Why Oracle? Why Austin?
Typical questions you get right out of school.
Are you passionate about technology? No, but beginning to catch the Tech Nerd bug.
Spring of your senior year can be one of the most exciting and daunting times. You get this sense the entire world has just unfolded-it’s like flipping through a magazine catalogue or online shopping. You can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone. Depending on your situation you don’t need to even get a salary.
Yet it’s also terrifying…
Oh I was supposed to have spent the last four years figuring out what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Shoot I think I’ve seen more options that I ever have before, had new experiences, and am currently more confused with which option to take than ever before.
Sometimes you’re so busy doing life, being present, keeping up with your current job and school work that you don’t set aside time to dream. If you’re in college and reading this, please block out time on your calendar to be alone once a week with the Lord and dream. Turn off your phone, leave it in the car, take your dream journal and just dream. Looking back I sincerely wish I would have done this.
Sure I had a general plan in place. Ring by spring, be a June bride, decorate a cute little place, and be the local news broadcast morning anchor. Man was picked out, major in place, internships check, resume check, website check, we were good to execute the plan people.
Until life happened. Until the Lord rocked my world consistently tearing apart my plan for His good purpose. This whole “Tower of Babel” theme you may have read about in earlier posts, oh ya I didn’t learn my lesson the first time. The sinful planner in me came out once again.
In the spring as friends began narrowing down their job interviews I froze. To illustrate one of my good friends literally hates Subway because she gets too overwhelmed by all the choices available. She either avoids Subway as a whole or has someone order for her. Point blank that’s how I felt. Either let’s avoid this deal or someone pick for me. But the pressure was on. No one would be there to take care of me anymore. People had already stepped in way out of their way, I had to learn to stand on my two feet and truly run. The pressure was on, and I could paying of my student loans already breathing down my neck. It felt like I was standing at a cross roads. There were five different paths I could take.
I could continue to date and possibly marry said boy (which was the plan since 4th grade). And not just any boy. This guy-dedicated, loyal, faithful unto the Lord, handsome, heart of pure gold, and cream of the crop. The one I had waited to date for fifteen years. It was just supposed to work, that was part of the plan. I’d be a reporter first, but then hopefully the morning news anchor for a local Little Rock station. But it wasn’t clicking like I had dreamed it would.
I could work in Dallas for a public relations firm. Live up the Dallas life like I had the summer before. Already several friends were moving there. Community would be set and strong with a big Baylor presence already established.
I could go to seminary in Dallas. A wonderful opportunity, but that would mean more student loans.
I could go do the Forge, a discipleship program through Pine Cove, but that would be expensive but worth it.
I could take an offer to work in NYC for a public relations health firm, but living in NYC is crazy expensive and needing to pay off my student loans… that could be a train wreck of stress, but would it be worth it? (Crazy God side story: I was literally giving a tour of Baylor when a precious mom stopped me and said you need to meet my friend. You would love her! This woman immediately called her friend (the CEO of a major health PR firm in NYC) and put me on the phone.)
All these options and more swirling round and round ev ray day.
“Can you come to Austin tomorrow for an interview?” said Jonathan Carry, former Rice football player, Oracle college recruiter at the Baylor Career Fair. Earlier in the semester my marketing class was tasked to come up with a product or service for Oracle. Full on marketing project and presentation people. None other than Jonathan Carry viewed our presentations and liked our product “Rendezvous” -a one stop product for entrepreneurs to run their financial applications, social media channels, email, track shipping, and entire business without logging in and out of these various applications-ultimately saving them time and headache. After the presentations, Jean, my roommate and marketing teammate at the time, and I both stopped by to introduce ourselves to Jonathan. We chatted for a bit, but Oracle was not on my radar. It was just one of those big tech companies, and I knew squat about tech besides my iPhone. Let’s just say my MIS teacher at Baylor Ms. Moore was fabulous, but MIS was not my thang.
