I was excited! I had just submitted my first article for a youth magazine contest. The article briefly told the story of my journey and search for God. After submitting that article I decided to go through my box of treasures which stored my short stories, poems, plays, journal entries and drawings from my middle and high school years. I sat down and read through each piece. All of the stories were unfinished. Not a single one had an ending. One story touched me the most as I sat on my closet floor reading through the pages. That’s when I decided that I would finish writing that story.
Writing was a release, an outlet, a natural healer. Although I had not written a story in about 15 years I did in fact keep a journal chronicling my everyday life. I had 20 years of journal entries depicting the good days, bad days, before God days, with God days, my fighting days, my college days and up until now my work days. I realized that I had another book in the making. The Story of My Life.
I was ready! I was pumped! I wanted this ministry that God had called me to to take off. Not only was I now back to working on my story after 15 years but I was also back speaking more frequently. I had just finished a women’s retreat in VA and was now working on a sermon to preach at my church scheduled for March 21st. Just a few weeks away. The pastor was conducting a series entitled “Walking In The Spirit”. My focus within the series was entitled Greater Things which came from John 14:12. As I read through this scripture time and time again, week after week nothing was really coming to me. I had gone to the original language to unpack the text, read through commentaries and did some historical research and all I had was one page of notes. This sermon was not coming together like I wanted it to and I had less than a week. I didn’t even struggle this much when I prepared my very first sermon. I was not ready to preach but I knew that God would give me the words soon.
On March 16, 2015 after a long day of being in the office and teaching I was ready to relax. I went to my apartment around 5pm and sat down at the desk where my one page of notes rested. I looked at the paper and it looked back at me. My work cell phone rang. It was a call from my supervisor who was out of town on a business trip. She asked me about an email that I had sent to the ladies in the dorm earlier that day. She seemed troubled but I didn’t know why. She asked if I had received any phone calls about an email I sent out. I told her no and asked her what was wrong. The conversation was very brief and we hung up. Later I found out, not from her though, that someone did not like a term that I had used in an email I sent to the ladies.
Earlier that day I had sent out an email to the dorm ladies about attire. I had recently studied and taught on John 8, one of my favorite Bible stories which depicts a woman searching for Jesus but in all the wrong places. She slept around and had a bad reputation. I had preached many sermons on this woman and others such as the Proverbs 7:10 woman. So, as I fashioned my email that day these were some of the things I had in mind but didn’t include in the email. Since I wasn’t preaching to the girls and I didn’t want the email to be long I made the message short and concise. I used the term hoe as an illustration of who they did not need to dress like. As it was described in Proverbs 7:10 and other places in the Bible. As many of us know certain attire is associated with certain behaviors. Since the Bible uses the term whore and hoe is short for whore I illustrated my point with this term. I also referenced a popular song that many of the ladies were familiar with entitled THOT Walk. Although this song wasn’t something I would jam to the lyrics of this song spoke a powerful message about how guys perceived ladies dressed in certain clothes. Many ladies in college want to be in a good long term relationship but not always know that dressing trashy only attracts a man for a short term sex fling. So, I explained in the email that if you dress like such you will be treated like such. This topic wasn’t new to the ladies in fact sex and dress was a popular topic that the ladies and I discussed often.
The female dress attire was a major issue on campus as it had been even before I signed on to this position. The president of the university even referenced the issue when I met with him as an interviewee. Professors complained as well as staff members. People I knew that had visited the campus even made reference about the girls walking around with their butt cheeks hanging out or their breast overly exposed. The dorm and school held fashion shows and “dress for success” events to showcase clothing that was stylish yet respectful. One semester my supervisor brought in a fashion expert to teach the ladies how to select clothes for their body type. It was a great session but not many ladies attended. The school did enough to get the message across concerning attire. The fact was the ladies that chose to dress inappropriately didn’t lack knowledge or funds to purchase more appropriate clothing they just lacked wisdom and preferred to dress how they wanted.
That evening after briefly talking with my supervisor, and it was less than five minutes, she explained that she would call me back after speaking with her boss. My phone rang a few minutes to 9pm. By this time I had talked with another colleague about the email and she told me that it was causing a big buzz. I was not at all aware of all the commotion that was going on over my email. I answered the call from my supervisor and that’s when she informed me that I was immediately terminated from my position, not to talk to any of the students and to see human resources (HR) first thing in the morning. She didn’t say why nor did she take the time to talk to me about the email. I asked her what were her thoughts about the email and she said, “we will talk later” and we hung up. I was shocked at her response since she always wanted details about a situation no matter what the situation was. What made this different? I didn’t have any previous violations, write ups or nothing to be immediately fired for using the term hoe. I was in complete shock and confused about what really made her fire me. I assumed that this was coming from her boss or someone else. I didn’t push the issue. I shed some tears since I felt like the woman I had worked under and so closely with for almost 3 years had just brushed me off as if my contribution to the dorm was nothing. I immediately called my girl and she rushed over. I wasted no time to start packing. I’m normally a fighter when I feel like I have been treated wrong but I had absolutely no inclination or not even a thought to fight back that night. My first thought was pack and be out. So I started packing and when my girl arrived she helped me. There was no need for me to stick around where I was not wanted. A part of me definitely felt sad but a bigger part of me honestly felt relieved.
