Work shapes so much of life, and yet it can be difficult to think about, confusing to develop a good perspective on, and scary to search for a great fit throughout different seasons. Why is this thing we were made for so hard to understand, find joy in, and accomplish faithfully? After graduating from college, I found myself in circumstances I never expected to be in with work. God met me there, through Crossroads Career, with the support and wisdom I needed to make a critical job transition. After a few years, I observed that my experience was not unique, but instead it was exceptionally common. Many people are struggling with work and how to figure it out. I’ve experienced hope in this struggle when I had none and made a career transition early on that shaped the trajectory of my life for the better; however, this isn’t everyone’s story. Therefore, when I was invited to serve as a member of the board, I couldn’t help but see this as a divinely-timed chance to leverage my experience in the non-profit sector to invest in a ministry that connects with others, encourages them, and helps them flourish in their current work and throughout transitions!
It’s clear to me as I do life with people in one of the largest cities in the country that many, if not the majority of people are trying to figure out work; how to do it well and what its purpose is, how to handle the immense pressure, and where to find a good role. We have questions like: Is work a necessary evil or something we were made for? How do I become a contributor when I’m new in my career? Where is my purpose and calling? Is this all life has to offer after college, or in the middle of my career? We are asking these things to ourselves, but only a few dare to face it and ask another person to help and figure it out together! I’m convinced we need to do life with people to do it well and live with hope and joy. I want people to be met with hope and help during seasons like this and Crossroads is doing just that. I’ll speak from my experience and I hope that something sparks curiosity about how you might think about work, life, and God differently, and what Crossroads might have available to help you and your people along the way.
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
I didn’t take my first job thinking it was going to be a terrible fit. I stepped in wide-eyed and ready to chase my dream and contribute to the team (much like many Texas A&M graduates). My time at Texas A&M was filled with growth, experiences in donor relations and non-profit operations, and exposure to excellent leaders from a variety of life experiences and industries. It was a place where my relationship with God took off, and the opportunities to dream with fellow students and professors were plentiful. With that in my rearview, my job as a healthcare benefits consultant was the 1st step in a plan to ultimately bolster the support of healthcare workers, allow them to flourish, and in turn, transform patient experience across the industry! No small feat, but I was confident. I stepped out, only to be hit by a train, or at least that’s what it felt like.
First Breath of Escape and Hope
I was struggling in my first job, and it was unexpected. I couldn’t tell whether it was the learning curve that everyone goes through or if it wasn’t a long-term fit. Either way, I was convinced I just needed to get better at excel and stay at least a year. At this global professional services firm, my role was 95% data entry and analytics, with little teamwork or people interaction. While a very important role, it was aligned with my weaknesses and none of my strengths. On top of that, there was great attrition on my team, and the culture was suffering and contributing to this. All that to say it was a terrible fit on multiple fronts, but I was so afraid of failure that I was determined to just get better. It wasn’t until a mentor of mine, generations ahead of me, called out this reality and asked me if I thought I could leave. I told him what I had been repeating in my head for weeks, “I just need to get better at Excel and see it through for at least a year.” To my surprise, he responded with, “No Hannah, you’re an at-will employee and, in your case, if you stay it could start affecting your worldview”. I was already seeing the effects of that and my confidence was diminishing in and outside of work. Yet, my mentor’s words were the first breath of escape and hope I felt in that season. His words lead me to accept my circumstances, see possibility again, and do something different.
At that time, my sister invited me to a small group with Crossroads that a few of her friends decided to do together. We were all considering career transitions for very different reasons and walked through the process together! Everyone shared their different perspectives and had something to contribute. Our facilitator invested in the group and it became a transformative community, professionally and personally. We utilized one of the Crossroads Workbooks and there was the flexibility to jump to sections that were more relevant to our specific seasons of transition, which made the time incredibly valuable.
Crossroads Career Provided a Community
This season is hard to revisit because it was so dark and full of doubt. I felt unstable, incapable, and full of fear, but God was faithful to me and did not leave me. He surrounded me with love and prayer from a persistent community. He loved me before the foundation of the world and showed me that His love stretched deeper than I thought possible in this season. Crossroads Career provided me with a community equipped to help me in the sphere of work and faith during my transition. The Crossroads community reinstilled confidence in me and gave me practical tools and different perspectives that shaped my job search & decisions. They set me up to network for opportunities that aligned with my strengths! Not only that, our facilitator guided me through and prepared me for conversations with my current bosses and HR that garnered respect and allowed me to transition out of the company well as I accepted a new job. This counsel through important meetings and decisions was key and one of the most valuable aspects of the small group. Right as I needed to leave my first job, a new opportunity to serve as a Program Director for 2 non-profit ministries opened up. I stepped into this experienced hire role that I am better equipped for and that matches my skills, talents, and dreams. God moved mightily, rescued my view of work, and allowed me to contribute to a team in a significant way. I serve in this role to this day and have such confidence that God will continue to use Crossroads to shape people’s trajectories and provide hope amid career transitions!
I’m looking forward to the expansion of the Crossroads Career community and the accessibility of resources for people who are looking to maximize their potential in work or make a career move, people who are looking for help in despair and struggle, and people who recognize the value of making critical decisions with others!
Hannah Childs is a passionate member of the Board, with a love for people’s stories, developing dreams, and seeing God transform it all! Hannah brings perspective from her time at Texas A&M, an early career transition, and experience in the non-profit field.