When you saw the subject line for this brief, what was the first thing that popped into your mind? Perhaps it was, “YES! I’ll find out some tips to be freed from the dread of networking!” Or maybe you thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if there really is a way to avoid all those insane versions of my resume! I’m sick of constantly refining it!” Or “Thank heavens, someone figured out a way I can be free from the burden of interviewing! Sign me up!”
Unfortunately, while all of those could validly be considered being “set free,” that’s not where we’re headed here.
Instead, I’d like to potentially shape our thinking to have a different filter through which we view our job search. One that enables us to be optimistic, encouraged, forward-thinking, and thrive in our search rather than muddle through it plagued by fear, anxiety, guilt, and doubt.
To get us started, let’s look at the definition of freedom – “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint,” or “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.”
I vividly remember my longest job search, even though it was years ago. I constantly felt pressure, whether it was to be networking, tweaking my resume, or researching a company I was planning to target. Job transition was a full-time job, and it wasn’t just 40 hours a week. My thoughts were constantly invaded with the famous “would have, could have, and should haves” of how to approach the market. I don’t know that I ever felt “freedom” in my job search.
Thankfully, my faith actually strengthened during this time, as I think I also spent more time in Scripture and prayer than ever before. I trusted in God’s sovereignty that He wasn’t surprised by my being unemployed, and that He actually had a purpose in my going through this transition. And, as is true with many things we go through, I didn’t fully realize His purpose with that until I passed through to the other side.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:19, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” Bibleref.com gave me more insight with, “He (Paul) had been freed from the responsibility to the law of Moses by his faith in Christ. Paul now says that he has voluntarily declared himself a servant/slave of all people. In other words, he believes that his mission to reach people with the gospel of Jesus includes placing himself under the authority of everyone, in a sense.”
While Paul enjoyed the highest level of earthly freedom at that time as a Roman citizen, he subjected himself to all sorts of persecution and imprisonment for the sake of the gospel.
How To Approach Your Job Search
At Crossroads Career, we believe a job search approach is undergirded with three pillars: loving God completely, loving ourselves correctly, and loving others compassionately. Loving others compassionately involves every interaction we have with others, including networking, interviewing, and negotiating compensation.
If we approach our job search as Paul approached his mission (which, by the way, is the same as our mission…the Great Commission), we experience more fully the freedom we have in Christ by seeing our transition as a way to serve others, knowing that God will provide for us and has a purpose in the process we’re experiencing.
A job transition can certainly feel oppressive, quite the opposite of feeling free, yet if we think about how Christ would have us to see our transition, He may be placing you with people that need His re-presentation through your actions.
A few years after I went through a job transition, God led me to Crossroads Career, and I have since had the opportunity to hopefully help others through the application of experiences I went through. While a transition isn’t at the top of most of our lists to go through, I believe we can approach it with confidence, in freedom, as His adopted son or daughter. Blessings!
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.