Press forward to the career fair where I literally stopped by the booth for the simple “why not just say hi to Jonathan to keep up a connection” when he dropped the interview invite. So there I was that evening studying about Larry Ellison, relational databases, the number of Oracle employees, and what the heck the “Red Stack” was.
Next day made the two hour drive S on I-35, got there literally an hour early because I was so nervous. I mean this is No.81 on Fortune 500 ranking and No. 13 out of IT companies kind of big.
The people were helpful sharing interview tips, friendly, essentially they were approachable. The first interviewer asked, “tell me about a challenging time.” Immediately I told him about not being able to go back to Baylor and all that the Lord did to allow us to return. When I shared of others giving and coming to our aid his comments surrounding the story made me pause again and be thankful for the opportunity to even sit for this interview and the people that got me there. Oracle only recruits from certain schools. Baylor is on the list, but the community college I may have ended up going to probably isn’t on the list. Again I reflected on God’s provision in placing me.
My next interviewer had this Boston style, ex-baseball player, coach kind-of mentality. It was time to put on your game face and play hardball. I felt this competitive spirit rise within me to prove to him I was more than just a sweet little Southern Belle, but that I am a hard worker and want to win for the team- that I don’t give 100%. I give 250% into all I do. This tenacity in me came out in the interview, something the Lord would be growing me in through this role.
Fast forward this guy, good ole BGR, becomes my manager.
As I head back to the front of the office I look around at all the cubicles. Clearly I heard the Lord say, “this is where I want you to be. I want to you love people here for my glory.”
Shocked by the statement I went into this thinking, “Oracle is my back burner. I could use the offer to leverage this with some PR firms potentially.” It was not top of the list to say the least, but the interview experience got me thinking a little more seriously about Oracle.
I continued with other interviews but couldn’t rattle what the Lord had said at the office. Maybe this was provision. Maybe this was where He wanted me instead of my plan. Just like that I put four to five options on the table, and God throws in a wild card.
Austin was for weird people, hippies, and moon worshipers. Austin Stone was cool. It’s an artsy city, a creative greenhouse, warm, and outdoorsy. Hmm I could handle that. No one I knew was moving there, so adventure right? But it’s still in Texas. I’d still be close to Mary Cate for her senior year. Ali would be in Waco. Abbey would be in Houston. Rachel and Fender would be in Dallas not that far, and I wanted to branch out.
I wanted to embark.
Embark on a new community, explore parts of myself I never had time to before, and most importantly to heal.
The last three to five years had been personally traumatic. Everything from betrayal, self-hate, regret, releasing of fantasy plans associated with certain people, survival, fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness, identity crisis, lost of family, lost of community, lost of home, etc.. Times when I chose various sins as almost this dark baby blanket of old nature instead of trusting the Gospel and walking in the newness of life He offers.
Healing. I knew I needed it. I knew I needed time to accept it.
I felt like a racket ball that had been swatted at across the room over and over for years without a break. Given the Lord had provided many wonderful times of joy and blessing through the midst of it, but on a whole the journey left me exhausted and confused.
“Laura Beth I am your provider. I’m providing healing, the ability to pay off your loans, restoration, rest, newness, trust me this is going to be a sweet time between us.”
So Austin? Sales? Oracle? okay here we go.
My oh my how I have been blown away by this opportunity in Austin to work for Oracle. Thankfully the Lord placed me on an incredible team with a great manager who’s style allows for creativity and independence. I love how our team comes from all different walks of life and backgrounds, more importantly I love learning from them. Together over the past nine months we’ve journeyed through watching Jeremy become a dad, Sakief get married and build a home, Rami buy a home, celebrated each others birthdays, and added great members to the team along the way. But it’s neat because we’ve become this little family.
Before Oracle I thought you were supposed to keep your personal life and work life separate, which is healthy to some degree, but these are the people I spend 45 hours with every week for nine months totaling around 1620 hours. So needless to say you get to know each other. Oh how the Lord has been so gracious to provide several friendships and insights.
My eyes have also become open to the authenticity that comes with working together, because these people see you on your good days, your bad days, and all in between. They see more than anyone, probably since high school, my reactions-which go one of two ways- trusting in self, trusting in others, or trusting the Lord. Unfortunately they probably see more trusting in self than trusting the Lord, which has been eye opening from an accountability stand point, and I’m thankful for it!
The desire of my heart is for them to see Jesus alive and at work. To see that I trust him more than self or selfish ambitions, but the desire may look different than my daily actions. It’s led to several good “heart checks” as Momma Moore would call it.
The more beautiful thing is that I went into this job thinking “okay the Lord wants to use me to share Truth” which I did not realize at the time how arrogant, prideful and self-righteous that statement was. They have taught me more than I could realize at the time. They have in subtle ways made me face the mirror to what I believe and how I act-for that I am extremely grateful. I’m thankful for the many gifts of friendship with them and to be invited into their journey, their families, their homes, and their lives. Daily I pray that the Lord bless them, watch over them, and draw them near to Him. In no way do I ever want to shove the Bible at someone. If I claim to follow Jesus and read about Him, He first had compassion on people, loved them well, provided food for them, and worked to meet their needs. Sometimes that looks like driving someone when their car is messed up, taking them a meal, writing an encouraging note, whatever opportunities come in to show His love, not my selfish love.
If you listen to what people speak about, you’ll hear what their passions are.
And it’s true! If you are truly living your life seeking after Jesus and to make His Name known, it will come up. You will talk about Him as you process decisions with people, wrestle with ideas, and bring others in along on your journey. As you are vulnerable, they will be too. And if they see first the Gospel of Jesus redeeming your life as you trust Him instead of yourself, maybe they’ll see Jesus in a different light. Maybe they’ll ask you.
But if you care about them as a image bearer of the Lord that He created maybe you’ll ask them too what their story is, why they’re here, and where they want to go.
Invest because you truly care about them. This is not a “how many people can I get to pray a prayer for Jesus and get saved?” tally mark race. This is much deeper. We’re talking about the souls of men and women here. We’re talking about a deep love. We’re talking about journeying with people not handing them a prayer book on a street corner and maybe inviting them to church. Hey people have been saved that way, but when I read about Jesus he didn’t ask them to hand out scrolls of the Gospel.
He sat and had dinner with the people- not just the rich, religious, intellectual, healthy people. He sought out the poor, the broken, outcasts, all ages, all races, all and talked to those around Him. Those who were at the market when He was there. He noticed His surroundings and invested in them. Heck his inner circle of friends, the 12 were fisherman, tax collectors (ya the people everyone at that time hated for scamming them), greedy, poor, selfish, and He invested in them. He loved them deeply and took care of them emotionally, physically and ultimately spiritually.
So how are we approaching our surroundings?
Who are we pointing the glory to in the decisions we make?
Thank you Jesus and coworkers for showing me the times I’m trusting in self instead of Jesus. Please continue to renew my heart and serve you, instead of self.
You’re going to work for a stingy, backstabbing, Fortune 100 company and in sales where all the greedy, greasy people are? Literal comments I heard going into this role. Needless to say I was nervous, guarded, and thought my friends would have to come from outside the office. I would just go in, be nice, work hard, and then go home to my friends.
Well when you’re 23 fresh out of school in a brand new city, you cling to whoever is around you at the time and they become your support system. Let me tell you it’s like a repeat of freshman year of college all over again except you don’t have a sorority or Baylor Welcome Week group to help you make friends. You’ve got work, church and the extended network of people you may meet from there.
So moving into Austin in July and leaving in a week for training in San Francisco didn’t leave much time to dive into community at church. So I boarded the plane and off we went all 250 of us new Austin hub Oracle peeps fresh out of college wide-eyed and eager to conquer this thing called “adult working life.”
