13 February 2012


Well, I’m employed, and the only thing I can say about this interview and hiring process is that is was unlike anything I have ever experienced.

I have known since October that the organization for which I volunteer would be looking for someone to run the sessions. I did think about what it would be like to be an instructor but I never once considered applying for the position. For one, my horse experience is Western, down-on-the-farm riding, not English, boarding-and-beyond-technical proper training.

For another, I have zero experience in relation to hippotherapy or how to help people with disabilities by sitting them on a horse – outside of my five months of volunteering.

After a couple months, the organization did hire someone who ended up not committing. The abrupt loss of an instructor sent the staff members into a desperate frenzy to hire someone, which is where God came in and threw me a curveball I never saw coming.

Three weeks ago Paul and I were surprised with an unexpected expense. The amount was not bank breaking and Paul was not worried about coming up with the money to settle the charge but we both prayed that God would provide the funds.

At a Monday afternoon session the next week, my coordinator made a comment about me applying for the position. I brushed off her comment and stated that I did not have any of the required certifications.

The next day, I received a call from the executive director. She asked if I would be interested in applying for the open position. I was quite surprised by her words and immediately advised her that I did not meet any of the qualifications.

“You have horse experience, yes?”

“Some,” I replied, as in not enough to make me qualified to fulfill the role.

She advised me that they were having a difficult time finding people to fill the role as the qualifications were written. Ultimately, they decided that they could pay to certify the correct person if they needed and would provide on-the-job training. What she really wanted was someone who understood the organization from the inside, someone who had a passion for the organization and its purpose.

I told her I would think about it and respond in the next day or so. After thinking it over and speaking with my husband, I decided to go ahead and move forward, formally expressing my interest.

The next step was to submit a résumé stating my credentials. Great. How was I supposed to take a three-page document outlining my communications and event planning experience and gear it toward horse instruction and hippotherapy?

Revising my information actually turned out to be easier than I had originally thought, once I realized that I could add all of my volunteering experience into my “Professional Experience” section.

Last week I interviewed with the executive director and one of the two staff instructors. I was not nervous; I felt prepared. I thought that there were a few moments in the interview when I could have said something in a better way but it was what it was.

Unlike my prior interviews over the years, this one did not consist of questions regarding my experience related to the position. The interview was more like, “Your horse experience is limited.”

“Yes, it is limited. And I learned to ride on a farm so the way I learned to do things is different from how we teach the riders to do things. “

There were no questions about my experience with working with people who have either a physical or a mental disability. I did not get to talk about growing up with my brother who had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, learning disabilities, a ton of energy and a really short temper. I did not have the opportunity to speak about my next-door neighbors, two of which suffered from severe brain disabilities and one who had physical and brain deficiencies and was non-verbal, meaning we mostly communicated through sign language and our own little gestures.

I was asked two or three questions before I was asked if I had any questions, which was pretty quick in my opinion. No one explained the work schedule or the specific responsibilities, so I asked. I knew there was a lot to the position but I quickly learned that there was a lot more.

As the interview was coming to a close, I was asked if I would accept the job should it be offered to me. I was so shocked by the question. I should have said, “If I was to be offered the job, I would consider the offer and talk it over with my husband before making a decision, but my presence here today shows my interest in joining the team.”

Did I say that? Nooooooooooooooo. I responded, eyes wide, “Yes.”

“You will?” The director looked so excited.

Before I knew it, the director looked over at the instructor and advised that they did not have any further questions. Great, I thought. Time to go home and think about all of this.


I was offered the job at the table, my salary was announced in front of the other instructor and I was asked to immediately accept the position – starting Monday.

When I left the room, I was completely overwhelmed. What just happened, I wondered. Usually at the end of an interview, I am thanked for my time and advised that if I am selected I will be contacted by the end of the week and will receive a formal offer.

I have some time to process the interview. If an offer is made, I have everything in writing, review the document and have a couple days to respond.

So, when I got home and advised my husband that I had just technically accepted a job where my hours would be 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, he flipped out and immediately advised that I should not take the job.

I have a one-hour commute to the arena each way, meaning that I would need to leave my house around 6:15 and would likely return around 7:30.

What was happening to me? I thought I wanted to work. Before I knew it, fears of burnout and marriage strain quickly came to the forefront of my mind. When I worked a million hours before, Paul was gone five to six days a week. For the last year, I have been home with Paul, hanging out in the middle of the day. We often stay home on the weekends because we want to avoid the crowds. If I work through the week, date days and shopping trips would have to occur on the weekends. Apparently I quite enjoy not working and am somewhat saddened by the idea of not having the option to hang out with Paul every day.

Then more questions filled my head. How am I going to plan meals for Paul while I am at work five days a week? We all know that he can’t even make himself a grilled cheese sandwich or operate the microwave. Why did I want a job?

Though there seem to be a lot of things to worry about, I ultimately decided that this opportunity is here at this time for a reason. The job meets all of my previously-stated qualifications and it comes at a time when Paul and I could really use some extra money in the bank account.

I was able to speak to the director about the schedule and she agreed to reduce my hours to four days a week. My self-doubt about my lack of skills led to prayer to provide me those skills and take over where I lack. My will to survive will always be with me because I have an inherent fear of failure. I never want to disappoint anyone so my drive to succeed is one of my strongest attributes.

There are a lot of benefits to this job – so many that I never even considered while job hunting. For instance, my work wardrobe shopping budget drastically decreased. No longer do I need to spend money on suits or pants or dresses. Sadly, this also means that I have no need for fancy shoes, either.

Knowing that I will be working outdoors most of the day means that I really won’t put a whole lot of effort into my appearance. I can find ways to make jodhpurs and polos trendy.

The three-day weekend that I always wished for has finally come into my life. Amazing. And, I seem to remember wondering why I could never take an extended lunch break, when I had time to leave my desk. Singapore, for those of you who do not know, has a bit of Mexico mixed in – unfortunately, not in the food category. People take full advantage of siestas in Singapore. Businesses shut down. If one needs to call a business of any kind, do not call between the hours of 12 and 1:30 because no one will answer…and there are no voice mail voices either, so don’t think you can leave a message.

So, to recap, in my new role, I get to:
  • Work outside instead of behind the walls of cubicle city
  • Wear comfy leggings
  • Wear my hair in a pony tail every day
  • Work four days a week
  • Enjoy a three-day weekend
  • Take a mandatory two-hour lunch break every day
  • Work with horses, amazing volunteers and some fabulous riders

Even though this is not a communications role, I do have an opportunity to provide communications recommendations and support, which is fantastic. There is a definite need for increased awareness about the program, the people the organization serves and the fundraising efforts.

Though Paul’s employment pass took three months to get approved, mine was approved in two days. I received a call Saturday stating that I would be reporting for duty at 7:30 a.m. Monday. Like the night before my first day of school, I have shopped for my supplies, I have packed my lunch and supply bag and I have laid out everything I will need. Tomorrow, my alarm will be going off at 5:30 and I guarantee my brain will want more sleep. And that’s why God created coffee!

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