Have you ever caught yourself saying this statement in frustration when looking back on your former job? If so, you’ve got good company. After unexpectedly losing their employment, many people resort to fondly remembering the “great job” they used to do.
In fact, you may have been a stellar, best-ever employee who was far superior to anyone else who did your job. You may have even gotten very positive performance reviews or won an award for your work. Yet suddenly you are no longer doing what you were so good at doing not that long ago.
“Maybe I really wasn’t that good. Maybe others just told me that to make me feel good.” What are you to do with these feelings of loss and possible whacks to your self-esteem.
First, ask God to help you release those self-defeating feelings from your mind. You were no doubt an important contributor to your workplace and the organization that employed you. Don’t try to plow the soil that’s already behind you. You’ll only get your mental and emotional wheels stuck in the muck and mire with nothing to show for it.
Second, consider that God may have a plan for your life that will use your past excellence as a springboard for a new opportunity in the future. Even though that new job won’t be exactly the same as the one you had before, in many cases that may be a good thing. You’ll learn new things while you stretch your mind and your body.
Third, keep your mind and your options open to new opportunities that seem at first glance to have little or nothing to do with what you did before. You have many transferable skills and an experience bank that can be applied to a new job and organization.
Think about David. Many people remember him as a great king, in spite of sometimes being a little bigheaded for his own good. Think back to his first recorded job in the Bible – keeping a flock of unruly sheep well fed, watered and safe from danger.
You may recall the story of Samuel the prophet being sent by the Lord to Jesse and his sons to select a new king. After seven of Jesse’s sons had passed before Samuel (all of them being rejected by the prophet) only one son was left, David the shepherd boy who was out doing what his job was – taking care of the sheep out in the field.
“So he (Jesse) sent and brought him in. Now he (David) was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’ ” (I Samuel 16:12 NKJV)
David could have said to his father and to the prophet, “Hey, I’m really good at what I do out there with the sheep. I think I’ll pass up this new job opportunity if it’s all the same to you.” Note that scripture doesn’t record what David thought or said at that time. However, something tells me it probably wasn’t anything like these words. But, how could David’s experience of caring for sheep possibly have prepared him for his new role as a leader of a nation.
Fast forward to David’s “encounter” with the giant Goliath. At that moment, his transferable stone-throwing skills saved the day and perhaps an entire nation. Or, think about some of the leadership challenges King David faced in his new role, for instance, trying to motivate and keep the wandering people he now shepherded moving in the same direction. Certainly his earlier days of caring for a flock of sheep helped him know how to bring together people of all persuasions to accomplish a goal.
Rather than bemoaning how good you were at your last job and how you can’t do that anymore, allow God to use those skills and your unique experiences in a new role to advance His kingdom. You may not be throwing stones in your new job, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be applying some of what you did so well in the past to achieve new achievements.
By Keith Lundquist
For more blogs and related resources on building your faith during a job search, go to www.FaithBetweenJobs.com