If you mentor younger men (or women for that matter), you’ll ultimately be in a conversation about career choices. It might be your son or son-in-law, the son of a friend or someone from your church. I’m sometimes asked to meet with young guys who are about to start their careers. In the last few weeks, I’ve met with two MBA candidates who are thinking about what they’ll do when they finish. As I ‘netted out’ what I told them, I thought “Heck, maybe some of our readers could benefit from this.” So here goes . . .
- Community matters a lot more than I thought it did when I was young. Moving all over for a career carries major costs. While there’s a lot to be said for ‘big company’ training and experience, there’s also a lot to be said for putting down roots and joining in a community early in your career. God can bless ‘the work of your hands’ wherever you live. He doesn’t just bless in Atlanta or New York.
- Almost no company will ‘take care of you.’ Those days are over or never were. In a capitalist economy, companies exist to create profits for their shareholders. Big companies don’t have ‘souls’ . . . for that matter, neither do smaller ones. Only the people you will work for have souls and those people come and go. (And BTW, there’s no such thing as a ‘Christian company.’ There’ll be no ‘companies’ in Heaven . . . no, not even Chick-Fil-A. There are companies with God-centric purpose statements, ‘Christian-friendly’ cultures and ‘sold-out’ Jesus-followers leading them. But at the core, companies are legal entities created to limit the liability of their owners.)
- You can save your way away from poverty but not to prosperity. You have to own something (or inherit it) to become wealthy. Move into a position to get some equity and ‘own something’ as soon as you can.
- Don’t look for a job . . . create alternatives for yourself. The more alternatives, the better. Ideally, you want to be asking God to give you a peace about one of several options instead of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on just one. We’re tempted to talk ourselves into a bad decision when we perceive our choice as binary . . . as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ . . . as “Pick this one and I have a job . . . turn it down and I don’t.”
- Push final job decisions off as long as possible so God can deliver other options if and when He chooses. He rarely operates on our desired timeframe and usually answers at the last minute. I believe He does that to build our faith.
- Don’t be rushed. “But they want an answer by Friday.” “They want me to move to Chicago.” Don’t jump through hoops for they! You’ll never meet they. It’s YOUR life we’re talking about here. Take responsibility for yourself and your family. They won’t be there for your kids 15 years from now.
- Life is about people and relationships. If you authentically love people and want to help them, you can find meaning and fulfillment in any job God sends your way (so long as you love and serve people and do it for His glory, not yours). Great organizations . . . the ones you want to be a part of . . . are almost always led by humble leaders who love people.
Above all, seek God’s voice at every step. Follow His lead. Be honest with yourself and everyone you interview with. And trust God with the outcome. He is faithful, trustworthy and always good.
What do you think? What other advice would you give first time job seekers? Comment here.
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