17 October 2018

How to Make Your Job Search 20x Easier

Want to make your job search 20x easier? Then stop saying, “My accomplishment this week was applying for 20 jobs.” Here’s another one: “Dave, I don’t know what’s wrong, I’ve sent out 50 résumés and haven’t heard a thing back.” Friends, if you “want to hear something back,” you’ll need to send out about 1,950 more résumés before you do!

Ad response and direct mail produce only 4-8% of job search results!

About 20 years ago I documented the story of a client who tried the direct mail approach to no avail. This happened when I worked for a large career management firm on the north side of Atlanta. The client happened to live in Peachtree City, so we were both 50 miles from home.

Jeff had read Rites of Passage at $100,000 Plus. The author, John Lucht, basically says to wallpaper the country with résumés. Jeff believed this lie and demanded that we send his résumé and cover letter to over 2,000 companies. He said he didn’t need any of our other services because he’d read Lucht’s book. The cost to us was high – we calculated $1.25 per letter with the stamp, envelope, paper, toner and administrative time – but we agreed to do it if he wouldn’t burden our other resources.

We sent 2,000 letters and he got six responses. Six. S-i-x.

Only one resulted in a face-to-face interview; it was in Houston. He didn’t make it to the second round. When you think about it, we paid $2,500 for one interview.

You might have better luck than Jeff did, but even if you did four times better, that would still be 500 résumés. If you’ve only sent out 50 so far, you’ve got 10 times more work to do!

Make it easy on yourself. Pick up the phone and start networking.

Networking is 20 times more effective than ad response or direct mail. If you are spending more than four or five hours per week on this almost useless activity, Satan has won a victory over you.

The cosmic battle for our hearts begins in our minds. It begins with temptation, negative thoughts or harmful words. Satan’s strategy is to get us so distracted, so insecure and so hurt that our job search takes months or years longer than it should. This impacts our self-esteem, our finances and our relationships – especially our marriages. Ultimately it affects our relationship with God.

Watch out for these three ways the devil gets a foothold:

1. Temptations.

Temptation can be so subtle that we don’t even realize that we are giving in to our human nature or our sinful self. One definition of temptation is anything that keeps us from doing the good we know we ought to be doing. James 4:17 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” It happens to me sometimes. I go on the Internet to get a company description off of a website, for instance. How long do you think that would take? I’d say two minutes or less. Guess how long I meander on the website? I’d say 20 minutes or more. As an entrepreneur, I’m a permanent job seeker. The price I paid for the meandering was one sales call; one call could be worth thousands of dollars to me, just as it could be to you.

Distractions are one of Satan’s favorite weapons. You could make your own list; here are a few things you’ve reported to me: the Internet in general, Facebook specifically, TV, errands, chores and projects. And your smart phones! When you are wasting time, you are flirting with the devil himself.

2. Negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts invade our minds. Fear. Worry. Self doubt. We are afraid of rejection, we’re worried we won’t find a job before our money runs out; we’re filled with thoughts that we are too old, or overqualified, or in the wrong industry. Negative thoughts enter our minds and they roll off our tongues. Negative thoughts lead to negative words, tone and body language in interviews. We don’t get the job. Satan wins this battle.

One time I was speaking to a client who’d had a disappointing interview. At the end of the interview, the interviewer said he noticed my client had a negative attitude toward his last two employers. I told him that’s great news because now he knows exactly what he has to work on in order to succeed in the next interview. He sent a very appreciative thank you note to the interviewer the next day.

3. Harmful words.

Harmful words can send us even farther down the spiral. “We chose another candidate,” are some of the most difficult words for us to hear. However, if you look at it in a positive light, you won’t have to waste your time on that lead; you can focus on other opportunities. You can look at rejection as one step closer to your goal, or you can look at it as another reason to feel defeated and depressed. The choice is yours.

Harmful words can come from those who love us most. They don’t intend to hurt us, but they do; and the consequences can be eternal. For example, when Peter told Jesus he shouldn’t go to Jerusalem for Holy Week, Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan” (Matthew 16:21-23).

– – – – – – –

Solution: Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Don’t give the devil a foothold. Recognize the enemy. Submit yourselves to the Lord. Here are three behaviors you can use to make your job search faster and easier:

1. Recognize the enemy.

If you are a Christian, the best the devil may be able to do is make your life miserable – to steal the abundant life God has planned for you. Recognize these things for what they really are. They are Satan’s deceptions. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10 NKJV

2. Submit yourselves to God.

If you are not a Christian, God is saying to you that there is a better way. Listen! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He wants you to live an abundant, joyful life. If you are a Christian, walk by faith and not by sight. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” – James 4:7-8

3. Fight back.

You want to change your luck? Fight back. Prayerfully resist temptation, negative thoughts and harmful words. Memorize and repeat 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” Recognize the enemy. Submit yourselves to God. You want to change your luck? Quit surfing the net. Get focused on high pay-off activities. Do something different. Reach out to as many people as you can and ask for help. You will improve your results by a factor of 20.

When people start coming to JobSeekers their “luck” often changes. We have a three-part, 45-second introduction where everyone tells what they are seeking, a little bit about their background, and one accomplishment for the past week. We get an informal survey of what’s working and what’s not every week. A newcomer learns that the people with the most activity and the most interviews are the ones who are doing the most networking. A wise job seeker is not only a hearer of this advice, but a doer as well.

This week we will learn and practice skills that will make you a more effective networker and job candidate. You will be on your way to making your search 40 times easier (and maybe four times faster).

See you this week at JobSeekers, where we not only hear God’s word, but act upon it as well!

