Thursday, February 25, 2010

And the winner is...


That's right, ladies and germs, I am the proudest new employee of H-E-B, or Howard E. Butt grocery company (not the official name).
Last Wednesday (17th) I went to Houston for an interview with H-E-B (do I really have to type those hypens every time?) at their Houston Retail Support Center, which is a distribution center/milk plant/bakery located one complex in Northwest Houston (think the intersection of 290 and Beltway 8, but on the inside and a few miles in).

The position I interviewed for was for Quality Control Technician at either the milk plant or bakery.  The interview went very well (three interviewers, at least two were Aggies), and then I got a tour of the milk plant.  Leaving the interview I felt very good about it, but didn't relish the thought of moving to H-town.

On Friday I got a call offering me the position (two days after interviewing). I told them I'd let them know next week as I wanted to get ahold of another company I had interviewed with twice.  The short version of the story is that the other company (Company B from the post below, soon to be revealed in this post) said that would get back to me before my deadline to talk to H-E-B. They didn't, even though I called again, and again.  Finally, a decision needed to be made, so I called H-E-B yesterday morning and accepted the job offer.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I got the QC Tech position in the bakery.

I've turned in my two-weeks notice at CSISD and will finish bus driving the week of March 12th, then move all my stuff to Houston on the 13th, and start at H-E-B on the 22nd (the Monday after spring break).

This Saturday, the 27th, I plan on going to Houston to check out apartments I've been looking at online. I didn't originally plan to, but it looks as though I'll be signing a lease the same day because I don't know when else I'd be able to take care of it (and move-in is only two weeks away).

Right now the thought is to get a cheap, 1 bedroom apartment on a 6 month lease (to leave myself open for a change later). I've been contacting different people I know in Houston to see if they know of any potential roommate situations, and one opportunity might be in the works (waiting to hear from the guy). So that'd be cool.

Now, for those of you keeping score at home, the not-so-mystery companies listed in the post below are:

Company A - Otis Spunkmeyer
Company B - Sanderson Farms, specifically their plant in Bryan
Company C - H-E-B
Company D - Anheuser-Busch (yes, I totally would have worked for them if they offered me a job)

Some prayer requests:

-Finding good housing and knowing which part of town to live in, and that a good roommate situation would come about
-Finding a church home and community within that church.  It seems you can find a church with sound doctrine and teaching, but whether or not the members live it out is another story.  And finding good community seems even more daunting, as many churches don't seem to grasp the importance of unity that results in close community between Christians.
-That I would seek to build community and not simply wait for it to fall into my lap
-Adjusting to the work schedule (12 hour days, 5 AM - 5 PM, for 3.5 days/week)

And please pray for wisdom and discernment in all these areas.

Well, that's pretty much the 411. I leave you with some tidbits about the company I'll be working for:

-H-E-B owns and operates about 310 stores total, of which roughly 30 are located in Mexico.  The H-E-B brands include H-E-B, Mi Tienda, Central Market, H-E-B Plus!, and local "market" stores (Kingwood Market, etc.).
-H-E-B is the largest privately owned company in Texas, with revenues of about $15.5 billion in 2008.  It currently employs 70,000+ people (as of 2008ish).

-Read that line above again. The largest privately owned company in Texas. That is quite ridiculous.

-H-E-B is based in San Antonio.

-H-E-B dominates the central Texas grocery market and is steadily expanding in the Houston area.  While Wal-Mart holds a significant share of the market in the DFW area, H-E-B does have stores in the area and I believe is planning to expand there in coming years.

-H-E-B is well known for their store culture, targeting the product selection to the community the store is located in, and for having excellent self-branded (ie: H-E-B brand, not Hill Country Fare) products.  It is said that they will not produce a clone product under the H-E-B label unless the product cannot at least match, if not exceed, the quality of the major brand version of that same product.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Arise, O God and Shine

I like a lot of modern Christian music, but I gotta confess: Much of the lyrics, while true, just aren't deeply satisfying. They just can't compare to the deep theological truths of older hymns. I hope you're taking time to check out the older stuff and not just filling your head with the latest KSBJ/KLTY/Tomlin/Jeremy Camp/etc. dribble.

(Case in point: I googled "arise o god an shine lyrics" and the first option listed was to listen to a clip of "Shine" by Matt Redman. Are you kidding me?)

This one is an old one, but I don't know how old (one source says it was written by William Hurn in 1813). At any rate, the words are great. You can listen to a clip of a version I like by going to and clicking on track #5.

Arise, O God, and shine
In all Thy saving might
And prosper each design
To spread Thy glorious light;
Let healing streams of mercy flow
That all the earth Thy truth may know.

Bring distant nations near
To sing Thy glorious praise;
Let every people hear
And learn Thy holy ways.
Reign, mighty God, assert Thy cause
And govern by Thy righteous laws.

