Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

My Hands Are Clean

Written By: richardwcraver - Jan• 22•19

It’s been just over a month now. After 34 years in the retail automotive repair business I walked away from it.

It was good to me for a number of years, but the last 10 years have been miserable.

Actually the last 17 years have been pretty bad. September 11th, 2001 saw the attacks by Muslim terrorists bring down the World Trade Center towers, put a big hole in the Pentagon and a plane in a field in Pennsylvania. What followed was an immediate downturn in consumer confidence and our business dropped drastically.

The verse below is apropo. It will make sense in application to my little story in due time.

Proverbs 3:5-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.7 Do not be wise in your eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.

I’m no economics expert, I’m an observer of times; I believe those events trickled down through the economy, and are still causing reprecussions. The terrorist attacks led to the recession that ‘started’ in 2007. Lay-offs happened, foreclosures exploded. People voted for the hopey, changey candidate that promised to fix it by unleasing the printing presses of the Federal Reserve. Then Obamacare happened. Struggling businesses we’re forced to provide health insurance to full time employees, so they started cutting back seasoned employees to part-time. My wife was one of those that has been part-time ever since.

It used to be that customers made appointments, dropped their car off for the day and a co-worker picked them up in the morning and dropped them off in the evening. Orderly. Now people showed up and waited, impatiently as they didn’t have a full-time job to go to. Since work was slow, ANY work was good work to shop owners, so if someone showed up out of the blue they we’re ‘worked in’. Business volume eventually returned, we still had a waiting room full of impatient, financially unstable patrons that wanted it done NOW and CHEAP. I was working harder than ever before with less to show for it.

A shop I had been at for 19 years had been known for doing great work, used Original Equipment and high quality aftermarket parts and had quality people finally buckled. I have always prided myself on doing quality work and paying attention to detail. The owner started buying Chinese junk parts and invoiceing them as OE. I photographed several invoices and repair orders (In the event he fired me.) before going to him and expressing my concerns. Other employees were distressed with the changes as well and confronted him. We were told, “The (car) business has changed, we have to do this to stay afloat.” I expressed that it was fraud, and once customers find that they are being defrauded the business will suffer irrecoverable damage; it was to no avail. Ethically I could no longer stay there.

A few months later I left the company that I thought I would retire from. The company eventually dropped health insurance and gave employees a small allowance to go to the Obamacare marketplace. It has been a revolving door of techs of varying skill levels since.

Two jobs later I was in a shop that rewards slothful employees that, in my opinion, outright steal from customers by not doing work completely. I don’t know what else to call it; if an employee finishes a 4 hour job in 45 minutes with a Pepsi in one hand and an iPhone in the other, it’s not because he is that fast, it’s because he didn’t do all the work. I consider that theft. When the shop owner feeds that employee with good work, (I assume because he is so ‘productive’.); opinions may vary, but I call that fraud and collusion.

I poured out my laments before the Lord. After much prayer and wrestling I determined that I would give him honest work for honest wages.

Colossians 3:23-24 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

The shop owner claims to be a Christian, so I prayed for God to bring him under conviction for the evil he was doing not so much against me, but the customers and my co-workers. That is a form of imprecatory prayer, it is not a light matter.

So am I just whining? Am I a high minded, self-righteous hypocrit. Opinions may vary there as well, but I say a firm NO. I know me, I have no righteousness of my own, only what has been given me. I struggle daily in my walk with Christ.

I went looking for a job in an industry that not only expects, but demands quality workmanship. An industry where my prior experience and OCD-like mindset was was a transferrable commodity. And I prayed … a lot. I wanted to be where I could honor God with my abilities and find satisfaction in doing good work.

There came a series of rapid events, that would take a small novel to detail. I applied for two jobs in a few days time frame. One job at a dealership for which I was very well qualified, but another job that ‘I’ really wanted.

The dealership called and I went for an interview. On the way I was praying andI hesitantly put a fleece before the Lord. “God, you know that there is this other job I applied for that I think that ‘I’ want. Don’t be angry with me please, if you don’t want me to take this job at the dealership I want the manager to offer $xx per labor hour. If not I will wait on you.” The interview went really well. When the call came the next day I was offered $3 less an hour than I was already making, and less than my fleece. I asked if he could meet me at the number I had asked the Lord for, and was refused. I politely declined, and sat back in my chair in a shop with no work, making no money; and I was at peace.

45 minutes later I got an email from the job ‘I’ wanted. Could I come for an interview the next morning? Yes! Suddenly it was as if a door swung open and a calm breeze blew through. I was at perfect peace. I knew God was in control. I had believed it before, but now I KNEW it.

So here I am a month later. I have moved to the aviation industry. The demands are perfection. The equipment excellent. The materials are of the absolute highest quality. I’m happy as a hog in slop! The hours are long and the pay though not so good as an entry-level technician, but I have excellent benefits for the first time in 15 years. There are days of stress, but I feel a peace as I know I’m where God has placed me.

Again I read,

Proverbs 3:5-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.7 Do not be wise in your eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.

Leaving a job of 19 years for ethical reasons was not without pain, but it was the godly thing to do, to depart from evil. As far as my own understanding, I don’t know why I have had to suffer financially the last 5 years, or the struggles ahead; I’m just glad to be in His will.

Physically my hands are the cleanest that they have been for decades. But spiritually my hands are clean of the fraud and the theft I was associated with. It’s a good day.

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