How to Practice Stewardship in Your Job Search

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My question stumped Susan, a diligent job seeker, over coffee that morning: “What do you care about that’s larger than you?”

“Gosh, I’m going to have to think about that,” she said. I don’t know.”

Susan isn’t alone. A lot of people know in their hearts they are supposed to be doing something larger than themselves, something special, and something that changes the world a little.

It’s a hard question, and it was made especially more difficult because of the context of our discussion. We were talking about how to find work. And this question was not a “how-to” question. Those 1-2-3, pull this lever and get a job questions are easier in some ways. You know the ones: How-to compose your elevator speech, write a perfect resume, how to interview, and all of that. Those are all important aspects of finding work, but they are not enough. If that was all it took, most everyone would have a job.

This question isn’t about what you have in common with everyone else. It’s an intensely personal question about what differentiates you. The answer you give to that is uniquely your answer. No one can answer it for you.

And that is why I believe that every job search is different. Which leads us to a discovery that came from my own personal journey into the sometimes frustrating and confusing world of job search. I call this discovery The Five:

• Telling Your Story --- Communicating what matters.
• Adding Music --- Going beyond just words.
• Communitizing --- Finding needs from the inside of a community.
• Solving a Mystery --- Filling a need.
• Practicing Stewardship --- Taking care of something larger than you.

The Five is a malleable springboard of principles ready to be shaped into action by each individual in their own unique way.

Susan was drawn to “Practicing Stewardship," and the stories I had written about that principle in my book, Finding Work When There are No Jobs. Susan started talking about her work in running sports leagues for the youth in her church and how when a kid would get hurt in a game, they all knew to come to her. They did that because in her bag was every kind of first aid imaginable.

Right at that moment in our conversation she had her epiphany: “Wait a minute! Taking care of the children of the church! That is what I care about that is larger than me!

She began asking questions on her own. Questions that all began with perhaps the two most important words in the search for work; “What if. . . .”

Old thinking on job search is based on the idea that somehow finding work is a logical, step by step drill that works by the normal rules of the marketplace. As if one could run down to the store and pick up a loaf of bread, a quart of milk and a job.

New thinking on job search likens it more to exercising our faith.

By the way, six weeks later, Susan had a job. She never interviewed for that job. Nobody read a resume. What happened was that a city official, also a member of the congregation, thought of her when the need for somebody to run a summer athletic program for children came up. It was a job that quite frankly did not exist when we spoke. It was as if it was created just for her.

And, maybe it was. I’ve heard that faith moves mountains. I certainly believe that, and I believe that it can play a vital part in helping us find the work we were born to do.