Cast Your Bread

1      Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.
2      Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.
3      If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies.
4      He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.
5      Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.
6      Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

Cast your bread—market yourself.

You will find it after many days.

Divide your portion—on a number of fronts.

You’ll avoid misfortune.

Clouds are full, they pour out rain.

Be realistic. “It is what it is,” as they say.

You’ll avoid rabbit trails or chasing windmills.

Tree falls, there it lies—accept results and move on.

You can’t grieve. You must keep going.

You do not know—what God is up to.

Watches the wind…looks at the clouds.

Don’t just stand there. Have a bias for action.

God who makes all things.

Openings, interviews, champions, offers, etc.

Sow your seed—full time.

Morning and evening—until you’ve earned the right to take the night off!

Do not be idle.

You can’t be if you want to succeed.

Know Thyself

Advising job seekers can be frustrating if sufficient time hasn’t been spent assessing one’s aptitudes. Added to this review is a mandatory study of past successes and failures.

But I like to focus only on successes, because these will be indicative of one’s preferences and predispositions.

It’s bad enough in between jobs, and then to dwell on failures? Better, hit the high points from grade school on, and you’ll get a pretty good picture of your predilections and passions.

Taking this keener understanding of one’s self into account, it’ll be easier to target a new position or career.

And let’s not remain in an aimless mode too long. Don’t wallow in self-pity! Know this, that a hiatus of any kind can cause debilitating rust to form. Each day, it’ll be harder and harder to get going again.

So attack the self-assessment phase with a vengeance, and zero in quickly on a plan. As the saying goes, “if you don’t know where you’re heading, any road will get you there.”

Here’s the progression.

Know your God.

Finding a job these days is next to impossible! Face it. Knowing these odds, go with someone who can do the impossible!

But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Luke 18:27

“Know thyself”…and “to thine own self be true.”  Socrates and Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Don’t try to swim against the current!

Know your world

That is to say, is what you’re aiming for a gathering wave, or just foam on the shore?

 

 

Nine Guys (Way Better than Five Guys)

The best advice you can get if you’re embarking on a job search is to enlist your own “advisory team” for timely instruction and counsel.

Proverbs 11:14, says, “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

If you want to successfully traverse the job search wilderness, you’d be wise to take along comrades-in-arms who can and are freely willing to direct, encourage and motivate you back to civilization.

In assembling your team, it’s good to cover the gamut of needs that you might experience along the way. You’ll draw on these points of view throughout the vicissitudes of your trek, more so if it becomes a long slog through dense thickets, murky swamps or foreboding forests.

May I suggest these potential teammates?

You can’t make it without the I-Believe-In-You Guy. Chances are you will begin to doubt yourself after your first pitfall, so it’s good to have a boost in your self-esteem when you need it the most.

The Don’t-Give-Up Guy hangs out with the I-Believe-In-You Guy, but is most often heard to say, “You can do it!”

There’s the See-the-Possibilities Guy. Everyone needs someone who can distinguish the forest from the trees. He’s the guy with the binoculars who sees the potential clearing up ahead.

Everyone will need a Let-Me-Help-You-With-This Guy, who will roll up his sleeves and get a little dirty with you. He’s there to help you hack through the underbrush. This can range from doing serious edits on your resume to asking you “behavioral” interview questions.

Before you get too far down a particular path, check first with the Been-There-Done-That Guy. You may save yourself a lot of trouble and avoid major backtracking if you talk to him first. He will call a spade a spade. He will burst a few bubbles, but you can’t afford a time-wasting detour.

Where would you be without the I-Know-Someone-I-Can-Set-You-Up-With Guy? He may not have a map, but he likely knows someone who does, and he can lead you to him.

If you’re worn out and “just taking a little break,” you will benefit from the Get-Off-Your-Duff Guy. You will have to voluntarily put this guy on your team, knowing full well what you’re getting into. Remember, he will need free rein. By the way, his brother is the Swift-Kick-In-The-Pants Guy, who is just itching to join the expedition, but you should be fine without him. Keep in mind, though; the Get-Off-Your-Duff Guy has his brother’s phone number and will want to “tag team” if he gets no results.

