As our four children grew from teenagers to adults, I became familiar with a new word that I hadn’t heard before: “Adulting” Our kids jokingly referred to the myriad of decisions and tasks they were encountering and making / doing as a semblance for “coming of age” into adulthood. Of course, then I was curious and googled the definition, which, it turns out, is: the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.
Ultimately, it’s putting into practice all of the training and guidance our kids hopefully had gleaned from their childhood through adolescence – – making good decisions and prioritizing effectively to get things done. And I believe that can be summarized in one word: discernment.
Proverbs 18:15 says, “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Are we learning? Are we putting that learning into practice? Are we making wise choices? Are we able to look across a broad landscape of options and pick and prioritize the best path forward? All of that takes discernment.
The word discern is a derivative of the Greek word “anakrino,” which means “to distinguish” and “to separate out by diligent search, to examine.” That’s how we arrived at Clue #6 to discover if you are the right fit for the organizational culture you’re considering joining to simply be – Discern. It’s not a mystical choice of Door #1 or Door #2, but a thoughtful consideration of the previous clues (previous blogs hit clues #2-5) to put into practice the art of discernment.
One of the characteristics of job seekers I’ve noticed over the years is that what could be seen as simple, everyday types of choices, often get perceived as overly complex decisions. I’ve come to realize through these observations, and my own personal experience of looking for a job, that seemingly small decisions become magnified. This is due to multiple factors ranging from a potentially traumatic job exit, a severe experience with a supervisor, or some naive expectations that were not met. These lead to anxiety or fear of making the “wrong” decision when it comes to getting the right job. And discerning the “right fit” with a contemplated workplace culture is already nuanced enough as it is.
Ok, so with that said, how do you apply Clue #6???
The answer is in the ole acronym of KISS: Keep It Simple, Silly!
What do I mean by that? Well, if you’ve applied Clues #2-5 after talking to the Lord about it (Clue #1), then you’ve got a solid set of information through which to sort / discern. And chances are that the preponderance of data is causing discernment to look overly complex. So let’s keep it simple.
For me, simplicity in making choices comes down to choosing between choice #1 and choice #2. Then it hits choosing #3 vs. #4, and so on. Think about an ophthalmologist and how he/she goes about determining the right lens strength for your eyes. Lens #1…or #2? 3 or 4? 5 or 6? A or B? Each time, it’s just a simple choice between two items.
I’ve grown up wanting many options and choices, yet the more choices we have, the more difficult it is to discern what we really want. So…keep it simple. Discern. Choose. #1 or #2?
Here’s a practical example for you. Think of fast food restaurants and the cultures that exist in each one. Of course, each store is different, but let’s keep it at the brand level. How would you react to working at: McDonald’s…or Chick-fil-A? Burger King…or Wendy’s? Taco Bell…or Taco John’s? KFC…or Chick-fil-A ? White Castle…or McDonald’s?
As I illustrated, you start with two choices, broaden it, and then contrast choices you’ve already made. If you continue this process through your organizational considerations, using the data you’ve uncovered through Clues #2-5, you’ll find yourself gravitating consistently toward an answer that starts to settle for you.
Keep the clutter out of your mind and keep it simple. Keep praying and talking with the Lord for guidance in your decisions. The path toward wise discernment will unfold before you, and Clue #6, Discern, will become clear.
Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.[cs_gb id=10004