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

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    Everyone Needs a Sam

    sam-frodo4


    “I can carry you!” – Samwise “Sam” Gamgee,
    in Lord of the Rings (Click to enlarge)

    Everyone needs a Sam. Frodo needed a Sam. Six-year old children need a Sam. Job seekers need a Sam. Even Jesus sent his disciples out on a dangerous mission with a Sam.

    A while back I was sitting in church behind two young ladies who were about six years old. They were sandwiched in between two pairs of parents. One of them needed to go to the potty during the sermon. She enlisted the help of her friend to go on this dangerous mission. It was dangerous because there were about 300 people in the sanctuary, and, to a six-year-old, that must seem pretty dangerous.

    When they arrived back safely a few minutes later, their faces erupted with huge smiles. Their eyes were sparkling and their moms acknowledged them for their bravery. After the service I was talking to a gentleman who had been sitting near me and he said, “Oh, did you notice the smiles on those two little girls’ faces when they got back from the restroom?”

    John-Winters


    John Winters

    Here are some examples of other people who need a Sam:

    Frodo in The Lord of the Rings

    The idea that “everyone needs a Sam” comes from John Winters, author of a book by the same title. The concept for Winter’s book comes from the third book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Near the end of the story the hero, Frodo, receives help from his friend Sam to accomplish a dangerous mission and save the people from Sauron, the main villain in Tolkien’s trilogy. Here’s the critical scene as told by Winters in Everyone Needs a Sam:

    There is a scene near the end of the last book where the hero, Frodo, and his best friend, Sam, are trying to get inside Mount Doom. Their mission is to throw a magical ring of pure evil that Frodo has carried throughout the three-book series into the fire to destroy it and save Middle Earth.

    In this scene, Frodo collapses on the mountainside, he can’t go any farther. Their long, dangerous journey has failed. Evil will take over Middle Earth.

    Sam is also spent, but he refuses to give up. He looks at Frodo and says, “Come, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you … Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.” And then Sam picks up Frodo and starts to climb Mount Doom.

    Frodo needed Sam to fight against the forces of evil.

    One time Winters and his wife Corby watched the Lord of the Rings movie. As it ended, he said to her, “Everyone Needs a Sam.” She said, “Write the book.” And so he did.

    Jesus in Luke 10

    When Jesus sent disciples ahead of him to prepare the way for his journey from Caesarea Philippi in the northern kingdom down to Jerusalem, he sent them out in pairs. This mission was too dangerous to go individually. Here’s the story from Luke 10:1-4:

    After this the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them two-by-two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”

    In addition to the danger (like sheep among wolves), my Bible commentary says the pairing suggests competent testimony. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). When the disciples returned from their mission (10:17-24), the were elated that even demons had been subject to them.

    Jesus’ disciples needed a Sam. Great things can be accomplished in pairs.

    Job Seekers

    Job search is too dangerous to go it alone. Job seekers need Sams too.

    For instance, one seeker recently had an interview scheduled with one of the top 20 executives at a Fortune 500 company whose biggest customer is Walmart; they also sell to The Home Depot. Susan met a friend at Walmart at 7:45 one Saturday morning and they investigated all of that company’s products – as well as their competitors. They went next door to Home Depot and did the same thing. The expedition was more fun and effective when she partnered with a friend. She aced the interview and was referred to executive in another division of the company.

    A few years ago I was working with a client who was considering buying a franchise in the healthcare industry. John didn’t have a healthcare background; he came from the building materials industry where he served as president of a division of one of the world’s largest building material suppliers. We met for breakfast with a friend of mine who is an executive with a healthcare consulting firm.

    During the meeting, John received the advice he needed to make a sound decision for himself and his family. Instead of a healthcare franchise, John chose to buy a few franchises in the consignment clothing industry in Newnan, Douglasville, and Marietta. This was the pivotal meeting that changed the course of his career transition.

    Job seekers achieve better results with Sams. In both examples, the Sam helped the job seeker muster the courage to go on a dangerous mission – on the familiarization trip and the breakfast meeting.

    You… and Me

    Goliath 5K Mud Run 03


    Take that leap of faith. Be a Sam.

    I wish I’d had a Sam a  when I signed up for the Goliath Mud Challenge in Tyrone (sponsored by Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church and the Hudson Family Foundation). I’d invited the only friend I have (haha), but Ted was dealing a bad case of plantar fasciitis and was unable to participate. When I felt a hesitation about signing up and attending alone, I realized I felt like a job seeker feels when he or she has to call a friend and ask for help, meet an acquaintance for lunch, or attend a meeting like JobSeekers for the first time. In the end, I made myself go and had a grand old time. In fact, I volunteered for three hours and helped 400+ people overcome an obstacle – literally – a nine-foot wall.

    One lesson I learned that day is that if you don’t have a Sam to accompany you, go anyway!

    God places Sams in our lives so we can accomplish dangerous missions. Oftentimes we have to enlist their help instead of waiting for them to come to us. Even more often, God wants us to step up and be a Sam to someone else. Take that bold step of faith! Carry someone up the mountain of job search! Help them win the battle! With God’s help, we can do it!

    Have you had a Sam assist you with your job search? Have you been a Sam to someone? Write to me and let me know. Thanks.

    See you at JobSeekers on Friday, the place where we meet super Sams every week.

    Copyright © 2013-2018 by Dave O’Farrell. All rights reserved.

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      Stuck in Your Search? Try This Revolutionary New Strategy!

      Your advisory team can help you weather the storm. This is Weyerhaeuser’s BoD in 2011. Despite the troubled U.S. housing market, the company boosted revenue 18.5% to $6.5 billion in 2010. (Look at their nice shoes!)

      Stuck in your search? One of the toughest things I see in my ministry and business is someone who has been searching for several months without success. At any given time, I can name several people who have been looking for a long time – some for over a year.

      If you’ve been a participant in JobSeekers, or a reader of this newsletter for a while, you can probably list the litany of challenges these folks face as well as I can. I won’t go into that today; it seems I’ve heard it all. I don’t want to focus on the problems today, and I won’t propose any solutions. What I want you to “get” today has to do with the process of identifying your obstacles and developing your own unique solution.

      When I ask someone what he or she is doing to get unstuck in his or her campaign, the most common response is, “I’m doing everything I can.” What usually follows is that litany of challenges I mentioned a moment ago – with no solutions. Then I ask, in the most gentle and safe manner I can, “Have you formed an advisory team?” Everyone knows the “correct” answer, but when I ask whether or not they’ve met with 3-5 people all in one room, all at the same time, to brainstorm, the answer is “no” 98% of the time.

      If you haven’t gotten a group of advisors together to brainstorm, then you are not doing everything you can.

      Successful people have great teams.

      King Solomon, one of the wisest and wealthiest men ever, said in Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” The more career coaching I do (25 years so far), the more important I see an advisory team as the cornerstone of an effective job campaign. People who use an advisory team get better results in less time.

      Whether your search goes well or poorly, you will get the credit or the blame – just as an athlete, businessperson or politician would. Lance Armstrong is [was] the seven-time winner of the Tour de France, yet he wouldn’t have won a single race without a team of advisors behind him and a team of racers beside him every inch of the way – and maybe a team of pharmacologists! Warren Buffet is a modern-day Solomon – wise and wealthy, because he has a board of directors to help him grow his empire. The president of the United States has a cabinet of loyal advisors to help him govern; when things go wrong he’s held responsible, and when things go well he receives the accolades.

      Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor.

      Even Jesus had a team. The Lord of All Creation had a team to help him accomplish his mission while he was here on this earth. Come to think of it, his team helped accomplish his mission after he left the earth in human form. Like a management team in a company, he had an executive committee made up of Peter, John and James; he also had the rest of the board, which was made up of the other nine disciples. He had a group of courageous women who supported the mission. He even had “middle managers” represented by the 72 he sent out in pairs to prepare the way for his journey to Jerusalem, heal the sick, and drive out demons.

      Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor” prophesied in Isaiah 9:6. Our Wonderful Counselor often works wonders through others to accomplish his work in us while we are on this earth. The Holy Spirit puts people into our lives who can guide and direct us. The question is, “are you building and using your team, listening to their advice, and putting the plan into action?”

      Stuck in your search? Try this revolutionary new strategy!

      I remember speaking to someone who is stuck in his campaign a few years ago. Gary had been looking for eight months at that point. He’s a sharp guy with a good background and a very professional presence. He was networking and interviewing, but just hadn’t gotten the ball across the goal line. I recommended a brainstorming session with 3-5 folks. About two weeks later he had that meeting.

      It turns out that several people had been praying for him, including his pastor. In fact, his pastor was so in tune with the Holy Spirit that he suggested a brainstorming session too. The three men that met with Gary and the pastor were people Gary had not met before. He reported that it was a very good session. For instance, said was going to broaden his scope to include more than healthcare sales, and he was going to place more emphasis on his Spanish-speaking skills.

      He said, “It was uncomfortable, to be honest, but I’m getting my pride out of the way.”

      Gary asked me for feedback too, and we identified one particular area where he might be getting hung up in interviews. He worked on his ‘exit statement’ and his results began to improve. Two months later he accepted a great job that was just what he was looking for; he still holds that job today.

      Schedule your brainstorming session now.

      Gary said he wished he’d done this sooner. I want you to feel that sense of urgency and meet with your team now – within two weeks. No excuses. If you don’t know anyone, or don’t have anyone, get some help forming your team like Gary did.

      Surround yourself with savvy, supportive, spiritual people. You need fair and balanced feedback from people who will help you map out a strategy, practice your interviews, debrief you afterwards, encourage you when the chips are down, and see the greater good that will come to you if you yield to the Holy Spirit.

      Don’t go through your job search alone; don’t rely on only one person either. My job as a coach is easier when I am only one of several advisors to a client. We have advisors (bosses, peers, subordinates) when we are employed, now create a virtual team while you are searching for a job. Surround yourself with those savvy, supportive, spiritual people I just mentioned and you will get better results in less time.

      One good example of an advisory team involved a gentleman who’d been looking for three years and three days when his job offer finally came in. Things started to accelerate for him in June when he got his résumé updated. In July he had a tough-love meeting with our board of directors, and in August he found a great lead by networking with a friend. That friend is now a co-worker because, praise the Lord, he’s been on the job for over a year now.

      Friends, with God, all things are possible, even if you’ve been looking for three years. Our friend and advisor Jesus won’t let us down. See this success story for more evidence of God’s strength and power.

      See you this week at JobSeekers, where plans succeed because of our many advisors!

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

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        ​A Visit to Someday Isle

        When I lived in Tampa many years ago, I had a Sunday school teacher who talked about ‘Someday Isle.’ Terry was vice president of Jay B Rudolph, a fine jewelry retailer that rented space in all the Maas Brothers department stores in Florida. He left them to form his own management consulting firm.

        I thought about Terry and ‘Someday Isle’ as I read “Unconditional Excellence: Answering God’s Call to Be Your Professional Best.” Alan M. Ross, who is Founder and CEO of Kingdom Companies here in Atlanta, wrote the book. He’s an entrepreneur and Christian business leader.

        Ross writes about the “when I … then I” life, as in: “When I finish this course, then I can spend more time with my family.” “When I close this big account, then I can take some time off.” He compares our life to a spinning top: “I watched in fascination as it began to rotate, smoothly twirling around and around, faster than the eye can follow. My toy kept doing that until it hit an inevitable bump (IB), careened out of control and fell over.”

        Friends, you hit an IB when you left your job suddenly. I’ve learned that when some of us hit that bump called unemployment, our lives careen out of control – just like a top. Job loss puts stress on our relationships, our finances, our health and our walk with God. If you are careening out of control, surround yourself with savvy, supportive and spiritual advisors who will be with you, along with Christ, all the way. God never promised us it would be easy; he did promise that he’d always be with us.

        If I had the time, I would…

        Now back to ‘Someday Isle.’ Think back to when you were working full time and how you would have finished this sentence: “If I had the time, I would …” Now you have the time! Work hard on your job search AND make sure you take the time to do some things that you won’t have time to do when you are back in the rat race. Here are a few suggestions:

        1. Spend more time with your family, with friends and with God.
        2. Take care of important, but not necessarily urgent, things life like financial planning, medical check-ups and writing or updating your will.
        3. Lose some weight, build some muscle and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
        4. Do projects around the house, spend more time on a hobby or read good books.
        5. Acquire or improve a skill (e.g., Microsoft Word and Excel); get a credential that will help your career (e.g., Six Sigma Black Belt or Project Management Professional).

        The key is discipline. About 20 years ago, a fellow career consultant said a job seeker shouldn’t spend more than six hours a day working on his or her job search. I disagreed with Blanca at the time, but have come more to her way of thinking in the meantime. The caveat I’d put on it is that you have to be ready and willing to work all day and all night to prepare for an interview if necessary. Over the past 23 years, my experience has shown that six hours a day, five days every week would be a significant improvement in the amount of time most people spend looking for a job.

        Someday is today! Now is the time! Don’t waste this opportunity! Invest the added time in one of the things I mentioned above – or in some other high payoff activity.

        What I’ve always wanted to do is…

        Another way to look at ‘Someday Isle’ is much bigger and broader. Maybe it has to do with your career. In my job search in 1992, I worked through a recruiter and received an offer for exactly the position I was looking for – same industry, no relocation, good compensation and benefits. Everything was just right, and yet my wife (now my former wife) noticed that I wasn’t excited about it. She pointed this out to me (I hadn’t really paid attention to my feelings on this), and the next day I withdrew my name. I remember that Ann McKinsey, the recruiter, took it with a lot of class, even though that call cost her about $25K in commissions.

        Starting from scratch, I began another job search for the position I had been thinking about for two years. In April 1990, I decided I’d like to be a trainer and consultant after I attended a public seminar on behavioral interviewing. Dr. Robert B. Means was having a great time and I wanted to do what he was doing. About three months later (October 1992) I accepted my first position in the training and performance industry.

        Please don’t read this and abandon your logical career target without advice from your board of advisors and plenty of prayerful consideration. My wife gave me some great career advice, but we paid a price for it. Finances were very tight during the three years it took me to work my way back my previous income level. That put a strain on our relationship. We had our first child during this time, and the second came a couple of months after I received a promotion and a raise to my old salary level. Although I would do some things differently in the relationship, I wouldn’t change my career decision.

        As you go through your transition, think about these two dimensions of ‘Someday Isle.’ Take care of important, but not necessarily urgent, things you need to do. Think about what you’d really love to do if money were no object and you had the time to pursue your dreams. Maybe now is the time to go exploring.

        Whether you change careers on not, as you target companies, evaluate opportunities and negotiate offers, make sure that you will be able to maintain some reasonable balance in your life. Failure to do so may result in attacks on your heart in the form of threats to your relationships, your health and your walk with God.

        “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

        See you Friday at JobSeekers, where someday is today!

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

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          Hurricane Opal Strikes the Heart of a Job Seeker

          100_0716Hurricane Opal: 4 October 1995

          I’ve had people asking me about how to apply for jobs at Chick-fil-A since I worked on a big project at Delta Air Lines in 1994. In 1995, I was on a big outplacement project at UPS up in Sandy Springs.

          I was working with a client named Rocky H. Rocky lived with his wife and two kids in Naples, Florida, but he was conducting his search up here in the Atlanta area. He stayed in the attic apartment of his brother’s house, which was located in the Morningside area of Decatur.

          One day Rocky told me he wanted to work for Chick-fil-A. I told him he needed to read “It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail” first. It’s a book about Truett Cathy’s journey of faith as he and his brother started and grew Chick-fil-A. They opened their first restaurant in Hapeville in 1946.

          In the first paragraph of the book Cathy says, “Not even God can change the past, but He can do a lot of wonderful things about the future if we’ll let Him. Each person’s destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. It’s determined by what we say, what we do, and whom we trust.”

          Rocky took the book home and began to read it that night.

          Hurricane Opal had rocked the Florida panhandle between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach the previous night – the night of October 4, 1995. As the storm passed through Atlanta, he sat in bed reading the book until the power went out. He said, “Dave, I couldn’t put the book down. I sat in the pitch dark, with the fury of the storm all around, reading by flashlight. At 2 AM, the batteries were so weak I could no longer see the words on the page. I fell asleep empowered by the testimony in the book. About an hour later I was awakened by noise and violence like I had never experienced before. A huge tree cut through the house like a giant axe and landed in my bed – along with the roof. I was stunned, but otherwise okay. I had a bruise on one leg and a small cut on the other.”

          100_0719 -- water damageRocky told me that another tree landed on the other side of the house, but still everyone was okay. When daylight broke, they could not believe the damage. As Rocky looked at the bed where he slept, he was convinced that God’s hand had protected him. The tree, the roof and other debris covered the queen-size bed where he’d slept. Only a foot of clear space remained on one edge – which is exactly where he was when the tree hit. Even though rain had poured into the house all night, the book, which was on the nightstand, suffered only slight water damage to the glossy jacket. Come to JobSeekers on Friday to see it.

          Rocky continued his story, “Dave I grew up in the church, but my family and I had drifted away over the years. Now that my life has been spared, I am dedicating my life to Christ and I will lead my family to the Lord as well.” He cited the slight damage to the book as a note from God that it was a miracle – not luck – that saved him.

          Friends, don’t wait for a tree to land on you before you change your life. Choose Christ today. Your destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. Seek the Lord with all your heart, work hard every day, and trust Him to direct your paths.

          In the pictures above, you will see the 100′ tall tulip poplar that cut through the house like a hot knife through butter. You will see the bed where God spared Rocky’s life, and you will see the water-damaged book.

          Truett Cathy: 14 March 1921 – 8 September 2014

          We lost one of God’s great servants when Mr. Cathy passed away. Truett Cathy left a legacy in all of our hearts – some more than others. Many of whom he never met.

          I met him three times. One time I had the chance to tell him the story above about Rocky Hartman.

          I also met his son Dan, President of Chick-fil-A. He spoke at the Newnan FUMC Job Networking meeting a few years ago. Cathy said the key to success for Chick-fil-A is simple, “We don’t get our management philosophies from Jim Collins or Peter Drucker, we look first to the inspired word of God.”

          And from the Bible, the inspired word of God, they learned about service. He gave some great examples of going the extra mile to provide great service. At one store in Virginia, for instance, they serve chicken nuggets that have passed their consumption time to their customer’s dogs. Cathy said there are a number of dogs in Virginia that bark and get very excited every time they pass a Chick-fil-A restaurant!

          At the conclusion of his remarks, he showed a training video that was shot at the CFA in the Kedron shopping center in north Peachtree City. I recognized Alan Murray, who runs that restaurant. The video shows people entering, dining and ordering their meals. Beside each person is a message about something they are struggling with. In one, for instance, an elderly black woman sips coffee and reads a book. The word cloud says, “Husband of 49 years passed away last month; today would have been their 50th anniversary.” Another shows a seven-year-old girl, “Mother died during childbirth. Dad blames her.”

          Let’s look at one another through Jesus’ eyes as best we can. I’m not as good at it as I would like to be, but I’m trying.

          At the end Cathy took questions. One was about the company logo. In 1946 years ago his dad paid a fellow $75 to design the one they still use today. When it was my turn, I asked Cathy what advice he would give to all the job seekers who were in the room that night. He said to go on the website and apply. Talk about a straight-from-the-handbook answer! Ugh.

          – – – – –

          See you on Friday at JobSeekers – the place where we all experience the miracles of God!

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

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            God Blends Distasteful Experiences Together for Good

            For most people, looking for a job is one of life’s most distasteful experiences.

            I meet several JobSeekers each year who’ve been searching 12 months or more. Along with unemployment, there are usually other complicating factors involved. Things seem to go from bad to worse. There have been times in my life that have been pretty rough too. I have learned and witnessed that God can use all experiences for our good.

            Rick Warren uses a great analogy in The Purpose Driven Life: “To bake a cake you must use flour, salt, raw eggs, sugar and oil. Eaten individually, each is pretty distasteful or even bitter. But bake them together and they become delicious. If you will give God all your distasteful, unpleasant experiences, he will blend them together for good.” Warren uses Romans 8:28 as his text: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

            In the midst of job loss, financial hardship, stress and strain on relationships, health issues, waning self-esteem and other challenges, I encourage you to do these three things:

            1. Do a checkup from the neck up.

            This great piece of advice from Zig Ziglar is especially important for job seekers. On my list of the top 13 job search variables, attitude is number one. If you don’t project a positive attitude, your search will become much, much more difficult. Ziglar says, “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

            Abraham Lincoln said, “People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Decide right now that you are going to have a positive, expectant attitude. Paul did. In Philippians 4:12b-13 he says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” If you want to compare what you are going through to what Paul went through, click here: 2 Corinthians 11:16-33.

            2. Ask God what he wants you to learn from all this.

            In elementary school, kids aren’t supposed to get promoted to the next grade unless they meet certain standards. In life, we may not get promoted until we learn the lessons God wants us to learn. One of my clients taught me that God loves us so much that sometimes he won’t let us move forward in our careers until we learn (finally) what he wants us to learn. Let your defenses down, open your mind, listen to feedback, and yield your will to God’s will.

            God is the Certified Master Chef; he may not want you to bake cakes until you have mastered making waffles from a box recipe. Do whatever is necessary to gain the necessary experience, and to develop the attitude, skills and knowledge you need to move on to cake baking. With God’s help, you will learn how to blend the ingredients of your life and bake them into a productive career.

            3. Trust God that good things are happening.

            This was true in my own transition in 2000. I got pretty frustrated when I came in second on several interviews. What I didn’t realize – and couldn’t see – was that God was working in the background all along. I teach folks to ask God for what they want, but to be willing to take what God gives them; it will be better than what they ask for. In 2000, I received something much better than what I asked for – at just the right moment in time.

            Now that all the ingredients are mixed together, it’s time to go to the oven. It gets mighty hot in that oven! It appears that nothing is happening at first, but the cake is going to be warm and delicious in about an hour. Your life and career will be back in order soon, though it will likely take more than an hour!

            View your present situation from the perspective of your future good condition, just as you would view the raw ingredients of a cake in their future state. God can use all of your experiences – good and bad – for his purposes. It takes a willing spirit on your part. Lay all your cares at the foot of the cross. Ask God what He wants you to learn as you go through this transition. Then pray for guidance. And the peace of God will be with you.

            See you Friday at JobSeekers – God’s cake-baking school.

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

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              Humble Yourselves Before the Lord, But…

              My clients laugh when they see this in the instructions in an exercise: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up; but when you are networking or interviewing, blow your own horn! Sell yourself!”

