Restless soul and unstable economy can lead to new direction in life

| Susan Klemond for The Catholic Spirit | June 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

About five years ago, Bill Muske started wondering if God might want him to do something else with his life besides continuing to build up his career as a financial adviser.

“When you’re immersed in a market or in your career, it’s really hard to pull your head above water and look around and ask, ‘Is this right for me or not?’” said Muske, who attends St. Peter in Forest Lake. “When the financial collapse of 2008 hit, that’s when I pulled my head out.”

Now, after leaving an industry he believes he got into for the wrong reasons, God is helping Muske figure out if he should use his people skills as a counselor. In the process, he’s discovering not just a new career path but a life direction as he prays, does research and receives guidance.

Finding the right fit

Whether they’re entering the job market for the first time or preparing for a second or third career, those making a job or career change seek security in a volatile market, employment experts say. By discerning God’s direction and doing the work to get there, job hunters are more likely to find that security in a job that’s right for them.

“The dreams, the values, what am I passionate about, my wiring, my gifting, it’s all part of the package,” said Jerome Meeds, a certified life coach and spiritual director who directs Dunrovin Retreat Center near Stillwater. “I believe God speaks to us through all those things to help give us a direction for our life.”

Finding the right career is a process, though not everyone takes the same steps, said Diane Crist, director of the University of St. Thomas’ Career Development Center, which offers a career development model for systematic planning, along with other resources on its website.

“To really go through a discerning, thoughtful process about what are your interests, what are your motivations and then to do research, really get out there and talk to people, learn about these careers, learn about the related careers — it’s time consuming but I think in the long run [people who do this are] going to be in careers and jobs that fit them better,” she said. “When you’re doing something you’re really interested in you have higher tolerance for the mundane or frustrations, and you’re more likely to stick with it and not have to go through this process as many times.”

The resources available for job searchers can be overwhelming unless they have a personal formula and understand their talents and motivations, said Terence Quigley, who counsels job seekers at SOAR4Jobs, a job transition support and networking group at St. Odilia in Shoreview. “A lot of people go down a career path that’s absolutely alien to their gut.”

UST’s Career Development Center works with 65-75 percent of students, who are coming in earlier as freshmen and sophomores, Crist said. Also, with the economic downturn of recent years, alumni have been seeking career assistance, she said. Job seekers want stability as they research possible careers.

After losing a job, it may be better to look for a new one in the same field in order to continue meeting financial responsibilities, rather than entering a totally new career at that time, Quigley said.

The person’s experience and familiarity with their old job’s tasks are big assets. “We have to start out with what they’re bringing to the table and what they’ve done and can sell in this market.”

Meeds agreed that the time after a job loss might not be the best time for a big change. “When someone’s down or depressed or in a low point, it’s a hard time to make life decisions because they’re not thinking always at their best place.”

His advice: Get another job but continue seeking God’s call. The loss could be an opportunity to refocus.  “They’re going to be much more successful if they can get to the place where they’re operating more in their gifts and their wiring.”

Crist encouraged job seekers to look for support and networking at their church.

As Christians we need to ask for God’s help and direction, Meeds said. Career — and life — success from the Christian perspective is understanding God’s purpose for our lives, understanding and using our gifts, and making a difference in others’ lives.

He advises that people should get as much help as possible and use tools to discover who they are and to open the door for God to do more work. “The worst thing is to sit back and wait for God to act and move and make things really clear,” he said. “It’s in the moving that God directs us. It’s in us getting out and working at using those tools that are out there.”

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Category: Vocations