Overcoming Obstacles in Today's Job Market
- 2009 2 Feb
“The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day…. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.” Charles Swindoll, pastor and author
Today’s media headlines are enough to make anyone want to stay in bed with the covers over his head. Each day we are bombarded with negative headlines about the country’s economy. If you are currently looking for work, or wanting to make a career change, you may be feeling a bit pessimistic about the possibility of finding a job that is a good fit.
Take Charge of Your Attitude
God can use challenging circumstances to refine and strengthen you—if you let Him. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” For most of us, however, “joy” isn’t our first response to difficulties, is it? Our temptation usually is to give in to discouragement, negativity, and fear.
So, if you are feeling depressed or even paralyzed by fear, what can you do? How can you partner with God to let adverse situations make you more mature and Christ-like? One of the most important things you can do is to take charge of your attitude. First, focus on God’s truth: He is sovereign over this economy and everything else; He loves you; and, He can do anything. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). Second, shift your focus away from things that are outside of your control (like the economy) to those things that you do have the power to control (like your thoughts and actions).
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
The people who succeed in this job market—and in life—are the ones who are willing to persevere despite perceived obstacles. Perseverance requires moving beyond our excuses. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
I can’t find a good job because…
- I’m too young.
- I’m too old.
- I don’t have the right skills or experience.
- Employers aren’t hiring _______ (African-Americans, women, middle-aged men, etc.)
- I’m overqualified.
- I’m under qualified.
- My work history has gaps.
- The unemployment rate is high.
- I won’t be able to find anything else, so why try?
We each have our own personal list of excuses as to why we can’t make desired changes in our lives. What are yours? Make a list of at least five excuses that you feel could hinder you in your job search or career transition. These can be internal or external barriers. Write down anything you think could get in your way of finding satisfying and meaningful work.
Once you have made a list of your biggest excuses or obstacles, review your list and write down one action step you could take to deal with it. Your tactic may be making some change in yourself (like updating your computer skills) or with your job search strategies (such as targeting industries and companies who prefer to hire workers your age).
God is Greater
Now take your list of excuses and action steps for eliminating them. While you will need to take action to make positive changes in your life, you are not alone in this journey. Across your list, write “God is greater!” God is greater than any challenge, circumstance or obstacle. God is greater than any “handicap” you perceive in your life. Each day, turn to the One “who is able to do immeasurably more than all [you] ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within [you]” (Eph. 3:20).
Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. They are National Certified Career Counselors and recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their purpose in life. Their websites, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com and www.ChurchJobsOnline.com, feature hundreds of job listings from churches, ministries, and Christian employers; a resume bank; career articles; and a free consultation session for individuals interested in career counseling/coaching and testing to discover work that fits their God-given design.