After 20 years in the human resource profession, I turned my sights toward home and more specifically toward home schooling. What a wonderful transition! Now as an observer to the marketplace, it is still amazing to me how enthusiastic young people are to work but still unprepared for what they face in the marketplace. Through sharing a few fundamental coaching points, I hope to see young people land that first job, gather some traction with sound experience and work their way into the job that really suits them.

It's not personal: instead, it's a process.

There are so many new employees entering the job market who haven't quite grasped this yet. When a customer dislikes an order or a supervisor revises a task, the employee takes it all to heart. These heart wounds can cut deeply. Over time, these heart wounds can stifle God-given creativity and eventually stagnate careers.

Let's take a look at work for a moment. Have you ever thought about the fact that the LORD gave Adam a job before sin ever entered the world? Scripture tells us in Genesis 2:15"...the LORD took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." It was Adam's job to tend the Garden. Jobs are not bad things. Work is not our "burden to bear". In fact, work is one of the few blessed things that Adam took with him from the Garden.

God had set forth work in a process: sowing, tending, growth and blossoming, and then harvesting. The same elements are in our marketplace today. Providers sow into producing a product. Research and development teams tend the product with improvements, customer preferences or enhancements. (How many of you own a cell phone with black and pink decorations? a customized ring tone maybe?) Employees provide service to customers. Customers reap these products and sow back into business with finances. Then the cycle starts again.

The cycle revolves around work steps. Each step has some accompanying boundaries: timeframes, quality standards or stage completion. Employees who understand this basic process have a deeper perspective about the marketplace. Recognizing the process, they are more likely to see opportunities to apply God's principles in the marketplace. 

Know your role. 

Employees who understand this cycle first introduced in God's Word can better understand the next key: their role. Precision in playing one's role in the workplace process is vital to a lasting, productive career. 

In a nutshell, an employee's role is to strengthen the process. Employees can ask themselves: Can I make sure that I arrive 5-10 minutes early? Can I learn all I can about the process, the work site, the company I work for, the particular industry I work in? Can I organize my work area for better throughput? Can I keep a song in my heart throughout the shift -- no matter how trying it gets? Can I do one thing just 10% better than the competition does it?

These are relatively simple questions, yet they are keys to success in the workplace.

Know your goal.

This can apply both professionally and personally. Often, employees don't realize the precise goal of their job. Take an employee in a fast food restaurant for example. Is the goal to make a delicious meal or to create a pleasant experience so that the customer will return routinely? Of course, the answer is to have repeat customers. To make a worthwhile product is a noble goal but to create opportunity for future business is a wise goal, both for the customer and for the business.  On the personal side, I urge employees to set some personal milestones and long range goals. Those milestones serve to gauge where one is in his/her career. Careers must be managed. There may be a junction point when other opportunities bring goals closer, quicker. There may also be a point when nestling in for a season could be the wisest choice.