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Finding a Job that Works for You and for God

Mar 7 2016
Tips for overcoming job-hopping, career confusion, and ‘vocational scrambling.’

I was unemployed and bored. My husband and I had moved to a new town, and I desperately sought work, blitzing my resume to whoever would look at it. I applied to be a math teacher, freshman comp instructor, legal studies online coordinator, technical writer, Sunday school curriculum writer, and the editor of an ecology periodical. Fern at the local temp agency finally found me a position.

It took only two days of cold-calling Southern Illinois businesses to sell ads for a local veteran’s organization I knew nothing about for me to realize I hadn’t been desperate for just any job. A “Multi-Careering” guide put out by the Barna Group notes: “People demand jobs that mean something, that change the world, that fulfill them, and that they’re passionate about.” That was me. Trying to find a job that met all of those qualifications left me clamoring for something meaningful to do with my trainings and passions.

One of my Old Testament professors in seminary, Richard Averbeck, put scrambling in theological perspective for me. He described a “biblical psychopathology” for how people deal with sin, the last stage being scrambling—people “scurrying about trying desperately to handle themselves, each other, God, and the world.” Now I’m not ready to classify vocational scrambling as sin—perhaps, in some cases, it is—but, as I reflect back, scrambling describes precisely what I was doing: vocational scrambling. Like trying to catch a fish with my bare hands, I tried to grasp any job that I could. It didn’t matter how much I had to manipulate my image on a resume to do it.

So many of my friends had gone through similar periods of searching. One quit her job in healthcare after spending a few weeks wondering whether it was the right fit for her. Over the next few months, she mused over a range of options, from starting a baking business (something she enjoys) to becoming a real estate agent (something that pays well).

In today’s economy, the notion of a singular career path or trajectory is increasingly rare. A woman with a law degree may teach your yoga class. Your favorite Etsy seller may have been working a 9-to-5 office job a year ago. As Fast Companywrites:

If a new opportunity comes along, the mind-set is this: "If I don’t like what I’m doing; if I’m not being paid well for my skill set; if I’m not in a job that’s utilizing my training and education, why would I stay?"

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