In the African American culture, we are taught to get a good job. If you get that good job, you stick with it. We are taught to work hard. We use that saying ” God won’t put more on you than you can bear. Pray about it. He’ll give you strength. You are getting paid good money with good benefits. Even when hard things come, it’s ok. God blessed you with it. You better be thankful. You don’t quit because someone else would love to have that job.” For twenty two years, that’s exactly what I did.
I was taught to give my best at whatever I did. I went to work and always gave it 100%. Was I perfect employee? No. I made mistakes, but I learned from mistakes. I didn’t repeat that mistake again. Prior to my current job, I worked at another financial institution for almost three years and the last one for a little over twenty-two years. I loved what I did and loved my customers. I loved working with customers and helping them repair credit. I enjoyed going to the classrooms and educating children about banking. I loved volunteering and being a part of the community. My last years of employment were no longer a pleasure going to work each day. I had people that began to lie. I would say pull the cameras or let’s have a joint discussion. Those request never happened. Things are different in corporate America. A lot of times, management will identify a strong African American woman that speaks up for herself as defiant. If a man does it, that man is a leader. My request were always ignored. Management said why would this person lie on you .People have been lying on people since the days of Jesus. Folks lie on innocent people every single day. Innocent people are in jail for someone lies because they didn’t want the blame to be on them. If a person wants to get to the truth, he/she can, but the truth has to want to be sought. I had a former manager that was worried about staff not liking him. I remember saying to him that people didn’t like Jesus. Everyone wasn’t going to like him. Who was I to think that they wouldn’t lie on me?
I continued to accept the behavior because of the things I’d been taught. It was a good job. I’d been there a long time. I was making good money. I had seniority when it came to taking vacations. I had great benefits. I put up with toxicity longer that what I should have for those reasons. The write ups were becoming more frequent, and the accusations became worse. There were plenty of chances and reason that I should have left, but I was complacent. Things would get good again. I’d forget about the bad things/lies being told until it happened again. I’d become accustomed to toxicity. I feel that God had to allow things to get extremely bad and to that point in order for Him to get my attention to want to leave. If things hadn’t gotten to that point, I would have continued to stay because I wanted to prove that I was no “quitter.”
November 2021, I submitted an internal application. That was my first time applying for anything different because I truly loved what I did. I didn’t get the job. At the first of the year, I began to apply in the Southaven/Memphis area at other financial institutions. I applied for over twenty different positions. Some institutions had four rounds of interviews. I would make it to the last interview, but I wasn’t getting the jobs. I knew that with almost twenty five of years of banking experience I was qualified. I’d even make it to be the last two candidates. I got discouraged and stopped applying. I was tired of being told no. I prayed to God and asked for Him to give me peace.
He gave me peace, but it wasn’t the way I expected. Last year, I was having excruciating pain in my shoulder I’d been going to physical therapy for quite some time. I’d received three cortisone shots in my shoulder. My doctor said that I need to have a MRI. It wasn’t good that my shoulder wasn’t healing. The MRI revealed a tear. May 24, 2022, I had shoulder surgery and was off work. It was going to be at least six weeks. I dreaded having the surgery, but I needed a mental break. He gave me the peace that I’d asked for in prayer. When you pray, be specific. ☺️
As it was getting closer time for me to return to work, I told God that I wanted Him to open a door for me. I needed a fresh start. I really wanted to move to another area to work. One day during prayer, God spoke to me clearly and said “teach.” It wasn’t shocking because I have family that are educators. I was totally at peace with it. Another reason was conversations that I’d had with my therapist and friends. In one of my therapy sessions, Sandy told me if you can’t change the world you’re in. You change your world. Some dear friends and my daughter told my that I should think about a career change. I said nawww. I like banking. A few days before God spoke to me, one of my long time friends changed careers. She made a Facebook post and said who’s to say that you can’t change careers after 40. When God spoke to me that day, I said God. You were trying to tell me then, but I wasn’t listening. I had to have this surgery for You to clear my mind and speak to me. Once I said yes to Him, He began opening doors and lining everything up in His will. I understood why I was getting those no’s on all those banking applications. Jeremiah 29:11 says I know the plans I have for you.” Those bank jobs weren’t the plans He had for me.
