The people weren't the problem, the jargon and culture of IT (information technology) was the struggle. Understanding that in Kenya I'd used a Commodore 128 and 5" floppy discs explains where I was technologically. We'd only gotten a land-line phone about four years before arriving in Jellico! So, the many terms associated with the information systems world, compounded with the worlds of recruiting and business spun my head daily. The phone interviews I had to conduct with programmers, designers, project managers, engineers, and a range of other professionals tightened the knots in my stomach into knots. Happy to have work, I still dreaded each new day and rejoiced --exhaustedly-- when one ended.
Dwane calmly assured me that it would all come together eventually and that if a professional could not explain to me, in lay terms, what they did, they weren't qualified to do their work. I took comfort in this. There was just one thing in which he could not offer assurance or comfort, and he admitted it.
He had operated a debt-free company and the funds he'd allotted for me and my 'learning curve' were only sufficient for three months. At the end of the three months, if there were no placements (meaning getting someone a job with a client of ours), then the whole thing would be over. Dwane plainly said, "Steve, I don't know if it can be done. It took me 18 months before I made my first placement, but I'm willing to try if you are."
I converted a corner in our bedroom in the attic into a "Hi-Tech" office. There was just enough room for a tiny desk and chair. My tools included internet, a laptop, a fax machine, a cell phone, and prayer.
4/4/97 On many occasions God has provided in the most unusual and unexpected ways. This entry from early April is an example: "Received an email from F.G. explaining how he and his wife had formed a Limited Partnership listing GoodSoil Ministries, inc. as the other partner. He would be the General Partner, be liable for any actions against the partnership and own only 10% of the partnership. In other words, GoodSoil would receive 90% of any yield."
He explained, “I was going to place my church into the position of receiving this money on an annual basis, sort of like a tithe, but after discussing this with my wife, and our praying about this, I was led to place your mission into this place.”
The end of the three month trial with Hi-Tech was the last day of June. I had worked hard, but not made my first placement. A couple of possibilities were in the works, but nothing was certain. Dwane and I were praying together and individually. Those knots of mine were worse than ever as I held my breath in hopes that a company in Colleyville, Texas or one in Knoxville, Tennessee might hire candidates I had presented to them.
June 30th was what Dwane called the "Drop-Dead Deadline". It no placements by me, or by him had been made then he'd have no choice but to discontinue the opportunity. He wanted it as badly as I, so we both struggled to keep our thoughts calmed and our hearts from leaping into our throats as he spoke to the CFO of the Texas company. It was roughly 4 p.m. EST and the CFO had called to discuss the AS-400 Programmer I'd presented to them and whom they'd interviewed. We'd reached the drop-dead deadline day.
6/30/97 Drop-dead deadline day. WS the CFO of E-company called while I was interviewing a candidate for Levi Strauss Co. WS and Dwane discussed several issues on the phone regarding the candidate I’d submitted for a requirement at E-company. The call was 3-way so I was listening as they discussed details. The conversation wound to a conclusion and then.... WS accepted my candidate! My first account had come exactly 3 months from when Dwane and I officially began together--to the very day.”
I glanced at my watch immediately after WS accepted our candidate-- the time was just after 4 pm EST. The sale/placement had come in the final hour of the final day and netted Hi-Tech Resources $10,000.00 which was double what Dwane had allotted when he hired me. This ensured I’d have work for another 3-6 months. Praise the Lord for blessing us both!
For a few hours, my knots disappeared. Whew! the first half of 1997 was past. It would prove, by comparison, to be the dull half.