Chapter 7: Finding Your Unique Path
1. Are some job markets more secure than others? "Keep in mind the transition we have had from 'production work' to 'knowledge work'." I'm glad Miller put this into words. Sometimes it seems to me it would be so much easier to go to work on a factory line, put in your 8 hours a day, and go home. I go to work at the preschool, put in my 6.5 hours, go home, and think about the preschool while I'm home. I lesson plan; I screen story books; I brainstorm ways to help one kid enter into play while simultaneously brainstorming ways to redirect another child's too-active play. My job is emotionally exhausting. Miller writes, "[As a knowledge worker] your tools of the trade are largely between your two ears." As an early childhood educator, my tools are also in my heart. Miller goes on: "Thus your skills are much more transferable than those of production workers." My skills transferable? I'll have to think on that one some more. None of this goes to answer the question, however. Are some job markets more secure than others? At this time in our economic history, I don't think any job market is secure. There.
2. What are the best places to look for new opportunities in today’s workplace? Well, I got my new job by applying to an ad on Craigslist, but Miller claims that "Fewer than 1 percent of job seekers actually get a position from responding to an Internet ad." Other ways to not get a position include answering an ad in the paper, using a headhunter, and answering an ad in a trade journal. I'm applying for a second job at Bookman's. I marched in there one day with my peeps and asked at the trade desk who's responsible for hiring. The nice clerk gave me an application and told me to have fun with my cover letter. I'll show you when I'm done.
3. What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made in the past in looking for new positions? Not looking. Staying too long in a position that long ago lost its appeal and utility.
4. How do you feel about “promoting” yourself? Very hard for me to do. We're not supposed to toot our own horns. Identifying strengths feels like bragging. I'm far more comfortable enumerating my weaknesses. Miller says finding a new position is basically a sales job and the product is yourself. And he recommends making phone calls. I hate making phone calls.
5. How do you know when to change jobs or careers? When the oppression at the current position becomes simply too much to bear, and the desire to drive my car into a tree is stronger than my desire to drive my car to work.
6. How should we apply the principles found in Colossians 3:23–24 as workers in this day and time? "(23) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (24) since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." I believe that the Lord Christ dwells within me, so the satisfaction I receive from working with all my heart at whatever I do serves my self and my Lord. Trouble is, I'm no longer working with all my heart when I'm at the preschool, and I use my current personal transitions as an excuse. My God-given abilities are taking backseat to the real-life tribulations I'm experiencing. I wonder how subtle a shift in thinking (feeling?) is required to bring my heart back to my work. To bring my heart back to anything, for that matter.