I’m currently looking for full time employment. I’ve been thinking about the connection between the redemptive part of our faith as Christians and how they reflect the job search process. Here’s what I mean (and this isn’t meant as an exact allegory, so don’t chew me up too fast):
Stage 1: Loss (Kicked out of the garden)
Whether you lose your job through a firing, you’ve reached the end of your contract, or you leave, there can be a sense of loss. We depend on our jobs to provide the means by which we pay for the roof over our head, the food on our table, the clothes on our backs and a myriad of other bills. If we leave of our own volition or don’t really care about being fired, maybe we’re not that stressed, at least for a while. Eventually though, most of us will need to find a job. Eventually, panic may sent in, realizing that you need to cut back on your lifestyle. Maybe it starts out being a bit fun; a challenge. But then as months go by, you start realizing that you’re going to run out of money and are worried how you will eat. If you have others who depend on you this feeling is intensified.
Stage 2: Despair (Sin enters the world)
The longer the time goes on and the pressure increases you start to feel down about yourself. Your confidence suffers, you don’t feel like you have a plan,. or the plan your have isn’t working. Maybe you don’t even know what kind of job you’re qualified for and what your skills even are. You start to get up later in the morning and going to bed later, feeling crappy. You stop caring about yourself because your self image is destroyed or seriously damaged. You start loosing or gaining weight, you have less energy and can’t look people in the eye anymore. You scan the want ads online and in the paper, send out resume after resume, but heard nary a peep back. Once in a while you might get a call for an interview, but are hardly in a mental state to perform properly so after what you assume to be a poor performance, you beat yourself up even more, hence continuing the cycle.
Stage 3: Hope (Christ enters the world)
Eventually you realize that what you’re doing isn’t working. You realize that you need to treat yourself better, you need to work on you, if you’re going to have any hope of getting a decent job to pay the bills. You shave for the first time in weeks, you start wearing nicer clothes everyday, and you start doing actual research into how to get a job. Maybe you enlist the help of a career counsellor, find a good book, start talking to some friends. You start to feel better about who you are on the inside and start to figure out all the various skills that God has given you. For the first time in a long time you start to feel a sense of hope.
Stage 4: Balance (Christ ascends)
Eventually you realize that finding a job, particularly a well paying one, is a process, and a long one at that. You start to realize that you can’t just expect to walk into the perfect job right away and that this is largely a numbers game. A precision targeted numbers game, but a numbers game all the same. So, you settle into a realistic view of hope that says there will be trials and strife and difficulties, but that is not a reflection on who God made you to be, but simply part of the redemptive process at work. It’s not an event, it’s a process.
Stage 5: Final redemption (Christ returns)
One glorious day you get the phone call, go in the for the interview, you’re on top of your game and you get the job. You go from a weeks worth of money left to being Mr (or Mrs/Miss/Ms) middle class moneybags. Your spirits soar and you feel like you can take on the world.
For me, I’m somewhere between stage 2 and 3 at the moment. I’m slowly starting to feel the hope, but trying to keep it balance with the reality that I need a job in the 120 days or so, or we will start feeling the financial pinch.
Looking forward to reaching stage 5 as soon as possible.