              We have a lot of energy directed toward us throughout our lives telling us to be humble. Our parents tell us not to brag: “Don’t brag; it’s not polite.” Our coaches tell us that we win as a team and we lose as a team. After tossing a perfect game against the Braves in May 2004, Randy Johnson said he couldn’t have done it without a great bunch of guys behind him. Even the Bible tells us to be humble: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10).”

              After more than 25 years and working with thousands of job seekers, I’ve concluded that one of the most common problems holding job seekers back is the failure to blow their own horn. I can empathize with you; I feel somewhat embarrassed when I tell an HR person who is considering my services that I believe I’m the best career coach in Atlanta. As long as I deliver the message in spite of my embarrassment, I’ll be helping them make a decision that is good for their company and for their departing employees.

              One of my all-time favorite compliments was from a client who wrote to his former employer, “I got more in three days from O’Farrell Career Management than I did in three months from [your competitor on the north side of Atlanta].” This is an example of point three down below. Blow your own horn; it’s expected when you are searching for a job!

              Four guys who were humble and bold.

              There’s no conflict between being humble and being bold; there’s no conflict between being modest and taking credit for the good things we’ve accomplished. Want some evidence? Look at these four people:

              Moses: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).” Moses was the most humble man on earth, yet he boldly confronted Pharaoh, the most powerful man on earth, and God used the emboldened Moses to set his people free.

              David: In 2 Samuel 17:8 David was described as being “as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs.” David was also described as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). As a young teenager, he boldly confronted Goliath who said, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” David replied, “You come to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you.” A few minutes later, he did just that (1 Samuel 17).

              Jesus: In Matthew 11:29 Jesus said of himself, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus was humble and bold, never arrogant or full of pride. Time and time again he challenged the establishment, provoking them to such anger that they crucified him.

              Paul: Like Jesus, Paul was humble and bold. “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 28:31-31).” Paul spoke boldly even though there were multiple attempts to kill him (2 Corinthians 11:22-31).

              With this in mind, here are three tips to be bolder and more effective:

              1. Just do it.

              Just as Moses confronted Pharaoh, David faced Goliath, Jesus stood before Pilot, and Paul defied angry mobs throughout the northern Mediterranean region, you can pick up the phone and ask for help, or call a hiring company and tell them you want the job. You can also tell others, especially potential employers, about your accomplishments. I’m not aware of any job seeker who died while networking, interviewing or following up after an interview.

              2. Just the facts, ma’am.

              Remember Dragnet? Jack Webb played Sergeant Joe Friday on the old TV show, and this quotation was his signature line. Every week the poker-faced detective found himself interviewing some witness who offered subjective opinions instead of the hard facts. He would interrupt the witness in his uniquely deadpan style and say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Investor’s Business Daily says to take the hype out of your message; stay away from adverbs and adjectives. For instance, instead of saying, “I successfully led an initiative that improved productivity by 36%,” say, “I led an initiative that improved productivity by 36%.”

              3. Share the facts – specific, quantified facts – please.

              When we do role-plays in my office, clients almost always miss opportunities to slip a fact-based accomplishment into the networking and interviewing vignettes. I’ll hear this: “I moved to Atlanta and ran the plant here for five years.” I’d rather hear this: “After implementing team-building and cost-cutting initiatives in Cincinnati, they transferred me to Atlanta to run the plant and overhaul the operations. We won ‘best production facility’ in my third, fourth and final year at Valvoline.”

              This third tip employs peer analysis and third-party proofs; both report that what you are saying is not just your opinion of yourself, but someone else’s as well. If you can put it in the context of, “It may be helpful for you to know…” or “I was fortunate to…” then it is positioned not that you are bragging, but that this information is important for the other party to make a sound business decision about your candidacy.

              One final point about delivering the message; your body language and voice have more to do with how the message is received than the words you say. If you leave out the superlatives and state the facts in a neutral tone with comfortable body language, you’ll get your point across without seeming to be full of pride.

              Yes, God wants us to humble ourselves before him; he wants us to admit that we are dependent upon him for hope and faith and love – and for strength, courage and boldness too. So when you are networking and interviewing, have a healthy sense of pride in your accomplishments – not a false humility.

              “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (1 Timothy 1:7).”

              See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we are both humble and bold!

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

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                JobSeekers of PTC Completes 20th Year of Ministry

                Praise the Lord; we just completed our 20th year of ministry in Peachtree City!

                As I am out and about, people ask me things like, “Things are still pretty tough, aren’t they?”

                Are they still tough? Sure they are. But the pendulum has swung from the employer to the job seeker. Are they EVER hopeless? Absolutely not. No matter how tough things may be, we ALWAYS have hope because we believe in the living God – the Lord of the Universe; the Lord of our lives.

                People who attend JobSeekers regularly and put what we teach into practice also have hope because they know all they need is ONE job, and when they land that ONE job, CNN and other media outlets will continue to tell us how depressing things are on the economic front. The unemployment rate will not change one iota in the county, state or country – but they will change dramatically in that one home.

                Here’s a fairly typical and brief ‘thank you’ message: “Though my membership was brief, I wanted to thank you for your ministry. I came the first time fairly cynical and not expecting much but left very encouraged and energized.” And here’s a longer message from someone else. She got involved and got a job.

                With God’s help, we’ve been beating the odds every week for 20 years at JobSeekers. You can read a brief history of JS PTC here.

                It’s about relationships

                I gave a talk to about 40 people up in Dunwoody in June 2004. The Jewish Family & Career Service hosted the meeting. When I met with the planner 13 days prior to the meeting, I asked her if I could use examples from the Old Testament to support my points and help motivate the audience. She recommended against it because the audience would not only consist of Jewish participants but Christians, Muslims and agnostics as well. If it weren’t for the agnostics, I could at least have worked from the creation to Abraham!

