24 November 2017

Archives for November 2016

Are You Melancholy or Merry This Christmas?

Click on each picture above to relive Charlie Brown’s Christmas story.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of great joy; as the songs say, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And, “City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, meeting smile after smile.” And finally, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” I remember a high school teacher who asked me if I’d gotten the Christmas “spirit” yet. I hadn’t, and I wondered what was wrong with me. Maybe you haven’t gotten the Christmas spirit this year, and you’re wondering if there is something wrong with you.

Melancholy or Merry?

Many of us experience a profound sense of loss during this season of joy. We may find it harder to be cheerful when we don’t have a job. In addition to being unemployed, many of us are more worried about making the mortgage payment than buying Christmas presents. On top of this, maybe we’ve lost our health, or we’re coping with the poor health of a loved one; things seem overwhelming. Some marriages are at the breaking point; families teeter above the great chasm of divorce. Other marriages have failed. Some of us have relatives deployed overseas. Some will cope with our first Christmas after the death of a child, spouse, parent, sibling or close friend.

Some of us feel hurt, fear and frustration as the days drone on and on without a faint shadow of a job anywhere in sight. All these sensations are often more poignant at Christmas when everyone else seems so happy.

Sometimes the seasons of the year aren’t synched up with the seasons of our life. If you’re melancholy this Christmas, that’s okay! Hang in there! I have good news: you’re going to get a job – it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” More good news: at JobSeekers, we love you and want to walk with you on your journey. Even more good news: God loves you in the midst of your melancholy mood.

If you’re melancholy instead of merry this Christmas, here’s what I recommend:

1. Be your authentic self.

Don’t pretend you’re happy when you’re not. I know someone who took his own life on Christmas Eve; he was the “happiest” person you’d want to meet, or so we thought. Be your authentic self. Bottled up negative feelings are like a cancer inside your body; they will do their best to kill you. Be joyful with most people, but with a few, take your mask off. Tell God and three trusted advisors how you are really feeling.

Healing power is on the way.

2. Never, never, never give up.

Don’t give up; how are you going to find a job if you give up? Many job seekers talk about the emotional roller coaster of job search. On the roller coaster, at least, good days offset some of the bad days. Others, however, talk about the downward spiral. This is more troubling because life gets darker and darker; hope less and less. Fight back! Hope is to the soul what air is to the body; have hope in spite of your circumstances.

Renewed hope is on the way.

3. Think RED For the Holidays.

Rest, exercise and diet form the three-legged stool of good physical and mental health. Articles on conquering the blues consistently list these three items as keys to success. Instead of backsliding during the holiday season, take steps today to make incremental improvements in your rest, exercise and diet patterns. Next week, take another step. I’ve shed 15 pounds in the past three years by making incremental improvements in my rest, exercise and diet. My goal was never to lose weight; my goal is to live healtheir.

Better health is on the way.

4. Volunteer.

Psychologist Joan Borysenko, PhD, says, “Deliver presents for Santa or help at a homeless shelter. This is really the top thing that people can do to turn their holiday blues around. Altruism and volunteerism make you feel better about yourself; they also get you out of your rut, your home and your isolation. This is a time of year where the spirit of helping and compassion is right there. If you can tap into it by helping others, that’s great!”

Fulfillment is on the way.

5. Have faith in God.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.” You may not see a new job on the horizon or an end to your financial struggles. You may not see an end to other difficulties you are facing. God is at work in your life, even when you can’t see the fruits of his work. Don’t lose faith!

A new job, brighter days and happier times are on the way.

6. Rejoice anyway.

God doesn’t promise our lives will be easy, but he does promise to always be with us. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) And in the last verse of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus promises, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Rejoice in Immanuel – God with us.

Joy is on the way.

7. Remember the best news of all.

If you’re melancholy instead of merry, know this: Christ was born to be with you, especially during the most difficult days of your life. When everything else you hold dear is gone, you still have the love of God. God’s gift to you is his son Jesus. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Christ is on the way.

The Light of the World Shines on Us

Healing power, renewed hope, better health, more fulfillment, brighter days, happier times, greater joy, and new jobs are on the way. Best of all, Christ is on the way. Ask God to have mercy on you. Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross; the cross where he died for you. Lift your eyes to him. Ask him to come into your heart so you can feel the warmth of his presence. Place your hope in him – your strength and redeemer. Ask for his blessings so you may bless others. Thank him for loving you, and for reminding you of his love by sending the Light of the World in the form of an infant son.

See you Friday at JobSeekers, where we rejoice in Immanuel – God with us.

BTW, this is the 51st anniversary of Charlie Brown’s Christmas special.

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

New Job, and Two Job Leads

flight-display-systems-squarelogo-1423178534937I am delighted to share this message with you. Theresa says a lot of nice things below, but I want to emphasize what a great leader she was during her time at JobSeekers. Each week, the same core group of people sat at her table and cheered each other on.

This morning Theresa wrote to say there is an opening for an accountant and a purchasing manager. These are not yet on their website, but they may be by the time you read this. The jobs are in Alpharetta. Contact Theresa if you think you might be a fit.

Congratulations Theresa, and thanks for paying it forward!

– Dave

– – – – –

Dear Dave,

Each week as I continue to receive and enjoy the JobSeekers Newsletter, I think back on my time there this past spring. It is blessing to hear about all that is continuing on in your ministry there. As I write this note, I realize I will have my six-month anniversary here at Flight Display Avionics next Tuesday November 1st. Wow, where has time gone? Since late April, I have passed my PMP Exam, taken a new job, sent two kids off to college, and moved to Cumming for my new position.