Put forth Thy glorious power
That everyone may see
And earth present her store
In converts born to Thee.
God, our own God, His Church will bless
And fill the world with righteousness.

To God, the only Wise,
The one immortal King,
Let hallelujahs rise
From every living thing;
Let all that breathe, on every coast,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Search Marches On (this is a friggin long post)

A little update on the job hunt.

I've been filling out applications, submitting resumes, emailing people, writing cover letters, and generally checking out all the options. At this point, I'm thinking I want to move out of the B/CS, but ultimately will go wherever God winds up giving me a job. In terms of how I "feel" about the right direction, I don't really feel strongly led to leave, but I desire to. I don't really feel strongly led to stay, but I'm leaning toward not staying. I'm kinda leaning toward the DFW area.

Something I learned last year is that there are actually genuine Christians that love Jesus and desire to follow Him in places other than Bryan/College Station. This was quite shocking to me as I thought the rest of the state and the Bible belt were pretty much a bunch of church fakers bent on having nice buildings, coffee shops, and comfortable lives that don't require sacrifice, challenge, change, or the Bible. Turns out, there do exist people and churches that don't fit this category. Who knew. This was an encouraging discovery in terms of figuring out whether to stay or go.

Alright. Some specific job opportunity updates. These are companies and jobs that I've either applied for or been contacted about. It's encouraging that I've had so many bites on my applications and resume.

Company A - A large cookie dough manufacturer with a plant in Austin. I applied for a quality control technician position with them and was interviewed on February 2nd. The interview was OK, but the pay would be super low (for a position that requires a degree? come on!) and I probably wouldn't be able to live on it. There also didn't seem to be much opportunity for advancement in the company. The pros would be that I would get to live in Austin and hey, unlimited cookie sampling, right?

Company B - Company B actually contacted me before company A, based on a resume I had emailed to their corporate office. They are a meat/poultry (to be general and vague) processor with a plant in Bryan. I had a several hour long interview/tour/talk to different people/they took me out to lunch (nice!). I went back again to meet some other people this week and was able to get a better feel for the place. The position would be either a manager trainee position or quality control supervisor, if it was open (I doubt I'd get directly hired for this one). The pros are location (no moving), pay (would be decent, but not overwhelmingly wonderful), and good experience in the food industry. There also seemed to be a lot of opportunity to advance within the company, and the company itself seemed to be excellent. Cons include location (not getting to move), hours (super long...50-60/week), dirty grunt work during the training part of the program, and the risk of winding up working in something not directly quality-related (which is what I'm long-term aiming for right now).

Company C - C is a large, Texas-based grocer that manufactures many products under its own brand. I applied for an (hourly) quality control tech position at Company C's plant in Houston. I've had a pre-screen phone call and I'm going in next Wednesday (the 17th) for an interview. The benefits would be the company itself (excellent reputation overall and as an employer), opportunity for advancement, and the ability to get QC experience. Cons include pay, relocation (although relocation wouldn't be bad, Houston isn't at the top of my list), and it is unclear how long it would take to advance to something management-related.

Company D - I applied for an entry-level management position at Company D on Monday, the 8th. Company D is a very well known brewing company that has a plant in Houston. While they do produce some well known non-alcoholic beverages and have some non-beverage business ventures, they are primarily known for a certain brand of beer. They called me today and did a phone screening and told me that they would contact me within two weeks if they decided to setup a phone interview. The pros include really, really excellent pay (seriously...), job stability, opportunity for advancement, the rotating schedule (Four 12-hour days on, four days off--unusual, but interesting),and the fact that the position is management, yet they are willing to hire a fresh graduate with no experience. The cons include location (again, Houston), the fact that an "on" day could fall on a Sunday or other day when I have church commitments, and the biggest one: the potential reputation issues with working for them as a Christian. I'm not personally convicted that it would be wrong to work for them, but the issue would come up in people's reactions. My goal certainly isn't to be a people-pleaser that never wants anyone to think bad things about me, but rather to be a God-pleaser that isn't causing weaker Christians to stumble and is considerate of the effect my actions may have on others.

So, there you have it. If you're still reading, congrats. If you're still awake, congrats again.

I haven't heard from company A and don't expect to. Even if I did, I don't think I could take the job because of the really low pay. Company B is desirable for the pros listed above, but would be very demanding, and I question whether or not it is worth the sacrifice. Company C seems promising, and I'll know more after the interview next week. Company D is most intriguing, for the pay and the schedule. It would provide the quickest opportunity to pay off school debt (a chief goal of employment). At first the pay was aluring, but then I decided that I need to focus on the other details, not just the material ones. But then when I considered the four days on/four days off schedule, I really started to desire this position.

So, we will see what happens. I continually pray for wisdom and discernment throughout the whole process and know that God is faithful to give wisdom, if I ask with faith (James). So then I ask for more faith too.

Thanks for reading kids, and I'll ttyl.