In the morning I went to see HR. No opportunity to meet about the issue had been presented just the option to be terminated or to resign. HR informed me that I didn’t have to decide right then which action to take. Within minutes of hearing my options I had already decided in my mind. I was told to be moved out of the apartment by that Sunday, to turn in all university items the next day and not talk with the students. Now mind you I lived in the dorm. Entered and exited through the same doors as the students and I was being instructed not to talk to them. Ok (confused look).
I inquired about the tuition assistance I was receiving for my daughter. They stated that the remainder of the school year would be cover. Great! My daughter would be finishing her 7th grade year and going into her last year at the school that she had attended since pre-K. Honestly, I wasn’t worried at all. I had been here before and just like God made a way last time I knew he would make a way this time. I left the HR office and headed to my sister’s house where I stayed for the night.
The next day (Wednesday) with the help of my family and friends I went back to campus to move my belongings. As we were in the process of moving a few of the ladies dropped in to ask me what was going on and why was I leaving. On a normal day these ladies visited me often even multiple times throughout the day. They asked me not to leave but I told them it wasn’t up to me. They informed me that they had started a campaign on Facebook that had a picture of Michelle Obama holding up a sign saying bring back Dean Lowe. How nice of them to do that? I was really touched by their support for me. Many of the other ladies on Facebook was also supporting the campaign. The ladies didn’t want to see me go. I hugged each one of them standing in the apartment that night and insured them that we would stay in touch.
After reaching back to my sister’s house I sent an email to my supervisor, her boss, the president of the university and a few others about the email I had sent that Monday. I strongly expressed the purpose of the email (which was their first time hearing), the context of the email and the fact that I did not appreciate how they handled the situation. I concluded the email by letting them know that I was available to meet with the individuals that decided to terminate my position. Although my supervisor verbally informed me that I was terminated I didn’t think that it was her decision. I wasn’t the only one upset over how they handled my situation. I had other employees reaching out to me and offering their support. I was surprised how many employees reached out to me. Some that I knew since first stepping on the campus as a student and then others that I had never had a conversation with. It turns out that the university had done many employees dirty in the past and I was just next in line. A few of the employees advised me to seek legal advice. At first I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to waste my time on something that I knew I didn’t want anymore. However, I did seek legal advice as to my rights. Like I said before, no one called a meeting with me before terminating my position nor did I have any other violations as an employee.
Well, after they received my email they decided that they would meet with me. In fact the meeting was the next day, Thursday. There was so much going through my head. As I walked into my supervisors boss office, seated at the round table were the HR VP, my supervisor and her boss. This was the first time seeing my supervisor since the week before my termination and speaking with her since the Monday night. I was nervous not because I was scared but because I was angry. I sat down and immediately said “thank you for meeting with me. Here is my ID badge and the cell phone.” I placed them both in the middle of the table. I stood up and continued. “At this time I’m not ready to make a decision but I will take any papers that you have for me.” Mind you I had not told them that I would not be resigning. I had changed my mind that morning about talking with them too, therefore, I said what I said giving them no time to speak. It seemed as if my supervisors boss wanted to say something but she held it back. HR handed me a separation agreement packet explaining that I had 45 days to sign if so desired. I nodded my head and left the office with no intention to ever return.
Once I got back to my sisters house I pulled out the separation agreement. It was about 15 pages long and held me to terms that I would not disclose University matters and some other stuff. Before even reading it I already knew that I wasn’t going to sign it. I placed it back in the envelope that the HR VP gave it to me in and tossed it to the side. The week was moving fast yet so slow. I thought about the sermon I had to preach in two days and a smile came to my face because I finally knew what God wanted me to preach about.
The next day, Friday, I had realized that my one page sermon notes were packed away in one of the many moving boxes. Which one? I did not know and I didn’t have the strength to search through them. It had been an exhausting week. Once I was able to focus I sat down at the dining room table recalling some of my notes. I needed some paper but couldn’t locate any. The only paper available and within reach was the separation agreement packet and my termination letter. Yes I did! I proudly wrote my sermon notes on the back of the termination letter. Just a week before I couldn’t think of what to write but now the ideas flowed and I was ready to preach this sermon entitled GREATER THINGS!
You’ve just finished reading READY. SET. GO. part 3 of 4 . These 4 blogs depict how I started Living The Life Ministry and my brand Linda D. Lowe.
Did you miss something? Read READY.SET.GO | PART 2