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Maximize your career in the new world of work

4/26/2010 9:27:05 AM

By Brian Ray

The email from Janet King in Snellville, Georgia began, "I fumed, I panicked, I cried!"

"My boss gave me the news," Janet continued. "The customer for my main project decided not to buy from us and so my salary could not be justified any longer. I had been traveling along (in my career) when the bus stopped, the door opened and out I was pushed-at a crossroads-and I felt abandoned. The bus sped away and I didn't see another on the horizon."

The new world of work

Janet was one of more than 153 million people in the U.S. workforce in November 2009, more than 75 percent of whom are now unemployed, underemployed, miserably employed, or nervously employed.

The economy is not only up and down, but employment has changed. The new rules of work include you being responsible for your career.

Even churches are feeling the impact. "A February 2009 Lifeway Research survey of 1,000 Protestant churches nationwide found that 31 percent were considering creating or expanding ministries for the unemployed.

"Sixty-two percent had been approached for help by persons from their community, while 31 percent had been approached by their own church members" (September 2, 2009, ChristianityToday.Com).

How to walk through crossroads in your career

Pray every day-Since you are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for you, ask Him for His help every day (Ephesians 2:10).
People power-Do not go it alone. Connect to others to help and be helped. Make your career and job search a team sport. Stimulate and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24,25).
Plan the work, and work the plan-Finding work is work. Get counsel from competent people who care. Seek God, who knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

Six key steps to find work, career, calling

Step 1: Attitude-Put your mind into a positive posture. Accept the loss and opportunity of being at a crossroads by conquering anger with forgiveness and facing fear with love. Start a strength training program in which you eat right, exercise, and get plenty of rest physically, mentally, and spiritually. Read Philippians 3:13,14.

Step 2: Aptitude-You are an amazing masterpiece-a unique blend of experiences, abilities, interests, personality, and values. Discover your strengths through assessments like Career Direct® and input from people who know you. The more you understand your gifts and passions, the better you can employ them in service to others. Review Psalm 139:13-14.

Step 3: Attitude + Aptitude give careers Altitude-Target opportunities for marketing your strengths by occupation, industry, location, income, and culture as an employee or contractor. Find employers and customers who need most what you do and like best. Prepare resumes, networking scripts, letters, and emails highlighting your strengths and value. See 1 Peter 4:10.

Step 4: Searching-Find opportunities by online searching, on the ground networking, and all the time praying. Invest most of your time networking for personal referrals by phone, email, and in person through family, friends, neighbors, work, school, church, career groups, everyone! From every contact you make, ask for two referrals. Memorize Matthew 7:7 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Step 5: Sorting- Interviewing is a two-way street. While employers and customers are learning about you, you are learning about them. Successfully sorting through interviewing depends on you being prepared with questions and answers. Seek to serve by sharing what you have done best that they need most. Practice Ephesians 4:29.

Step 6: Selecting-You are looking for work prepared for you, so seek the Lord as you consider opportunities. Don't just wait for offers, make offers. Learn what the employer or customer needs, and think about how you can contribute. Pray and seek counsel. Understand the offer and opportunity. Remember Ephesians 2:10.

Through every step, hear and follow God's calling

As Janet prayed in her email, "Help me to see the road of faith, the road of possibilities, and the road of purpose, the road I can't see and can hardly imagine."

Brian Ray is founder of Crossroads Career Network, a member ship of churches equipped with online
career resources and career ministries. Visit for a free 2010 Crossroads Career Workbook by using promo code: Crown.