“That Chicken Job,” Ensign, Feb. 1986, 59
Newly married, my husband and I arrived at college for the fall semester with only our summer earnings to sustain us. We immediately began looking for jobs. My husband got work on campus; I headed for the community job market. On a routine visit to the employment office, I perused the contents of the many three-by-five-inch cards pinned to the bulletin board. A particular notice caught my attention. It advertised for workers at a poultry processing plant and promised steady hours five days a week. I must admit, steady hours five days a week was the main attraction, but the plant was several miles out of town. Surely, I thought, I could find something else—but my attention kept returning to that one card. A quiet prodding within me gently insisted, “Take it.”
“I’ll check it out,” I decided, feeling certain that I was mistaken. At the poultry plant, however, eyeing the bibbed rubber apron and the employment contract, I still felt the prompting—stronger than ever. I took the job and quickly settled into the routine of removing processed chickens from one assembly line and tossing them onto a table, hence to be placed on another assembly line for more processing.
Many different types of people worked at the poultry plant, providing me with a rather diversified view of humanity. I thought perhaps this—and what I could learn from it—was the reason I had been prompted to take the job.
But alas, steady hours five days a week did not materialize, and within two weeks I was again looking for a job, chagrined at my initial decision. “So much for my ‘inspiration,’” I thought.
I was relieved to get another job soon after. I was hired by a travel agency, and I loved the job instantly. My employers were even so magnanimous as to lend us some furniture they had in storage for some apartments they owned.
One Saturday, my boss dropped by in his pickup truck, and we went with him to select some much-needed furnishings from his supply. On the return trip, my husband sat in back with the furniture, and I sat in the cab with my employer. Somehow the conversation turned to the reasons I had been chosen over the other job applicants.
“You know why we hired you, don’t you?” he queried.
Modesty forbade my listing the obvious reasons: I was fluent in two foreign languages, had toured Europe after my mission, and had worked for the travel bureau on campus the year before.
“No, why?” I asked. I was not at all prepared for his response.
“It was because you were working out at that chicken place. We knew you were serious about work.”
Though my ego took a minor beating, the quiet calm of the Spirit eventually took over. So that was the reason I had felt moved to take that chicken job! And because I had followed the prompting, a job that met our circumstances better, and which I personally found more to my liking, had presented itself.
This experience was a clear illustration to me that the influence of the Spirit in our individual lives is custom-made—and that God truly does “move in mysterious ways”!