Rich T at the Big Z!

Rich T at the Big Z!


Wherein I describe my first day on the job after a harrowing 14-month unemployment ordeal.

So, there hasn’t been much news on this blog lately, mostly because I’ve been busy, I’ve been distracted, and I’ve been unemployed. Somehow, not having a job makes me less productive in my blogging alter-life. Go figure.

Here’s the news: I’ve been hired!

I didn’t want to spend a lot of time talking about interviews and possibilities and potentialities, getting hopes up, and boring you with my uneven work possibilities. But after leaving Tennessee just before Christmas, I contacted Zondervan for a new open position I’d found on their website: Senior Editorial Manager. I expressed my interest.

Then I moved. Jennifer and the kids and I packed up and moved to Muskegon to live with my father-in-law while we sorted things out, worked on selling the house, and licked our wounds.

By the end of the month, I had a nibble from Zondervan. Then, in February, I got an interview. Then I was called back for more interviews. Then, finally, I got … the call.

March 10, today, was my first day on the job.

I have no idea what I’m doing. Yet, anyhow. As far as I can tell from the conversations I’ve had and the job description I’ve seen, I’m going to be a project manager/expediter for anything and everything produced by Zondervan’s Curriculum, Academic, Reference, and Resource division as well as their digital/online division. If it’s going to be a product, I’ll be pushing it through the system. I won’t be editing. Rather, I’ll be managing the stuff that editors are working on.

It’s a big job, but I’m happy to do it, and I’ll be learning a lot over the next few months, not only about the job itself, but about Zondervan, its 75+ year history, and its highly refined publishing process.

Word to the wise: Zondervan looks to be a great company to work for. Their benefits are phenomenal and their employee culture is great. Everybody is friendlier than tame puppies, and they’ve bent over backwards to make me feel really wanted and celebrated at the company.

Thanks to all who prayed for us and kept sending us helpful suggestions and encouragement. It has been hugely appreciated. We’re not entirely out of the woods yet: we still have accumulated debt, a house to sell, untreated medical stuff, and the need to move into our own home. But apart from that, God is really blessing us!


[tags]application, BlogRodent, editorial-manager, employment, expeditor, Grand-Rapids, hired, job, Michigan, Muskegon, project-manager, publishing, resume, resumé, unemployment, Zondervan[/tags]

14 thoughts on “Rich T at the Big Z!

  1. Pingback: Product Reviews

  2. Michael

    Praise the Lord! We will be praying for the Lord to bless, expand, and increase your many talents in order to fill this new position beyond your expectation and your employer’s.

    Lord, bless Rich and his family monetarily and help them to solve their financial woes and place them in your special economy of blessing. In Jesus Name Amen.

  3. tmzydowicz

    Congrats ! Waiting on the Lord is definitely not one of my strong points. When I look back over the last 2 years … I realize just how blessed I really am. Being in the center of His will is the most important for any of us. I pray that this is where you are supposed to be Rich.

  4. Carl Thomas

    Praise God Rich! Clearly this is a sign that you are supposed to get my book published and get me a huge advance! Surely someone with as high of a position as you have can greenlight any book you see fit. The fact that I have no idea what I would write a book about and have never written a book should mean nothing.

    I look forward to working with you.

    Your friend,


  5. Clay

    Couldn’t be more excited for you, bro. I pray it will be the perfect fit and a huge blessing.

    Coincidentally, your start date at Zondervan marks my one-decade date at CT. So here’s hoping you find 10 great years ahead of you at the big Z!


  6. Tim Heard

    Congrats on the new job!

    Just a bit of feedback for your Zondervan employers… They should really consider making the employment link on their site much more prominent. You don’t want would-be candidates having to scan all over the page to find the link.

    I’d recommend just to the right of “Interact with us” on the upper header. As a pretty experienced recruiter I can tell you that the placement of this link is critical if using the website as a recruiting tool is important to them.

    Hope things are going well…


  7. Rich Post author

    I hardly know where to begin, so many of you have sent me encouragement and kudos both here and via email, it’s dizzying! I am warmed by the onslaught of well-wishing, and it tells me that I was in more folks prayers than I realized. I am humbled and pleased even while reminding myself of Rick Warren’s mantra: “It’s not about me….”

    @slw: Thanks for the kudos! It’s hard to know what God’s best is in every situation except to recognize that it’s important to be joyful and content in all situations. Not easy, but it’s certainly easier in context: my travails are nothing compared to what they could be. I have learned to count my blessings, friend.

    @Kyle: I don’t know anything about Z’s Latin textbooks, though I do know we’ve published an English, Greek/Hebrew, Latin triglot Bible. I don’t know if that’s still in print though or not. If you’re serious, though, send an email to Verlyn Verbrugge and ask him. He’s the in-house editorial expert on ancient languages and if he doesn’t know where to find a great Latin textbook, he’ll know who does know that answer.

    @Michael: Thanks, Mike, for your continued prayers, that pumps me up! I second that Amen.

    @Travis Johnson: Dude, if you have a book idea, let me know. I’ll pass it along to an acquisition editor or give you a contact. Honestly, if you have a good idea, you should start working it out. Write a book outline, write your first chapter, and flesh out a proposal — who your audience is, what you have to say, and why you think you’re the guy to say it. If there’s the slightest chance for interest, getting that done will be a huge help. I can’t say that being the “new guy” gives me any cred at all, but who knows?

