.  I had been encouraged greatly by my Health Occupations teacher to go into nursing (she was a nurse herself), but after doing my required internship in nursing my Senior year in high school I realized that nursing probably wasn’t a great fit for me.  I was at a loss at what to do with my life.  After graduation I worked in a grocery store for a year.  I moved up from cashier to bookkeeper to scan coordinator in a few short months; however, a new manager came in who really gave me a hard time.  I had requested numerous times to be made full-time, but he strung me along for about six months and never elevated me to full time.  Little did I know that the manager was stealing from the company, and the only reason he had been put in a scanning store (scanning was just coming into retail at that time…1988) was to get the hard evidence that he was indeed stealing from them.  I was finding inconsistencies in counts weekly, and because of this the manager took his frustrations out on me.  The problem was…I didn’t know that he was suspected from stealing from the store.  I confided my frustrations to the assistant manager.  He told me to hold on because things were definitely going to change.  Legally, he could not tell me of the manager’s suspicion by the company.  After one particularly abusive day by the manager I put in my resignation.  The assistant manager begged me to stay, but I was done.  I knew I had to go to college even though all I wanted to do was to get married and start a family. Two weeks later the store manager was caught in the act of stealing from the store.  He was tried and convicted of fraud and theft and actually served time for his crimes.

Reality had really hit hard that year on many levels.  My fiancee started passing out at work.  When a 24-Holter monitor was placed it was discovered that he had a serious heart arrhythmia.  He spent a week in the hospital to get this under control.  He was told by the specialist that he should go to college and go into a profession that would not require him to do manual labor.  I’m happy to report that this arrhythmia resolved itself a few years later, and today my husband is on no heart medication.  However, this reality check was enough to push us both into higher education.

I enrolled in a local junior college.  While I knew nursing was not the profession for me I still had great interest in the medical field.  I decided to major in administrative medical assisting which would give me clinical skills as well as office management skills.  This would be a broad base on which to build my career.  I did wonderfully through college.  I graduated from college with a 3.9 grade-point average, and was selected as “graduate of the year” for my achievements.  I graduated one week after my June 1990 wedding.

My husband was pursuing a bachelor’s degree, and had attended a junior college in our hometown for two years.  He then elected to transfer to Appalachian State University two finish his degree in Art Education.  So, in August we packed up and moved into married housing at App State.  I was searching for a clinical job in the Boone area, but there was none to be found.  I had thoroughly enjoyed my medical transcription classes in college, and it just so happened that there was a medical transcriptionist position open at the local hospital there in Boone.  I interviewed with the Medical Records Director, and while she was a little nervous about my lack of experience she was willing to give me a try.  I later learned that they had offered the job to another person who had subsequently turned down the offer.  It was the second pick, but I guess it was meant to be.

This started a 14-year career in medical transcription.  I worked in medical records departments at two different hospitals, a radiology clinic, a neurology clinic, and did two work-at-home stints for transcription companies.  There were a lot of ups and downs, but I learned A LOT.  However, after fourteen years I was ready for another challenge.

In 2002 my husband got a job with a major evangelical ministry who had moved it’s headquarters from Minneapolis to Charlotte.  This required us to move from our small hometown to Charlotte.  This all happened within a couple of months of hubby’s deciding to apply for the job and us actually moving.  It was a whirlwind.  For two more years I continued in medical transcription; but I was praying that something would open up in the ministry for me.  I applied a couple of times to the ministry…actually interviewed once but was never offered a position.  I told hubby that I was not going to apply again unless they needed a transcriptionist.  Two months later I was purusing the job listings on their website and there was an ad for a transcriptionist for the TV department.  I immediately knew THIS WAS MY JOB!  I applied, interviewed, and sure enough…I got the job!  I have been doing this job for nearly four years now.  I have learned so much, and in addition to using my existing transcription skills I have also developed more of my administrative skills as my job description has expanded to include administrative assisting.

This is an amazing story for someone who has confidence issues, and I give all the thanks to God for orchestrating my life as He has.  During the fourteen years I was doing medical transcription I was also on my journey with infertility.  This and other difficult life issues over time whittled away at my self-confidence.

If you were to meet me you’d never know I have a confidence problem.  I come off very confident, but a lot of that confidence is a facade.  I deal with a lot of insecurity…only those who are closest to me are aware of it.  I’ve been trying to work on it, but it’s always one step forward and two steps back.

I have been intrigued with the Sarah Palin story.  I read about her life and her career and I am amazed.  I listened to her speak last night, and I was almost moved to tears, because here is a woman who is only four years older than me, and she has confidence and leadership ability oozing out her up-do!  This is the woman I want to be!  I’ve always admired women who are confident yet compassionate leaders.  My boss is one of these ladies also.  I find myself envious them.

I have thought a lot about Sarah since her speech last night, and she’s inspired me. She has achieved a lot, but there’s been a lot of adversity along the way.  The difference between me and Sarah is that Sarah has not let the adversities of life stop her from doing what she feels called to do. I have let circumstances beat me down to the point that I don’t even know what my next goal is.   God has been faithful, and I have been blessed, but I’m coming to realize that my own worst enemy has been myself.

I started looking at my assets today…I am a good wife, a good homemaker, and a good employee.  I strive for excellence in all do…sometimes to a fault, and while I will probably never be nominated for vice president of the United States I can most certainly adopt Sarah’s plucky, overcoming attitude.  The secret is positive thinking, a positive attitude, and relying on God to handle the circumstances I cannot control.

Sarah is my new hero…whether or not she ever resides in Washington, D.C. she’s been used by God to inspire women to look beyond their circumstances and go for their dreams.

Thanks Sarah!

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