Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Getting the Job You Want Using The Self Compass

What I'm going to share with you unites the best of contemporary psychology with Christian spirituality on the topic of getting the job you want.

My perspective as a theologian-psychologist and my lifelong work helping people find meaningful, God-inspired work, has taught me some priorities. If you take these principles one by one, and then see how they form a dynamic rhythm in your life, you'll be well on your way to job satisfaction.

First of all, take a look at the Self Compass itself, a powerful lens for understanding yourself, others, and God. Notice that Assertion and Love are connected to each other. This means that at certain times and places you need to exert yourself, take risks, stand up to opposition, and overcome personal obstacles (Assertion). At other times you need to comfort yourself, love yourself, forgive yourself, and be of service to others (Love).

 God fits into the Self Compass this way. You learn to call upon God and express your needs, hopes, and dreams for high job satisfaction to him. The Bible says it this way: So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most(Hebrews 14:16). So be assertive, not shy or vague, when asking God to bless you with perfect guidance that brings a great job into your life. By the same token, don't use God like a magic genie who is supposed perform what you command. God forbid! Rather, express ever-deepening love, adoration, and worship to God. Tell him often how much you love him!

What is set in motion with this complementary compass rhythm of Love and Assertion is assurance that He will faithfully guide your job searches, advances, and placements. You may have to work for a season in a job you don't care for, or endure a time of unemployment as gracefully as you can. But the bigger picture comes from God's personal promise to you: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Now how do you connect the Weakness and Strength compass points with getting the job you want. First, you humble yourself, getting rids of attitudes of narcissistic entitlement ("The world owes me a great job") or impatient annoyance ("I want a great job now!"). Start you job search on your knees in prayer. From that humbling of your heart before God, you can proceed with confidence. Make a good resume, network with other people, get ready for interviews, learn to take temporary "no's" in stride, strengthen your areas of weakness, and keep improving your strengths.

When you do get a job interview don't panic. Relax. God is in the details of your life. You can trust His guidance a job interview. Don't try to psyche out the interviewer or acts overly confident as though you know everything. Just be real about your job capabilities and skills sets, and how these interface with the job description. Realize that you can't control other people, nor can you make them judge you in a positive way. So what. If they don't want you it's their loss, and in the meantime, you've learned even more about how to speak spontaneously and sincerely in an interview.

 See the big picture. Believe in God. Know that because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross of your sins, God places extraordinary value on your life. He is a genius at guiding you, and He will move in all things to land you a job where you can keep finding and doing his will.

Starting in high school and up through the present day, I have worked in a chemistry lab as a test tube washer, a restaurant as a bus boy, for a highway crew cutting down brush with an axe, for NASA as a satellite tracker, as a college professor, a psychotherapist, and an author. Some of the jobs I hated and others I liked, but the career that God ultimately guided me into, that of being a theologian-psychologist for the Lord, has brought years of profound fulfillment alongside some very exasperating and exhausting work. Add to that the really hard job of parenting throughout the years, and I am in the same boat with you, trusting God to get me through this life and make sense of all the work I have to do!

Adding a little health psychology to the spirituality and practical steps I've just offered, I would say this:
  • Learn from everything that happens to you
  • Keep developing your mind through reading, taking courses, and refining your values for living
  • Don't be a slouch at work, but rather find creative ways to do a competent job and to actually learn and do what your employer wants done
  • Don't waste time griping and whining about anything; put this life energy into making things better or even articulating meaningful suggestions to your boss
  • Don't take your work too seriously, as though it's your only reason for existence
  • Realize that someday that job will be over and those tasks you performed long gone; so make personality development in Christ your deeper goal, since you can take the results of that everywhere, even to the grave
I hope you do well applying the Self Compass to illuminate and empower your quest for a job you really life. Here is my prayer for you:

Dear Lord, help this reader to surrender their life to you fully, completely, and without reservation. You have greater wisdom than the two of us combined. So we ask you to use this wisdom along with your sovereign power to guide every aspect of a job search into a productive pathway to career fulfillment. In the name of your Son Jesus, Amen!

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