16 November 2018

Archives for February 2018

Changing Careers? Even Jesus Changed Careers

Messy-Spirituality


May you experience God’s grace in the midst of your brokenness.

Our topic at JobSeekers recently was “Changing Careers.” Even Jesus changed careers.

When I teach this topic, I ask members of the audience to raise their hands if they are thinking of making a change in their function or industry (or both) during this transition. One-half to two-thirds of the audience answer in the affirmative.

Jesus changed from being a carpenter to being a teacher, rabbi, healer, miracle-worker and Savior. After he changed careers he faced many challenges. Almost everywhere he went he was met with a warm reception only to be rejected by the establishment soon thereafter. Sometimes he was almost killed.

Jesus narrowly escapes death.

According to Luke 4:14-30, the first attempt on Jesus’ life was made very early in his public ministry. Verse 29 says, “They [the men in his hometown synagogue] got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.” Matthew and Mark also mention that Jesus was rejected in his hometown on another occasion (Matthew 13:53-58 and Mark 6:1-6).

John says there were three unsuccessful attempts on Jesus’ life. The Gospel of John mentions the first attempt in 5:18, “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” In verse 8:59 John says, “At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.” And in 10:31-33 he says, “Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'”

Jesus kept his wits to stay alive and fulfill his mission. Like William Wallace in Braveheart, he had to keep his wits about him just to stay alive. Yes, in the world’s eyes Jesus faced some serious challenges in his career, but he stayed focused on his goal. His mission here on earth was clear: to overthrow the corrupt power structure of the Jews, to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy, and to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice for all mankind so that whoever believes in him will have eternal life.

Jesus has empathy for us because he faced death and many other rejections throughout his ministry.

Messy spirituality.

A while back I heard a devotional that brought this point home. The devotional centered on a story in “Messy Spirituality,” by Michael Yaconelli (p. 36). It’s about a young boy who talked his mom into giving him an advance on his allowance so he could buy a puppy he’d seen at a nearby pet store. Here’s the excerpt:

The little boy went back to the pet shop to buy his new puppy. After determining that the boy had enough money, the pet shop owner brought him to the front window to choose his puppy. The young boy said, “I’ll take the little one in the corner.”

“Oh no,” said the pet shop owner, “not that one; he’s crippled. Notice how he just sits there; something is wrong with one of his legs, so he can’t run and play like the rest of the puppies. Choose another one.”

Without saying a word, the boy reached down and lifted his pant leg to expose a chrome leg brace to the owner. “No,” he said firmly, “I’ll take the puppy in the corner.”

It’s amazing how few of us believe in the unqualified grace of God. Many of us believe that God loves us long as we’re free of sin and whole. But like the boy and the dog, what most qualifies us to be chosen by Jesus is our crippledness.

Like the boy and the dog, Christ has empathy for our situation because he has experienced rejection – and much worse. As the boy loved the dog, Jesus loves us because we are broken. God in his grace looks down on us and says, “That’s why you need me; I’ve sent hope and help and healing – and a support network to provide for your needs as you go through this transition in your career.”

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we experience God’s grace in the midst of our brokenness!

Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

The Only Bible Some People Will Ever Read

The only bible some people will ever read


Preach the gospel all the time. If necessary, use words.

Have you ever thought about the fact that your life is the only bible some people will ever read? Wow. I think my life-as-the-bible is missing a few books, chapters and pages!

Sometimes when I say the closing prayer at JobSeekers, I pray that we will be good examples of hope and faith in God. I acknowledge that job search is often harder on our families than it is on us. I ask God to surround our loved ones with His love and protection. I pray that “when they look into our eyes, they will see your face.”

What better witness can there be than to hold fast to hope, faith and love when we are going through a difficult time? I see it frequently when clients interact in my office. Last week I read two emails about faith in action. Click here to read another one. I see faith in action each week at JobSeekers and at O’Farrell Career Management.

The truth is that we never know when someone is watching us to see if we behave in a Christ-like manner. Here’s a great illustration:

Several years ago a preacher moved to a town near Houston. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.

As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “You better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.” Then he thought, “Oh, forget it, it’s only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company already gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet.”

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change.”

The driver, with a smile, replied, “Aren’t you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change.”

When the preacher stepped off the bus, he grabbed the nearest light pole, and held on, and said, “O God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.”

Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read.

Steve Dodson, pastor of Peachtree City UMC, uses a well-known quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel all the time, and, if necessary, use words.” It reminds me of the old saying, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear a sermon any day.”

We have a choice to make when we are in the midst of a storm. Make the right choice. Be a good sermon – and a powerful witness – today and every day.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:8-10

See you this Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we draw near to God and lift one another up!

Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Love and Respect for Valentine’s Day

Love and Respect


“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

Job loss affects every marriage. On this Valentine’s Day, I hope and expect you will show some love and respect to your spouse. Sometimes job search is tougher on them than it is on the job seeker.

I’ve learned from personal experience, and from working with folks like you, that job search is very tough on marriages and other relationships. Sometimes job search causes problems in a relationship; usually it simply reveals problems that are already there.

For Valentine’s Day, I recommend you buy and begin reading Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It’s the best book I’ve ever read on strengthening marriage relationships. Eggerichs says these principles will make a good marriage even better, and that they have brought many other marriages back from the brink of divorce. I wish I’d read it in 1993; the only problem is that it wasn’t published until 2003, the same year my divorce was finalized.

Eggerichs was the senior pastor at a church in Lansing, Michigan before devoting himself full-time to building healthy marriages. You may have already guessed that the key verse throughout the book is Ephesians 5:33, which says, “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” To learn more, click here.

The subtitle is “The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs.” Part one is about the “Crazy Cycle,” in which says Eggerichs, “Without love, she reacts. Without respect, he reacts.” My perspective is that it is a crazy spiral – and a downward spiral at that. Eggerichs uses testimonials to show that the principles he teaches really work – just like we use testimonials to validate the principles we teach at JobSeekers. The book is full of people writing about their “ah ha” moments where someone was finally able to see why what he or she was doing was tearing the relationship apart seam by seam.

Emerson writes, “You may remember how the Beatles sang, ‘All you need is love.’ I absolutely disagree with that conclusion. Five out of 10 marriages today are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. Yes, love is vital, especially for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband’s need for respect. This love and respect message is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs – respect. And the husband can fulfill his need to be respected by giving his wife what she needs – love. Does this always work? No. But if one is married to a person of good will, I would bet the farm that it would work!” (This is from the website.)

If you are reading this message and thinking your spouse needs to read the book first, there is plenty of blame to go around. No, you both need to read the book. Everyone needs to read it. A Christian bookstore chain agrees with me. Love & Respect was selected as the 2007 Book of the Year by Family Christian Stores.

I’ve recommended this book to some of you who’ve told me your marriage is struggling. Weeks later I’ve asked if you bought the book. Some of you have not. You don’t have to answer to me, but you do have to answer to your spouse and to a higher authority. What are you going to say to God when he asks you if you did everything you could to save your marriage?

And to the spouses of JobSeekers I say: lift up your spouse who is in transition. Praise him or her. Tell him you are proud of him. Tell her you believe in her. Offer to help in whatever way you can. Know your spouse’s position objective (job title and three to five target companies) and network for him or her.

Satan loves to attack us on multiple fronts at the same time. He wants to put you on opposite sides of the tennis net – each one trying to defeat the other. Get on the same side of the net. You’re playing doubles against a formidable foe, but you can serve aces with God on your side.

My prayer is that this time of transition will not only be a time of personal and spiritual growth, but also a time of healing and growth in your marriage.

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we heal and grow in the name of the Lord.

Copyright © 2007-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Even Jesus Had an A-Team

the-a-team


The A-Team aired from 1983 to 1987.

Our topic at JobSeekers a couple of weeks ago was, “Who’s On Your A-Team?” The “A” stands for “advisory,” as in, “Who’s On Your Advisory Team?” I can’t think of a successful person who doesn’t have an advisory team. Even Jesus had an A-team.

The president of the U.S. has a cabinet. The president of a company has a board of directors. The manager of a baseball team has a coaching staff. Lance Armstrong had a team of scientists, engineers, designers, mechanics, trainers, sponsors, cycling teammates — and, it turns out, doping specialists.  🙂 When he won the Tour de France for the seventh straight time, we didn’t say, “Lance Armstrong and his team won the race,” we said, “Lance Armstrong won.”

Job search, and most any endeavor in life, requires the use of an effective team to achieve the best results. The pastor at your church has an A-team.

