For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. I was thinking about this verse yesterday. I usually hear it taught in regards to theological teachers - but it has really rung true in my professional life. To make a long story short, I have worked since I was fourteen, always improving my education and my position. In "the rise to the top" (anyone have any idea what the mysterious top is?) I have had jobs where the money and the titles were highly impressive to the secular world. They came with trade offs that were equally impressive. One of most brilliant scientists I ever had the pleasure of working for used to say, "The trouble with winning the rat race is you are still surrounded by rats." I guess, technically, I hit the top when I found myself running a DNA research lab. There was just one person above me, a scientist who was totally dishonest. First day on the job they told me to forge a signature on a check, and that was the highlight of our relationship. I ended up turning them in for all kinds of ethical vioaltions under the protections of whistle blower act. The wheels of justice are slow, and there just aren't that many DNA labs in our city so finding another job of equal pay and equal status without moving was as likely as my being able to flap my arms, fly to the shuttle and fix it. This was before a drunk driver ruined my life, so I didn't need the title or that much money. I did need more time with my kids, and less stress on the job. Rather than stay in that nightmare I took a non-professional position and a tremendously large pay cut, but it was a carefully thought out situation geared to allow more time with my family. It turned out that this was a blessing from God in disguise. I hadn't been on that job two months when my spouse and kids were in the car accident. Had I been working for anyone less understanding about leave time, or had I been in a position of greater responsibility - I couldn't have been there for my family. I worked well there for years with a wonderful man, and that "non-professional" position became a professional one. He was very good at what he did, and what he did was counseling. I was very good at business management, research and grant writing. We made a wonderful team. I viewed counseling as a type of ministry, and he liked that attitude, so we both wanted to move the clinic in the same direction, built around meeting cient needs first. We were state owned though, through an affiliation with a University, so he didn't get to pick his replacement. When he retired, he explained to me that I needed to get out. His replacement was not who he would have chosen. The person was one of his employees, and she was good at what he hired her to do, but she was not good at the broader scope of things and he knew that, and had tried to tell others that. Over the previous years she had always resented that in power struggles our boss had followed my lead over hers. I had always, to be frank, looked down on her, though she was a Jones Scholar. Her doctoral thesis, in my opinion, was a joke. It was on sex therapy. She came to work two hours late, took three hours lunches, left two hours early and claimed she was working weekends. I knew better because I did, and she never showed up. Our employer had "looked the other way" because he said she did what he wanted her to do. In trying to explain budgets to the woman I got so frustrated at one point that I said, "Look, yes, you DID get this much money for the year, but you can't go shopping with it because it is committed to salary and standard expenses. Think of it this way. You earn (I gave her gross salary), and you take home (I gave her the net salary), but you have your house payment and your car payment, so you know you can't spend the whole (I gave her the net salary) on groceries and new shoes every month. This is the same thing." She said, "Why can't I spend it on groceries?" Our former employer had spent 30 years building a comprehensive center that dealt with relationship counseling for couples, college roommates, and families; rape crisis counseling; pain management; suicide prevention; career counseling; skills assessment; stress and anger management; coping with learning disabilities; and social anxiety; and substance abuse counseling. We'd operated a swing shift so that clients could see a counselor anytime from 8 am to 9 pm four weeks a night. She redid our hours, killing anything before 9 or after 4. She also killed most of those programs her first six weeks on the job, (relationship was limited to marriges or to gay couples; pain management and learning disability and skills assessment were canceled, substance abuse was cancelled, anger management was cancelled) and she opened up sessions for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender groups, and for "Allies of GLBT". I wanted/needed out. She wanted me out. She gave me my first ever negative job performance evaluation saying that if she couldn't understand it, it must not be good. So I went looking and my current job opened up. I took it with pleasure. The title still isn't impressive, and the pay still isn't grand, but the people are wonderful, the job duties are wonderful, and the focus is on the clientele again. I'm thrilled to be where I am. In fact, this is the happiest, job wise, I've been in many years, even with some of the wonderful people I worked for in the past. Here, I have a LOT of Christians around me. Its wonderful to step into the break room and be able to discuss Christian Theology with experts in the field. Its amazing to be able to go up the hall and say, "I have a prayer request," and have someone say, "Let's pray now." So - the least and the most passages of scripture make a lot more sense to me now than they did when I was young.