                The audience lacked the vital energy that we have at JobSeekers of Peachtree City. As I thought about this, two things came to my mind. First, the Gospel is not proclaimed. Our faith is a source of peace, power and protection; it is much easier to go through a job search with the hope we have as Christians. Second, and this is key to any group, is the fact that nearly everyone present was there for the first time. They didn’t know each other and they weren’t pulling for each other.

                A band of brothers and sisters in Christ

                In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge talks about how important it is to fight our battles in groups. Dorothy took her journey to find the Wizard with the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Lion and Toto. Captain John Miller goes behind enemy lines with a squad of eight rangers to save Private Ryan. In Gladiator, Maximus rallies his small group of gladiators and triumphs over the greatest empire on earth. And Jesus had the twelve disciples, plus Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Eldredge says we must not go it alone (see pages 187 and 188).

                At JobSeekers, we don’t go it alone either. We meet each week for learning and fellowship. We share our joys and our struggles. Afterwards, one-third to one-half of the people stick around for networking and fellowship; it’s one of my favorite times of the week. Here and elsewhere, I often hear of how you interact with one another throughout the week:

                1. We support each other one-on-one. One JobSeeker wrote: “I appreciate all the fellowship and support JobSeekers gave me in a time of need. You always had encouraging thoughts, and George was a big help to me also. I had days where I just didn’t think anything was going to happen and there was George with an email to tell me to keep on trucking.”

                2. We pray for one another. Another wrote: “After I accepted the offer the first thing that popped into my head was all of us together that morning praying for each other in our job search. The power of prayer worked that day for me and my family.”

                3. We work as a group to inspire one person. A third wrote: “As the meeting started, a peace came over me and felt truly inspired; I’m not alone! I’m not a big loser! This gave me the motivation I needed to get through today. I left the meeting determined to accomplish something today.”

                4. We give wise counsel to each other. Another wrote: “I cannot thank you enough for the encouragement and help that you have provided. You helped me to get focused on what I wanted to do for a living after months of thinking that I should change careers. In my mind, I was a failure at what I spent my career doing. It was Dave’s seminar that got me to revisit my former employer, and I found that I was not the failure that I believed myself to be.”

                5. We trade job leads. We’ve had dozens of people get a good job close to home because one JobSeeker referred another to a specific job. This includes former JobSeekers targeting and hiring current JobSeekers.

                Things like this happen all the time.

                Philippians 2:4 says, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” We are not asked to go through trials like career transition alone. In fact, it is for these types of challenges that we are encouraged to develop communities of believers who are able to support our needs and to contribute to the needs of others. (This paragraph is from Christ Centered Career Groups.)

                Whether your current struggle is job search or something else, my prayer is that all of you will find several people who will go on this journey and fight this battle with you.

                See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we are a band of brothers and sisters in Christ!

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

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                  O’Farrell Misses the Boat

                  Networking is by far the number one way people find jobs. One client of mine compared networking to sowing seeds. Ken said, “I’m convinced that networking is like planting seeds. Some will germinate, but it may take a while. The seeds need ongoing attention to help them grow.”

                  Friends, listen to me: network even when it seems like networking is not working.

                  To illustrate the consequences of doing the right and wrong things, I think back to August 1985 and a scuba trip to West Palm Beach. Some friends and I dove on a Greek yacht named the Mizpah. It was a night dive in 85 feet of water, two miles off the coast. We were warned of the dangers of the Gulf Stream currents; they could sweep you miles away from the dive boat in the middle of the night.

                  My dive buddy, Ron Bennett, and I were selected by the dive master to lead a group of 20 people down to the Mizpah. I wasn’t terrified of the pitch-black water. I wasn’t terrified of the nocturnal creatures that prowl the seas. I wasn’t terrified of being swept away by the Gulf Stream currents.

                  I was terrified of the wrath of the other 18 people if we missed the boat.

                  O’Farrell Misses the Boat

                  To understand my high anxiety, I will take you back three weeks prior. Ron and I and some of the same people were in Fort Lauderdale to dive on the Mercedes, a freighter that had been sunk in 97 feet of water one mile off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. Ron had dived on the ship once before; I was in Atlanta for Independence Day. He said it had been a fantastic dive; they could see the freighter as soon as they jumped in the water.

                  On this particular dive we ignored the dive master’s navigation instructions and simply started swimming down; visibility was poor and we couldn’t see the ship. We swam against the current in what we thought was the right direction, but still no ship. When we reached a depth of 75 feet, we finally saw something. Sand. Nothing but sand.

                  We missed the boat.

                  Ron and I had an underwater argument about whether we should swim around on the bottom looking for a 195 foot long ship or go back to the surface and asking for help. We were rookie scuba divers and had been warned about doing a “pop up,” which is exactly what we were about to do.

                  The boat captain and the deck hand let us have it. They dragged us over to the drop site again while we hung on to the dive platform for dear life. We used up most of our air during this exhausting experience. We found the boat on the second try, but were only able to spend seven minutes exploring the Mercedes. The other divers teased unmercifully for the rest of the weekend (and for years to come).

                  So on this night Ron and I are on the platform about to jump into the dark and eerie waters while all these thoughts are racing through my head. Then I remembered our training; I remembered what the instructors had said about reaching our goal: “Swim hard, swim south and don’t take your eyes off your compass.” We swam due south, directly against the current. We did what we knew was right even though we couldn’t see the target. I looked up just before we hit the bow of the boat.

                  It was a wonderful dive. We went into one room and pushed our flashlights into the sand so they didn’t cast any light. It was cool to see hundreds of bio-luminescent creatures glowing in the darkness of the deep.