Even Jesus had an A-team.

After Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days in the wilderness, the first thing he did was go to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee and recruit some people to help him accomplish his mission here on earth. Jesus built an advisory team. Jesus’ first four recruits were two pairs of brothers, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and John. In all, he recruited 12 disciples, who he also called apostles. In the meeting, I usually show a diagram and advise everyone to surround themselves with three particularly close advisors. Jesus did the same thing: Peter, James and John were his three closest advisors.

The pastor at my church preached a sermon one time entitled, “Even Jesus was a Teammate.” His sermon could have been the lesson at JobSeekers one Friday. Chuck said, “Even the ultimate leader assembled a team because ‘great missions require great teams.'” If you are going to get the best possible result from your job search, surround yourself with savvy, supportive and spiritual people to help you along the way. Chuck pointed out that people who we think of for their great individual achievements had strong teams behind them; people like Daniel Boone, Charles Lindberg and Albert Einstein.

I don’t think we fully realize what we lose when we leave a traditional job; it’s a lot more than income. Whether you are an entry-level employee, a salesperson in a remote territory, or a CEO, you lose the team that supports you. For instance, there is no one to give you an “orientation session” on your first day of unemployment. There’s no one to train you or to give you work to do; likewise, there’s no one to delegate work to. There’s no one to hold you accountable (BTW, A-Team could also stand for accountability team). There are no metrics. There’s no task force, no white boards, no brainstorming sessions. There is no one, that is, unless you make it happen – unless you build your own advisory team.

This is one reason why companies retain the services of outplacement consultants. (Forgive me for moment while I put in a shameless plug for what I do for a living.) We add structure, expertise and accountability to an otherwise self-directed project that is of utmost importance. We help people protect their finances, their health, their relationships and their futures. However, I notice that clients who rely only on me tend to take longer to find a new job than clients who also build a team with several advisors.

Here are three key points to keep in mind as you build and use your advisory team:

1. Pray for God to place the right people in your life.

Chances are He already has; if you ask, He will also place more people in your life to fill any gaps. Ask for discernment to choose the right people. In January 2005, for example, God placed Bob King in my life. Because he had been President and CEO of the Georgia Hospitality & Travel Association, and in leadership roles in other nonprofits, he was instrumental in helping JobSeekers achieve our tax-exempt nonprofit status. We couldn’t have done it without him. I met Bob less than 24 hours after JB Kirk (one of my three key advisors) said we needed someone to lead us through the process.

2. Aim for an honest exchange of information.

When you build your team, ask them to give you honest (but not brutal) feedback. Likewise, with your three closest advisors, disclose the unvarnished truth of your situation; threats to your finances, your health, your marriage or other relationships; pain from the loss of your job, fears that hold you back, and frustration about how difficult finding a job really is. Not too long ago I gave someone some honest feedback; I told him that he needed to discharge his anger before he moved forward in his job search.

3. Meet with your A-team as a group.

Your advisory team is more than just friends who give you a word of encouragement and a pat on the back. Friends may not ask you the penetrating questions or reveal great insights without your help. In order for this to be effective, you have to drive the process. You are responsible for creating the right environment and drawing them out.

When possible, get three or four advisors together for a brainstorming session, you could accomplish more in one hour with three advisors than you could by meeting with each of them individually for one hour each. I see the power of a small team every time I do a workshop because I usually limit the size of the workshop to only three people. It’s so powerful that I prefer my clients to work in the small group setting in addition to the one-on-one time with me.

Build your team.

During the JobSeekers meeting I challenged you to recruit your advisory team, especially your three closest advisors. Build a balanced, multidisciplinary team. Team members may include: a career coach, another job seeker, a spiritual advisor, someone who knows your industry very well, someone who understands your profession, an association leader, someone with a knack for marketing and sales, a recruiter, an HR professional, an attorney, a CPA, and a financial advisor. Who’s on your A-team?

As I wrap up for today, I leave you with three relevant quotes:

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.” – Woodrow Wilson

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15.22

Use all the brains you can borrow. Don’t let yourself be overpowered; weave a strong cord. Seek wise counsel, and you will succeed. My sincere prayer is that will not only hear, but that you will act upon this advice. May God bless you all!

See you Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we hear and respond to God’s word!

Copyright © 2006-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved