Learn Something You’re Bad At: A Lesson From My First Job

After completing my undergraduate degree at Biola University in late 2016, I found myself at one of the most unusual jobs I could have imagined for myself. One month after graduating, I pulled up to an ancient, 1920’s house off a dusty country road. In the side yard was a large warehouse, full of loud baritone laughter and a wall of large industrial tools I didn’t recognize. My boss was a sturdy, Irish-American man who bragged about the business degree he obtained from the school of hard knocks. With a communication studies degree, I was appointed the tasks of customer relations and soul sucking telemarketing. My dreams of writing were put on hold as I plunged headfirst into an ocean of saving and uncertainty. Each day, I would show up just after the Central Valley sunrise bloomed over the sand colored hills. That barren road had the most gorgeous view at 6:30am. Petals of crimson and vibrant orange burst across the sky, pink ribbons dwindling through smokey clouds. 

After six months of cold calling and filing, the office accountant decided to take another job. We had one week to fill the position. I’ll never forget the heavy sound of boots as the back door squeaked open one stale morning. 

“Could you take over until we find somebody new?” my boss gruffly inquired. 

The new tasks laid before me were daunting. I now had to schedule all of the industrial jobs, memorize the makings of water wells, learn which pumps saved the most water, and bill for every single customer. If you are at all familiar with the farming industry, you know the work is incredibly seasonal. That first summer was a busy one and we often had more work than men. Tulare County is part of the Agriculture capital of the world. It was a good thing I had my own office, otherwise my rough handed coworkers would have made fun of my red face and running mascara. They were fun to work with, always keeping me on my toes and throwing encouragement my way. 

Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings, he will not stand before obscure men.” When I first arrived at Ingram Equipment Company, I had no experience with accounting or running a small, industrial well business. Math was my worst subject, and here I was billing and keeping track of inventory worth ample amounts of money. There will be times in your life when you are called to obtain skills you have no given talent in. Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” 

The work I had been appointed to do taught me a lot about my ability to learn skills absolutely foreign to me. There was a lot of failure and tears along the way. Some days I was embarrassed, wondering what my industry veteran colleagues thought of my slip ups. I was the youngest at the company, and for a while, the only woman. Some of the most valuable lessons I learned had little to do with skill at all. The greatest gift I received from this experience was the gift of confidence. The Colossians verse echoes this truth. Whatever we do should be for the glory of God, without worrying what other people might think. Skills are vital to our talent, even if they have nothing to do with the gifts that come most naturally to us. 

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