I knew I wanted to teach English. With my degree not being in education, I would have to do the alternate route. God begin to places names of people I knew in education. He, only, allowed me to speak about the transitioning to certain people. It wasn’t something that I wanted to get around the bank that I was job searching. He gave me the names of four individuals that I used for references that would keep everything confidential. I began applying for jobs (permanent substitute) in Tupelo Public School District. I even had an interview for it. One of my friends told me about Florida needing teachers and how the pay worked. I decided to apply.
I was supposed to return from FMLA the first week of July, but my return doctor’s follow up appointment was changed. I went to pick up my paperwork and inquired about when my appointment was with the nurse practitioner. I’d missed her phone calls due to physical therapy. I assumed they were courtesy calls. With me missing the calls, I had to get a later appointment. That day, I was in tears. I said God. I didn’t ask for my appointment to be changed. The bank is going to think I am faking. This is another entire three weeks before I go back to work. My short term disability hasn’t been approved. What am I going to do? I was frantic. I didn’t know what God had in store for me. Again, His will was not my will. Later, I realized why the changed occurred. With my appointment being changed, it allowed me to drive to Florida to get my drug test, finger printing done, and other paperwork for the school district.
I was offered the job. I had all kinds of emotions running through my mind. The first call I made was to my children. I got them on a four way call. I told them about the job offer. They told me to take it. They said I needed this for me. They were correct. I NEVER in my life thought I’d move. I love to travel, but I assumed that I’d live in Mississippi all my life. I’d encouraged my children to move when they graduated if that’s what they desired. I was hesitant to take the job because I’d never left home. I am forty five and never lived alone. I had my oldest daughter at eighteen. When I graduated from high school, I commuted back and forth to Oxford for two years. Then, my ex-husband, and I got married. We were married for almost twelve years. After we got divorced, I moved in with my parents. It was scary to think about relocating and leaving my mom, family, and friends behind. My children were right. I needed to do this for me. I accepted the job, and everything moved fast. I went to work on July 14th, and I quit later that day. It was an immediate weight lifted off my shoulders. If you have ever been mentally drained about anything, you know the feeling of exhilaration when you let it go. This only gave me about two and half weeks to get everything to leave. I found an apartment. It is in a great part of town. It’s only 8 miles away from the school. My dad agreed to drive my things to Florida in the Uhaul. This was all a blessing.
When the school made it official, I made a post on my social media pages. One of my former coworkers shared the post. The ironic thing is that I used to be her after school camp leader when she was in elementary school. That day, God brought to my remembrance all the jobs that I’d held. My first jobs were babysitting for families. When I was a teenager, my first job was with the City of Tupelo as an after school counselor. As stated previously, I went to the schools and taught about financial literacy. I was a Sunday school teacher for years at church. I was a mentor at THS when they had their mentorship program (troubled youth and teenage pregnancy). I served as board member for AEE (Association for Educational Excellence) for several years. It awarded grants to teachers to do innovative things in their classroom. After my time was served, I continued to read the grants each year. God said you might have gone about teaching in a different way of getting here, but you are now walking in your purpose. This is what you were called to do. All I could do was cry and thank Him.
Even though this transition (new state, new career, and move) was scary, it was one of the best things I have done for myself in my life. For over half of my life, all I’ve known was banking. I had to redirect my thinking to learn something new. School began on August 4th. If you have seen my stories on social media, you will hear me say the students referring to me as “Ms Long.” That’s because on my birthday, in June, I did two things for me. One was changing my last name back to Long. I have had three different lawyers from the time of my divorce up to now. I didn’t know to ask the previous two, but I would have assumed that they would ask. It wasn’t as if I had ever been divorced before. I didn’t know to specifically ask for the request. With my last attorney, I made sure I asked him to place it in the working for me to go back to Carman T Long. It wasn’t finalized in my paperwork until November 2020. If you know me, I’m taking trips. I had one three different international trips. I couldn’t change my passport. I had my last one for this year in February. I wanted to do something special and memorable for me on my birthday this year.
The second thing for me for my birthday was getting a sun tattoo. The sun tattoo is symbolic to me. It represents my personality and starting over. I had no idea in June that my life would be starting a new chapter in life a month later. After you have been in a season of rain, you are happy for the sun to come out. The sun is strong and powerful. This morning, I got up before 5:00 am to see the sunrise on the beach in the great state of Florida. Sunrises are a beautiful thing. They represent a new day and a new beginning. Sometimes, we have to create our own sunsets. Don’t get complacent on that job or relationship. If you know you deserve better, you should go for it. Regardless of what happened the day before or in your past, I want you to remember this. You are never too old to start over.