It was late in the morning mid-August 2006, I laid on my bed starring at the ceiling with a million thoughts running though my mind, then a little hunger pang interrupted my thoughts and I had to quickly decide between the soft butter bread in the kitchen with some hot and crispy chicken nuggets sandwiched in between, or the delicious rice and stew in the fridge. I decided on the bread and chicken nuggets, and then zoomed to the kitchen. This was going to be my third serving so far that morning which was not helping my growing waist and thighs. In two months, I had gained almost 20 pounds! I retuned to the room with a healthy size of bread and more than a few chicken nuggets, hopped on the bed, and began to munch. I reached for the TV remote and switched on the TV. “Here it comes from the Bob Parker studios, on CBS in Hollywood, it’s the Price is Right!” The announcer’s voice came on with a room full of contestants in a variety of bright colored shirts jumping and cheering. Like always, I imagined being a contestant on the Price is Right, playing the game of plinko, and winning $20,000. That would’ve solved half of my problems. It had been two months since I lost my daycare job. I was still unable to find another job, and still was unable to pay off my college tuition debt.
After loosing my job at the daycare, I had planned to use my time at home to prepare for the GRE exams, but it was hard to find the zeal to study. I had attempted the exam back in May of that year, but my scores were too low. Feeling discouraged as a result of the low GRE scores, I decided to focus more on finding a good job than trying to get into graduate school. I prayed daily for a breakthrough, but I prayed amiss. I prayed for God to bring my own plans and my heart desires to pass, and failed to pray for God’s perfect will to come to fruition. The more my plans failed, the more frustrated I became. In all the disappointments and uncertainties, one thing was sure – my life was carefully orchestrated by God, I just didn’t know it yet. Proverbs 16:9 explains this perfectly: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
I was still munching my bread and chicken nuggets, and then my phone rang. It was my friend Maya (not her real name) whom I had worked with at the daycare. “Hey girl, how have you been? I’ve got good news for you! Bellsouth Teleperformance is hiring. All you need you need to do is show up dressed for an interview and bring your resume.” I was more than delighted to receive the good news. Bellsouth Teleperformance, also known as Calltech was a call center that provided technical support to residential and commercial internet customers. My friends had worked there back in college and would always complain about how stressful the job was. I was desperate for a job at this point and was ready to take on the challenges of working at a call center. The next day, I went to Calltech bright and early with a copy of my resume. I was asked to take a computer test in order to assess my technical skills. Thankfully, I passed the computer test and was asked to wait a bit longer in line to meet the manager for an informal interview. Almost an hour later, I was called into the manager’s office for my interview and was offered the job on the spot. I was overjoyed! Although the salary was minimum wage, I was grateful. It was better than nothing.
Two weeks later, I began a one-month training at Calltech. Immediately after my training, I started working as a Tier 1 technical support agent providing support to residential internet customers. Soon, I was moved up to Tier 2 and began providing support to the commercial customers. I absolutely loved the job! This is where I fell in love with Computer Science. It was at Bellsouth Teleperformance that I decided to further my studies in Computer Science instead of Environmental Engineering and then it began to make sense why the Lord had opened several doors for me the past few years in the Computer Science industry. During college, I was an intern at Hampton University, Virginia where I learned Grid Computing and also in college, I had attended a one-week all expense paid workshop at the University of Southern California (USC) where I got to see several presentations by students and computer scientists who were blazing the trail in their field, it all made sense now.
October 26, 2006 is a day I will never forget. A day that God interrupted my plans and began to give me clear directions for the next phase of my life. I sat in my cubicle that day and then a call came in… “Thank you for calling Bellsouth, this is Sana, how may I help you?” I used my best professional voice. “Oh great! Another foreign customer representative!” The caller mumbled. “Are you located in India? ‘Cos I need to speak to someone in the United States!” The caller said. “Oh no, I am located in the United States, how may I help you?” I replied. The customer breathed a sigh of relief and proceeded to explain his technical issues which I resolved promptly. It had been two months since I started the job, and had gotten pretty good at resolving technical issues in record time and did excellent on all my call monitoring. Shortly after the call, I got a call from a coworker and was asked to come to the front desk immediately. As I walked to the front desk, I was startled by the little commotion going on and wasn’t sure why several people were walking out with boxes and others standing around in little groups chatting with confusing looks on their faces. I approached the front desk and the man who looked like a director, or a manager looked up with a very cold look on his face and said to me: “Please turn in your name tag and access card, we are laying you off along with all our newly hired staff. Our customer service ratings have significantly dropped lately and we believe that lack of experience from our new staff have contributed to this.” I froze with shock and was completely speechless. I turned in my name tag and access card and walked back to my desk really confused. I quickly packed up my stuff and walked out the door without saying any goodbyes the whole time asking God why. To my surprise, I did not shed a tear. In the midst of a very confusing moment, I was at peace and so I began to praise God as I drove home. I felt the joy of the Lord deep inside my heart. As I drove home praising, I heard clearly in my spirit, “The next step is graduate school.” The words replayed in my spirit over and over again. There was a certain urgency to that voice and I knew I had to do something immediately. When I got home, I told my mother with a big smile on my face that I just got laid off and she was puzzled as she watched me deliver a sad news with a big grin on my face. Then I told her, “Mum you remember how I’ve always wanted to return to school for my Masters? I think I need to retake the GRE exam and start applying for Graduate School admission. “You have my full support. Sorry about your job!” My mum replied. That afternoon, I went to the electronic store and bought a laptop, then I went to the book store and bought new sets of GRE preparation materials. I started preparing for GRE, and also started researching potential graduate schools. And so, my long, arduous journey to gain graduate school admission began with God guiding me all the way.
To be continued…