In reflecting on the last six months, I remember vividly this past January through April attending JobSeekers and practicing my 60-second introduction each week. It was hard initially to figure out how to shorten and target 15 years of program and project management-related work at IBM into a statement which would not direct people to thinking I was a full blown IT professional.

The practice paid off because I landed the perfect job for me – project management in a technical environment. Since coming on board as the Strategic Project Manager to the CEO and CFO, I have been tapped to lead a long term project retooling the company’s ERP system. I have been challenged professionally in new ways I never imagined and have learned so much. I wanted to thank you personally, Dave, for the work you did on my résumé and for your continued guidance at JobSeekers. I landed in only four months’ time and I credit this program and process strongly in my success.

Many changes and challenges – all seen as blessings from our Lord and Savior. As I read the verse in today’s newsletter, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3” it really reminded how focused on God I was during my transitional season and how much I trusted Him to show me the new path. Keeping faith and keeping focused on what was really important led to the blessings I am experiencing today. I am one grateful God Girl but also aware that I need to keep this focus now amidst the blessings of this new job.

Thank you again and blessings to all those new JobSeekers out there. Feel free to link me and if you ever see a connection or way I could help you – drop me an email and let’s see what we can do!

In Christ,

– Theresa Yoss

Discouraged Workers Are Always Welcome

Discouraged workers, downcast people and depressed souls are always welcome at JobSeekers.

As I talk to job seekers over the days, weeks and years, I learn about people who are going through a period of depression. The depressed people aren’t telling me; it’s someone else who tells me about them. Oftentimes, the most depressed people don’t attend our JobSeekers meetings.

This concerns me for two reasons: first, if you are staying home on Friday mornings because you’re down, you’re making the problem worse. I’ll say more about this in a minute. Second, I’m concerned because the meetings are so upbeat, you may feel out of place.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:4–7

Friends, discouraged workers, downcast people and depressed souls are always welcome at JobSeekers! I can tell you with 100% certainty that every job seeker in that room on Friday mornings has battled negative thoughts and feelings if they have been looking for a job for 30 days or more. The only difference between you and them is that they may be at a peak while you are in a valley. When you are in the valley looking up, it seems everyone is better off than you. Come to JobSeekers and we will lift you up.

Mood swings come with the territory. Job search is an emotional roller coaster. If you are down, find someone else at the bottom of his or her curve and lift him or her up. I spoke to a job seeker a few days ago who took another job seeker to lunch; both were in a funk before, and now both are in better spirits. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” The best way to lift your own spirits is to pick someone else up.

If you get down and stay down, get help. God doesn’t want you there; at least not for long. He will provide resources – including other people – to help you out of the dark hole you are in. Look at what you might be doing to make the problem worse. Examine yourself mentally, physically, socially and spiritually:

1. Mentally.

Read uplifting books. Listen to motivational tapes. Seek wise counsel, even professional help, if necessary. Limit your time on the computer. And, when you work on the following three areas, mental health usually takes care of itself.

2. Physically.

Optimize your diet, rest and exercise. They form the three-legged stool of good health. Depressed people often make the problem worse by changing their habits in these areas for the worse. Eat healthier foods, drink more water, get the proper amount of rest, and exercise more often. You’ve got the time!

3. Socially.

Get out and about. Help someone else. You are making depression worse if you are staying home on Friday mornings – and every other day of the week. Lethargy sets in and depression becomes more and more difficult to overcome.

4. Spiritually.

Admit it. Confess it. Write about it. Pray about it. You’re in good company. David wrote more psalms of lament than anything else. Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet.” Old Job had more trouble than any of us will ever see. Yes, you are in good company; the person sitting next to you has been there too.

Depression is not the problem; it’s a symptom of the problem. You’ve got to figure out what the root cause is. Some say they are having a run of bad luck. You can do a lot to change your luck; it starts by laying your problems at the foot of the cross. Trust in the Lord and work wholeheartedly as God directs you.

Chuck Hodges, pastor at Athens First United Methodist, emphasizes that there’s a difference between joy and happiness. As Christians we are called to be joyful all the time (see the “Rejoice in the Lord always” passage above). We are called to be joyful, but we don’t necessarily have to happy. In fact, if you were happy about being out of work, we may need to talk!

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he instructed them to rejoice in the Lord always; I know from personal experience that “always rejoicing” is tough to do when you are looking for a job. Friends, it is okay to be depressed while you are looking for a job; it is not okay to accept it as your fate. Decide today that, with God’s help, you will not dwell on your present circumstances; you will hope for – search for – the abundant life God has planned for you.

That’s what we do every week at JobSeekers. We rejoice. Always.

I’ve included three pictures from our meeting on 2 November 2012. Mark Hutto came to shares his good news after he landed a great job. He had been through some extremely difficult times in addition to his job search. Tiffany Lust volunteered to help me demonstrate the difference between knowledge and skill. She easily learned the steps to juggle, but couldn’t actually do it. We all fell out laughing. When Marcus Smith introduced himself, he said he wasn’t leaving until he got a good networking referral; he succeeded in seconds when devotional speaker Glen Gould  gave him one.

Dwelling on the abundant life he has in store for you – now that’s something you can be joyful about, even when times are tough! My prayer for all of you is that when you hit the bottom of the joy curve, you will claim this verse – and all of God’s promises – for yourself.

Come to JobSeekers on Friday – especially if you are weary and heavy-laden – and He will lift you up! You will find rest for your souls, hope for your heart, and strength for the week ahead.

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved