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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)

TITLE: A Change of Venue
By Allison Egley


John awoke to the sound of his alarm; another typical Monday, another typical day of work. John dreaded getting up. He wasn’t pleased with his job. He didn’t hate his job, it just didn’t bring him the enjoyment it used to. Most jobs loose their initial lure, but in John’s line of work, it shouldn’t fade; not this much.

John got to his office and looked at his list of clients to visit. Not Janice. She could talk his ear off. He wasn’t in the mood. He couldn’t put it off. She’d be expecting him, even though this wasn’t a planned visit.

John listened to Janice and made the obligatory comments. He finally convinced Janice she should get some rest. Janice agreed.

“Thanks John. I’m glad you came.”

“Always a pleasure, Janice.” If only she knew his true feelings.

Next was Tim. At least he wouldn’t talk his ear off. John would have to work to get a word out of Tim. For all he cared, they could just skip the visit. He wouldn’t. Even though Tim didn’t like to talk, Tim was expecting him.

John returned to his office. The visit with Tim was just as he had anticipated: awkward with John doing almost all of the talking, Tim offering an occasional obligatory grunt.

Jay, a co-worker, stopped by his office. John wished he could confront Jay with his dissatisfaction with the job, but he couldn’t… not today. John made the obligatory small talk. Obligatory seemed to be the word of the day. Everything was an obligation. Even his family duties seemed to fall into that category these days.

After Jay left, John started his research for his next presentation. John should enjoy this part. He didn’t. John’s mind began to wonder. He thought about his wife, Kate, and their kids. None of them had been truly happy ever since their move six years ago. His wife was feeling pressure from John’s job, and their kids weren’t making friends. Everyone was happier before the move. Maybe they could move back and he could get his old job back. He had heard through a former client that there was an opening. He’d talk to Kate about it tonight. Maybe all he really needed was a change in locale. Maybe that would bring the joy back to his work. He’d pray about it. If he still felt this dissatisfied in a week and his family agreed that a move was best, he’d talk to Jay.


“Jay, I’m resigning. Kate and I have discussed it. We both agree it’s for the best. Lately, everything, including my interactions with our clients, has seemed like nothing more than an obligation, nothing more than a way to earn a paycheck. For their sake, it’s time I resign.”

Jay was stunned. “John, I had no idea you felt this way.”

“I know. I’ve hid it well from everyone. Including myself.”

“Well, I’m still shocked, John. I understand though. How much longer will you be here? Do you know what you’re going to do next?”

“I’ve contacted my former employer. They have an opening and I applied. I had a phone interview yesterday. I’ll go down next week to talk to them in person and meet some of their newer clients. If all goes well, they’d like me to start in a few months.”

“John, we’ll find someone to fill in for you next week. Go on and finalize things. I’m sure they’ll want you back. Just promise us you’ll give us plenty of time. It’s going to be quite an adjustment for our clients.”

“I know. Thank you for understanding.”


John returned to Jay’s office. “They liked me. They want me to start in 3 months. I’ll be leaving in 2 months. That gives both sides time to adjust, and time for me to put our house up for sale and look for a new one.”

“When are you going to announce it to our clients?”

“Do you think this week’s presentation is too soon?”

“Not if you can pull it off. They’ll need as much time to adjust to the change as possible.”


“…And so, it is with a heavy heart that I announce my resignation as Senior Pastor of Westmore Community Church. I have already accepted the position of Senior Pastor at Green Hills Baptist. My last Sunday here will be October 15th. Please pray for me and the rest of my family as we make this transition. Thank you.”

Author’s Notes:
[1] I do not subscribe to the private message service. Please leave all comments and critiques here.
[2] If quotation makes and other punctuation marks show up as ?s this is due to an error during the submission process.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 08/04/06
I can see you wanted to keep us in suspense until the closing paragraph, I only hope our pastor doesn't see me a client!

And I think that is where it lost its impact - after I read the word client for the third time I knew exactly what the ending of the story was going to be - you tried to hide it so much that you essentially revealed it instead.

You are a good writer, and the idea was creative, perhaps if you'd looked for other words instead of client you might have made the ending less obvious.
Helen Paynter08/07/06
An interesting piece. It left me with a lot of questions. I'm not quite sure what it was trying to say. If he's that disillusioned with his work, he'll just take the disillusionament with him - there'll be plenty of equally awkward 'clients' at his new post. Thanks for making me think hard this evening!
Joanne Sher 08/07/06
Definitely an interesting approach to the topic AND this situation - you do a very good job of painting a picture of John's frustration, but I agree with Helen - I can't imagine a change of venue would do much for his discouragement. I would LOVE to see your longer version!!
Jen Davis08/07/06
A writing tip that has been helpful to me suggested asking yourself: "What is the message I hope to share?" At the end of writing the story, ask yourself the same question again to see if you have done that. I bet if you applied this suggestion to your story you could really make this shine. Keep writing.
Brenda Craig08/07/06
I agree with the above, client sounds a bit clinical, so to speak. He could have come to terms with his disatisfaction in a humbling manner. Leaves questions to be answered and another story to tell in a longer version. You are very creative, keep up the good work!
Tracey Jackson08/08/06
You write really well! I shall look out for the longer version. You may have cut out some of things that we really needed to hear. Keep at it!
T. F. Chezum08/09/06
This is a good story and I liked the concept, but I will agree with the others on the use of the word client. Overall you did a good job.
william price08/09/06
You are on your way dear writer. You have much talent that just needs to be honed a lil here and there. I know you will be writing at higher levels soon. Be encouraged, just look at the above comments from very talented and anointed writers, who decided your work was so good, they just wanted to add something to help you progress even more in your ministry. Keep up the good work!! God Bless.