35 Years Later, Heading Back to Where It All Began
By Gary Kauffman
My first job out of college was in Christian ministry in San Bernardino, Calif., working in the publications department of Campus Crusade for Christ (now known simply as Cru, and located in Orlando). I did that for three years before moving back to my home state of Indiana.
Once there, I spent a few months as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman (I kid you not), a year working for a sash and door company and then a 10-year stint as editor of a small-town weekly newspaper.
I then started my own business doing writing, photography and graphic design for advertising for small businesses. While getting established those first two years I supplemented my income by working at a gas station and substitute teaching at several schools.
Despite what in hindsight seems like a startling lack of business acumen on my part, I managed to run my own business for more than 17 years, and even sold it for a profit. After a brief stint as a catalog copywriter for a national hardware store chain, I moved to the CSRA to become editor of Buzz on Biz, a title I’ve held for the past three years.
Along the way in my life, I managed to raise a family (some years as a single parent), suffered through personal issues and encountered business complications, including weathering the 2008-09 recession in an area that was one of the hardest hit in the nation. In other words, I learned a lot in the School of Hard Knocks.
And now, once again, it is time to move on. This will be my last issue as editor of Buzz on Biz.
My life seems to be coming full circle. Thirty-five years after leaving college with the calling into Christian ministry, I am once again heeding that call. The twist is that this time I’m not sure what that entails.
This was not a quick decision. I had wrestled with it and prayed about it since about February. In September I accompanied my wife to a Christian Music Broadcaster’s convention in Orlando. Several speakers talked about stepping out in faith and it was during those sessions that the call was crystallized.
Quite a few people have asked me where I’m headed next. The truth is that I don’t know. I have several personal/ministry writing projects in my queue that working full-time in the writing business has not left me with the time to fully pursue. It may involve more work in a church, or perhaps a non-profit (my wife is hoping it doesn’t involve a mission post in darkest Africa and I’m with her on that – I’ve seen pictures of the snakes over there).
The fact that I don’t know should bother me more, but as a follower of Christ my job is to follow. One lesson I learned during my matriculation in the School of Hard Knocks is that God is faithful to provide for those He’s called.
The past three years have been tremendously rewarding for me. Neil Gordon has been as kind and generous as anyone could ask for from an employer. Together I believe we have created an excellent business publication that I trust will continue to excel at meeting the needs of CSRA businesses. I’ve met many wonderful people who I hope to stay in contact with. And I’ve learned a lot about myself (like the fact that my body no longer snaps back from the stress of deadlines like it did 30 years ago).
So I find myself having circled back to my beginning, but with more knowledge, hopefully more wisdom and definitely more faith. I’m approaching it with a lot of excitement (and a smidge of terror), knowing that I’ll be successful as long as I’m following the call of Christ.
Gary Kauffman is Editor in Chief of Buzz on Biz and manages the content for print, web, radio and TV segments of Buzz on Biz. A native of Indiana, he has made the CSRA home for more than two years. Prior to moving here, he ran his own graphic design/advertising business for 17 years where he worked with many small business. Contact him at email@example.com