                  Listen to the Experts

                  Friends, listen to the experts. Do what we say works. Don’t take your eyes off your compass. Your target will be right ahead of you if you don’t let yourself get distracted, if you don’t wander off on one tangent after another. If you do, you could end up miles away from your target and looking at nothing but sand.

                  Network! Chances are as high as 80% that you will find your next job through a personal contact. Why not shorten the time by doing more networking? Bring up your job search in almost every conversation you have, especially with new people. You may not see your next job up ahead, but it’s out there. You have to do the right things to find it.

                  – Dave O’Farrell

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

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                    Feeling Stressed? Take Dr. Rahe’s Test


                    Richard H. Rahe, M.D.

                    Feeling stressed? Today you will have the opportunity to take Dr. Rahe’s test while you are in the midst of a life-changing event.

                    You can estimate your risk of having a stress-related illness or accident using a calculator developed by Richard H. Rahe, M.D., a world-renowned expert on stress-related illness. The test assigns a measurement called a Life Change Unit (LCU) to events – positive and negative – that cause stress. The higher your LCU total, the greater your risk of a stress-related illness or accident within the coming year.

                    Here are the top 10 (out of 55) life change events:

                    1. Death of a child
                    2. Death of a spouse
                    3. Death of parent or sibling
                    4. Divorce
                    5. Separation from spouse due to marital difficulties or work
                    6. Being held in jail
                    7. Loss of your job
                    8. An illness or injury that was very serious
                    9. Death of a close friend
                    10. Pregnancy

                    Notice that four of the 10 have to do with the death of a loved one or friend; as difficult as they are, they don’t reflect on who you are as a person. One (pregnancy) is good news, and one (jail) probably hasn’t happened to most of the people who read this newsletter. Of the top 10 life change events, divorce and job loss represent the two biggest attacks on a person’s ego.

                    In Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs tells the story of two friends who battled cancer and won. Both men soon found themselves unemployed. One said, “I was never depressed when dealing with cancer and possibly dying, but when I left my work, which was my identity, I went into a depression that was like nothing I had ever experienced before.” Are there things worse than job loss? Absolutely; but being unemployed is one of the toughest spiritual battles you will ever face.

                    If you are looking for a job you may feel you’ve had your ego attacked by your former employer, by prospective employers who’ve chosen someone else over you, and by potential networking partners who’ve refused to help you. You may be experiencing financial difficulties, you may have lost contact with close friends you used to work with, you may have lost the structure in your day and your week and don’t know what to do, and you may be facing the prospect of moving to a distant city in order to find a meaningful position. Your LCU score may be very high.

                    Who can relate to what I’m talking about here?

                    You’ve gone through a lot. You may go through more. When it rains, it pours. Problems compound. It seems there is no hope. Now your health is on the decline. Doctors have long recognized that stress can trigger a range of illnesses, from backache and headache to gastrointestinal problems, a weak immune system and heart attacks.

                    How much stress are you under? To access the test, click here. Go to “Products” and choose “A Recent Life Changes Stress Test.” They charge $5; it used to be $1. No joke. I can show you my credit card bill! If you just want to read more, click here for an article about a similar study that involved Rahe and another psychiatrist.

                    Over a one-year period, a life change score of 450 or higher means not only that several life changes have occurred, but also that some of these changes had very high stress values. This high recent life change stress load is called a “life crisis.” Two out of three people experiencing a life crisis will develop one or more illnesses, or have an accident, during the following year.

                    In January 2004, my score was 558. During the preceding six months I’d gotten divorced, bought a condo, lost my primary source of income, and started a business. You may have guessed that I also experienced financial difficulties. I also suffered a broken or dislocated rib when I slid head first into third base during a softball game; I got divorced in the morning (12 years ago last month) and broke my rib the same evening. Since I was more than 100 points above 450, Dr. Rahe would say that I had a 75% chance of illness or injury in 2004. Praise the Lord I made it through in one piece; I did have a bike wreck that December, but was unhurt. My current life change score is more than 500 points lower.

                    By the way, life change events are not the only things that put stress on our minds, bodies and spirits. We need to take steps to guard our hearts from persistent, long-term stressors as well. I’ll address this topic in two weeks.

                    You can learn three things from my experience:

                    1. You are in temporary state.

                    As it was for me, the good news is that most people do not remain in a life crisis for more than a year or two. That’s because subsequent illnesses and accidents demand your attention and you begin to cultivate important stress management and lifestyle coping capabilities. There is a purpose in your suffering. I am reminded of James’ words, “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.” – James 1:2-4

                    2. You have choices; be proactive.

                    To decrease the length and severity of your temporary state, you must do something! Get out of bed and come to JobSeekers; I did in 2004 – and I was the leader! I came to bless others, and I received a blessing myself. Being proactive gives you a sense of control. Even more important than JobSeekers is the decision you make about the spiritual perspective you will have on your job search and your journey through life. Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

                    3. You matter to God.

                    No matter what happens to you in life, no matter what you do or what you’ve done in life, your heart matters to God. He loves you and he wants the best for you. He can take the shattered crystal and broken glass in your life and turn it into a beautiful stained glass window. God promises to work for the good of those who love him: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

                    Later in the same chapter Paul says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35-39

                    In a devotional at JobSeekers a few years ago, John Hobbs, Pastor of Care Counseling at Crossroads Church in Newnan, used Habakkuk 3:17-18: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

                    Friends, God loves us even when the rain falls. God loves us even when the floods start rising. God loves us even when the storms come. In fact, we are washed by His cleansing water during the most difficult days of our lives. (Adapted from the lyrics of “Washed by the Water” by NEEDTOBREATHE.)

                    How are you going to respond to God’s call during this significant life change event?

                    See you Friday at JobSeekers, where we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!

                    Copyright © 2005-2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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