Under no circumstances leave without The Lord’s-Got-It-All-Under-Control Guy. Talk to this guy regularly, hopefully before you’re at your wit’s end.

Partner up with these mates often so that you can avoid the inevitable “blind spots.” You be the instigator. When? At breakfasts, lunches, at the gym, at the ballpark, in the church hall, you name it. Sort through the advice you get and heed what seems wise.

However, remember there’s no substitute for God’s direction on your journey. He’s the only one who really has all the answers. After all, he’s the only one who knows where you’re going!

Righting the Ship

Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Psalm 73:23-24

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10

Emotions can run high with a job loss. They’re much akin to the stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

But if you pinch yourself and it hurts, then the worst case hasn’t happened; you’re still alive, and likely no one has died. So it’s better for everyone, especially yourself, to move through the stages quickly, or to skip them altogether, if possible.

It’s understandable, though, to have to right the ship, because we’re human. We’ve got our plans and dreams, and when we are rerouted, it takes time to get to acceptance.

It’d be good if we all were like the Apostle Paul, who was thwarted by God’s spirit from ministering in Asia and Bithynia, and saw a vision of a Macedonian man, and quickly hopped a ship to Greece.

We normally resist change, and when forced to change, it angers us and we dig in.

The Bible addresses these natural inclinations, and offers hope and encouragement. But it also motivates and exhorts when our humanity gets in the way.

Think of Sarah when told that she’d have Abraham’s son. She laughed. God’s response to the realities of age, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) I guess we know what The Lord thinks about age discrimination!

Then there’s Elijah, who hid himself in a cave after being used mightily by God. He was despondent and wanted to die! What? He exclaimed, “I alone am left!” God asked the simple question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9

And there’s Jonah who resisted the will of God to go to Nineveh, and was beside himself when they repented and the Lord relented. He was fit to be tied. The response from on high:  “Do you have a good reason to be angry?” Jonah 4:4

So pull yourselves together. Nothing’s too difficult for God. Get yourself some good counsel and focus on all that God has done for you in the past. Don’t be angry with the hand of God. Don’t slap it away. Let him lead you on level ground.

Trust him.

The Elephant in the Room

What if Mark had a Linkedin page? This guy had connections. Capable of dropping names like Apostles Peter and Paul. Cousin of the son of encouragement Barnabas. Son of Mary, at whose home the church  met.

And he had accomplishments. A ministry that ranged from Jerusalem to Rome. In on the founding of the church. Gospel author. On the first recorded missionary tour.

But he did have a blip on the radar screen. A blemish on an otherwise stellar resume. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the incident found its way onto his permanent record.

We all have episodes in our lives that we’d rather not rehash. What do we do to get the gawkers to look the other way? How do we regain our footing? More importantly, how do we address the elephant in the room?

One, is to know that God has created  these circumstances as a learning experience. It’ll always be there in the back of your mind, and in the minds of those with whom you must function.

It’s actually a good thing, and thankfully, not a real thorn in the flesh like Paul’s.  Remember, Jesus built off Peter’s failure big time.

Here’s the key. The only way we make it back is to be a humble person. Humiliation, by definition, must proceed this step. You could be a bitter person, but we don’t want to go there, do we?

Two, the contrast will be stark when you prove the detractors wrong. Mark did an amazing job returning to good graces. Just think, it’s time for the second missionary tour and Barnabas wants him back on the team, and is willing to split with Paul over him!

It turns out, by the end of the lives of both Peter and Paul, Mark’s shuttling back in forth between them as a useful person. Reading between the lines, this guy was really indispensable to two of the greatest men who ever lived.

So, get back in the game. Work hard to prove them wrong. Learn from your mistakes. Be honest. Be humble. Use your time wisely–Mark took his hiatus to write a very important book. Persevere.

As an aside, Mark might not have wanted to go to Perga, but he did not in the end shy away from ultimately travelling into the belly of the beast–Rome.

Back to LinkedIn. How good was it to get Paul’s recommendations posted in the end?

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him). Colossians 4:10

Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 2 Timothy 4:11