They put all 500 of us from the other Oracle hubs together into the Crown Plaza in Burlington, CA outside of San Francisco for three weeks. This was also the farthest West I had ever been was skiing in Colorado or good ole Tucson for road trip spring break with the Hootenanny girls. Already on the plane ride over I loved hearing about one girl’s family heritage and trip to Israel. Everyone was from across the country with unique stories that the journalist in me couldn’t wait to interview and unpack.
All in all the Crown Plaza will bring you together, or maybe we’ll actually credit the fact that you were essentially all in a residence hall for three weeks together and have no one except each other. But regardless we went experienced life together-embarking on adventures, throwing the football around at Dolores Park after having one too many from the bottomless mimosas, dining together, keeping each other awake during the training sessions, and biking across the Golden Gate bridge together. These people became your home team, because it was all you had available and bonus they happen to be cool people. Win!
What I didn’t expect to find is a community who passionately love Jesus working at work. The Lord sparked the idea to one of the guys while we were at training to start a prayer group/bible study. Ten people showed up to the first one. There we were at breakfast with everyone was eating around us, could see we had our Bibles opened, and welcomed anyone who wanted to sit down and be part of it.
Two of the girls I met in training Jenny and Macaully plus their mutual friends grew into a bible study going through the book of 1 Peter. It’s a dynamic group of girls who aren’t afraid to shed some fronts and be open, raw, and honest. Something quite refreshing and rare in culture today. These girls have become my home team. The ones I would call if I was sick, needed something, I mean these are the girls you know have your back and are going to not only call you out on your sinful ish, they’re going to hold you tight, comfort you, and ultimately point you to Jesus. THAT IS RARE! It is SO rare to find that kind of squad right out of school in a new place, and weekly if not daily Macaully, Jenny, and I praise God for this crew.
Not only that but precious Jenny and I grab coffee together downstairs at Starbucks every week. Sometimes it’s twice or three times a week if needed. It’s truly hard to describe to you how much I truly treasure these coffee dates. I literally get giddy happy like Golden Retriever puppy when we’re about to go have coffee, plus refreshing beach breeze, a sprinkle of comedy, a dab of therapy, a squeeze of vulnerability, and an out pour of Truth revealed. To sum it up it’s literally THE BEST thing since someone put cookie dough in ice cream people!
An then recently to learn there’s already a group of older sales reps who meet together, pray, and study Scripture together once a week. All around people are just popping up who didn’t just fill in “Christianity” as their religion preference, but people who loved Jesus deeply and are committed to wanting to know Him more.
But this was the place you told me stingy, backstabbing, greedy, greasy people worked. I’m happy to report you couldn’t be more wrong, here I have found loving, encouraging, would take a bullet for you kind of relationships. And for the record there’s some of that in all of us because we’re frackin’ human people. We are sinful by nature.
Don’t leave your faith at the doorstep after you finish your coffee and daily scripture reading/devotional book. Bringing Jesus into every element which includes work. Let Him surge through the hallways, cubicles, and desks as His people from all walks of life come together.
He says, “where two or more are gathered in my Name there I will be” Matt. 18:20. So people I can confirm for you God is at Oracle-Austin. God is at work. He is alive and full of awesome surprises that humble you and remind you that He is God and you are not.
In His mercy He throws us curve balls right out of left field. He wipes away our blueprints that we just want him to sign off on, and instead He lays out a blank canvas. The ultimate artist, Creator, and party planner has already orchestrated it all. He’s the best author there ever was, is, or yet to be. I’m thankful that He’s writing on a much bigger scale than I was. Sure I struggle daily to accept this new adventure tangled and matted with screw ups and pain along the way. I struggle to accept the current status instead of my “Little Rock Barbie Dream House TV anchor” plan. But oh how I am grateful for the lessons learned and for the MANY I have yet to learn.
So when I doubt that I’m supposed to be in Austin, supposed to be at Oracle will someone reading this please smack me upside the head and remind me that the Lord works all things out for His good according to HIS purposes? Thanks.
Someone once told me, “Following Jesus isn’t fun.” It may not be what you originally think or grew up associating as fun, but if you like adventure it’s one sure hell of a ride people.