Thursday, July 15, 2010

Freedom to Respond

On January 5, 2009 I started my adventure with the US Census Bureau. I was hired as a Partnership Specialist and my charge was to create as many partnerships with the local leaders in fifteen counties here in Tennessee asking them to assist us in getting the word out about the importance of the upcoming 2010 Census. It's been a whirlwind eighteen months, but we are now winding down. Phew...the numbers are almost in.
So, why am I telling you this? My contract ends sometime between now and September 25, 2010. So guess what I'm doing again. Yes, that's right, job hunting.
These are tough times as many of you are aware of. Jobs are scarce and there are hundreds of applicants where there were just scores before. It is really easy to get discouraged. For example, I applied for two chaplaincy positions in the past couple of months. One of them was in a retirement home and the other a prison. The first, I didn't even get an interview, but several weeks later I received a letter saying, well you know, the standard rejection prose. And just last week, after a positive interview, I heard back from the county jail. Yes, someone else was selected.
So, let me ask you: How would you react, or, better yet, how do you react when you are disappointed? There are so many options, aren't there? Here's a samplingof some possibilities:
  • Sadness
  • Discouragement
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Self-condemnation ( If I wasn't such a _____ I would have gotten the job)
  • "Whatever"...which can actually be a kind of thinly veiled anger
  •  Acceptance?
I think that our initial reaction to disappointing news can be influenced by a few factors.
First, it depends on how desperate your circumstances are. If you're at the end of your rope, and there is no knot to hang onto, then let-downs can be very devestating. I've had my share. I also think that the people you surround yourself with will most definitely have an impact on your reaction. Do you have supportive friends and family? That is critical. What about your the age factor? Wow, that hurts. I'm in the deep end of the fifties pool, and that has an impact on my employability for sure. And, finally, where does faith come in? Do you have any? I'm not just talking about that pie-in-the-sky kind of belief system, but a core faith in yourself and your abilities.
Personally, I am a man of faith. Mine is in a God that cares about everything that happens to me and for me. Even with that spiritual dimension, I still have to believe that I can accomplish what I need to in this life. I also have to have someone close to me that has similar confidence and faith.
So, let me finish this up. Every one of us will face disappointments. Life is just that way. How we react is not only an indication of our healthiness, but also a determinant. We cannot be afraid to be honest about our circumstances with someone that can assist us. I have used a select few confidants, several supportive friends and family members, the clergy and even an occasional counselor.
Give someone the privilege to be there to catch you as you're falling. It will certainly make the landing a lot easier.
By the way, my reaction to the news about the jail chaplaincy was an amazing peace. I believe that God showed me in my last season of unemployment that the "no" is a step toward the "yes" that is waiting for me.

Until next time...God bless you.