    @tmzydowicz: Resurrected Todd! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for lending your kudos! After looking over your blog, I can see you are well acquainted with difficult situations — probably more than I am! I do, indeed, have much to be thankful for. I am in relatively good health, I have lovely children and a sweet bride, and to top it off, I have a great job! Praise God! I, too, pray that this is where I’m supposed to be. But I also recognize that wherever I am, that’s where I’m supposed to do whatever God gives me, too. He’ll lead me on if I need to be elsewhere. I just hope he lets me pay some bills first!

    @Carl Thomas: The advance is in the mail. I’m sure you’re be as delightful to work with as your book was easy to write. :: grin ::

    @Clay: Bro, thanks for your excitement by proxy! I sure miss working with you and my fellow CTI peeps, but especially you and those long, rambling post 5 pm conversations about everything from typography to cameras to dogs to children to ministry to theology to sports. Well, never sports. But, everything else! And congratulations on your 10 years at CTI! Wahoo! Did they give you a celebration? What’s the bling for the 10-year mark? A clock? I shall always cherish my wood Post-It holder…

    PS: I hope it’s either more than 10 years at the Big Z, or that it leads to a truly phenomenal ten years somewhere else. Otherwise, if I get laid-off ten years from now, I’m blaming it on you!

    @Don: Thanks for the kudos, Don. I’ll trust that you don’t mean it when you wish me luck, right? Blessings, brother! Blessings! Not luck! :: grin ::

    @Tim Heard: Thanks for the kudos! I have already passed your feedback on to the HR folks at Zondervan. Whether they appreciate it or not will be hard to say. I can say, however, that I found the employment page easily enough about 9 months ago. I set up a tracker to watch the page and email me the instant anything changed on it. That’s how I knew about three job openings the day they were published. A truly motivated job-seeker will find those pages. A motivated and knowledgeable job-seeker will figure out ways to monitor those pages and act on new positions. (Incidentally, I was interviewed for all three positions that I contacted Zondervan about — I guess they got tired of me bothering HR!) I had several employers in my tracking file: I was watching for jobs at Zondervan, Tyndale, Baker, Group Publishing, GospelCom, my denominations district offices in Illinois, InterVarsity Press,, Regent University, Saddleback Church, Willow Creek, the Willow Creek Exchange, and more. And on each of those sites I never bothered scanning the page for the employment link: I always used Google to search a site with queries like employment|career|jobs Saved me the hassle of searching.

    Of course, not everybody uses that strategy when searching for job pages. But I learned a long time ago that most companies don’t have a clue how to design pages for usability. That’s something the job-seeking handbooks need to point out.

    At the end of my first full week at Zondervan I can report that things are, indeed, going well. I think, anyhow. It’s been non-steep meeting after meeting after meeting, sometimes with as many as seven hours of meetings in a day. So, I’ve had very little time at my desk to work on figuring stuff out or even assimilating what I’m hearing. But on the other hand, it’s been great because I’m getting a very broad overview of the Zondervan culture and I’m totally immersed in that process without having to worry about being productive in my first week. I have a mentor to help me out (assigned to me, but he’s a great guy, and he’s a smart editor to boot), I had four of my five lunches in the first week paid for, I never ate alone in my first week, and I’ve met with HR four times to touch base in my first week. I’ve probably spent 15 hours with my manager in this time, and another 15 hours meeting folks from vice-presidents on down to various secretaries. It’s been dizzying, but comforting at the same time: the Zondervan work culture is family-like, but still unlike any other place I’ve worked. It looks to be a very good fit for me.

    Thanks, again, friends, for all your support. I mean it when I say I appreciate it. You can’t know how much…



  8. Marc V

    Late to the party, but not too late to offer congrats(!). Fourteen months is a long stretch, and I have to wonder if some of it was the Lord having to break something in you. I’ve had long stretches myself. I’m not trying to be mean or nothin’, and whatever needed breaking is between you and the Lord.

    I know it can be difficult to keep praising Him while you’re stumbling in the desert, but it sounds like He has led you to a great oasis. I’m at a different point than you, where I have an OK job now (8 yrs) but I want something else. So much prayer offered up for it, and not much response besides closed doors to other jobs – if the doors I keep trying don’t open, will the one I want eventually open? I believe there is something in the Bible about “keep knocking”.

    Last week I heard a business “slogan” that may be useful:

    I’m not asking for excuses,
    I just want solutions.

    (Fairly subtle, eh?)

  9. Rich Post author

    Thanks, Marc, for finally, at long last, stopping by!

    I don’t even know what’s broken, myself. However, I do find myself thinking a bit differently about many things now than I did a couple years ago. Time with my family is, somehow, more valuable. The time I have left on Earth is, somehow, more tenuous. Everything, as is appropriate, is merely temporary — except relationships and love and my soul. And that’s good, I think.


  10. Common Swift

    Any food left over from the party? And don’t try to send me home with the macaroni salad nobody wanted. : p

    Couldn’t be happier for you Rich!!! Missed you.

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