Introducing Christian Career Central

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  • Check out 66 Assurance Way’s newest Pinterest board, launched last weekend:

Christian Career Central (Pinterest)

  • Have a happy and safe Labor Day!

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Labor Day

MLK_labor_1482 Sep. 07 10.47Photo credit: crustybread (A ministry of reconciliation)


Happy Labor Day!   While I’d planned to publish a career-related post this morning, I ran out of time (smile).  This post captured my spirit.  Enjoy.

crustybread

Enjoy Your Day!

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.

Ephesians 6: 7-8 Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord…

Malachi 3:10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.

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Working in a Hostile Environment? (Part 2, 10 tips)

iStock_000024086772Medium_stressAtWork In Part 1 I shared 4 hostile work environment commandments.  In this Part 2 post, all ten are provided (in red), with a brief description by Ify Oluku.  

1. Understand that God anoints you for trouble.  Be sure you are a Christian.  Put on the armor of God before going to work.  Ensure you are prepared and empowered for each day.

2. Don’t expect to be appreciated.  Your only expectation should be to get a paycheck.   Don’t come to work to have personal relationships.   Don’t allow what you do to affect who you are.

3. Do your job well, but remember your mission.   God put you there to be a light.

4. Seek opportunities to change the atmosphere without commenting on the problems.  You have a God to talk to. You’re on an assignment.   In quietness and competence shall be your strength.

5. Don’t let your environment get inside of you. You should influence it, not let it influence you.   Stop going to work to be fed– you didn’t come to receive, you came to give.

6. Increase your capacity to work with different personalities.   God will often bless you through people you don’t even like!

7. Remember where you are does not define where you are going.   This will deliver you from frustration.   God has a plan for your life.   Keep your eye on the prize.   When Peter did this, he was able to walk in what other people sank in!

8. Get the optimum results with minimal confusion. Be effective without making the environment worse.

9. Don’t be associated with one group or clique.   Labels limit your usefulness.   God wants you to work with everybody but be labeled by nobody.   Use all your gifts.

10. Always keep your song near you.    Keep a consecrated place in your soul.   Hold on to your praise.  [Emphasis added]


  • Having seen videos (YouTube) on T.D. Jakes’ Ten Commandments for Working in a Hostile Environment, I felt a single post did not do the on-the-job strategies justice.  Above I’ve excerpted a post which captures well how the Preacher/Businessman personally presented the points.
  • Understanding all ten tips points can help you successfully navigate unfriendly work environments.  If the topic really intrigues you, there are YouTube videos and books on these work strategies from T.D. Jakes.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you.

 Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

 Photo credit: iStock

Working in a Hostile Environment? (10 Tips)

iStock_000024086772Medium_stressAtWorkIn The Ten Commandments of Working in a Hostile Environment: An Interview with T. D. Jakes, the Pastor/Businessman was asked, by TheHighCalling.org, why he felt the need to write about the Workplace.  T.D. Jakes replied:

I see many people today hired into situations contrary to everything else they know—church, family, everything.   Their parents tended to work in simpler environments, but people today deal daily with corporate deadlines, quotas, high-stakes meetings, budgetary constraints, threatened cutbacks, internal rivalries, harassment suits, and discrimination issues.   Add demanding customers, frivolous lawsuits, and patrons who spend more energy complaining than building relationships.   It all may put profits in the penthouse, but employee morale lands in the round metal file. [Emphasis added]


  •  When asked what the life of Jesus Christ shows us about survival in a hostile work environment, Jakes stated:

 The scriptures describe Jesus as a root springing out of dry ground:  He was self-contained, independent of His environment.   Who faced more hostility than Christ?   He faced media maladies, tax issues, temptations, betrayal of His friends and His accountant.   He was victimized by His associates and denied by those closest to him.  Yet he maintained His focus.  He managed to complete His assignment, pay His tax bill, identify His antagonist, move beyond His critics, survive the press issues, and rise above His circumstances without bitterness and depression.   He is the premier example of my book’s primary message.  [Emphasis added]


  • Jakes’ ten commandments are on-target!   While the Interview was originally published in 2006, and reposted earlier this year, his 10 tips and thoughts (as expressed) in the Interview are no less relevant. I’d say they are MORE relevant today.  A book on the workplace commandments was published (by the Penguin Group).   Frankly, while not a big fan of mega-churches (which Potter’s House in Dallas is), his commandments and thoughts (as expressed in this interview) are too good to not share.
  • Four of those 10 Commandments, which I found particularly inspiring:
    1. “Don’t let the environment get inside of you”
    2. “Keep your song near you”
    3. “Where you are is not where you are going”
    4. “Know that you are anointed for the job or position you now hold”

(to be continued)


 Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

 Photo credit: iStock

Crafting your Career Blueprint (Part II)

5449135977_de0497bf68_bCrafting your Career Blueprint: Strategy vs. Planning

  • What good does it do to climb a ladder that’s leaning on the Wrong Wall?

As I expressed in Part I:

Energies exerted pursuing a misguided career objective (or stuck in the wrong job) is like climbing a ladder on the wrong wall . . .

When you have a sound career strategy, you ‘think before you climb’.

Scripture tells us that ‘the fervent, effectual prayers of a righteous man availeth much’.   The fervent, effectual actions of a Christian worker, one with a strategically-sound Career Blueprint, availeth much too!

The Four Career Ladder Scenarios I described in that post (link):

1. At times, after crafting a well-strategized Career Blueprint, you’ll need to Move the Ladder to a different spot on the same wall (Right Wall, Wrong Spot).
2. At times, however, you’ll need to find a different wall to lean the ladder before climbing (Wrong Wall).
3. At times, ironically, what you are seeking is reachable without any ladder climbing (No Ladder Needed).
4. At times, your career ladder is exactly where it needs to be!  (Ideal Career situation)

In this post I offer potential career solutions to each of these Scenarios.

Being Keenly Self Aware

To understand which career ladder scenarios you’re in, you need to be keenly self aware.   The following two books will help you develop the career self awareness to properly know ‘where your career ladder’ is.

  • What Color is Your Parachute? (Richard Bolles, Ten Speed Press).   If your current job isn’t using most of your ‘motivated skills’ often, you likely aren’t in an ideal situation.   You may just lack the will, not ability, to use those skills (i.e. be in a No Ladder situation).   If this isn’t the case, the first scenario (Right wall/Wrong spot) may be where you find yourself today.
  • StrengthFinders 2.0 (Tom Rath, Gallup Press).   If you’re not regularly using many of your top five strengths, it’s likely you’re not now in an Ideal career situation – where your ladder is just where it needs to be for you to be successful.

As I stated in a prior post (link):

The [Tom Rath] book will tell you, based on [your top 5] strengths, which career and personal situations you’ll likely excel in.   The simple, one-hour [online] test is, I’ve found, quite accurate . . .  The 1 hour to take the test may be the smartest career development hour you invest this year.

The ‘Flower exercise’ in the [Parachute] book is a great way to reveal your key transferable skills.   These ‘motivated skills’ would be a part of the ideal job for you.   While more time-consuming than the Strengths Finder test, the results will be very revealing.   When I did it in 2010, I saw some patterns that I wasn’t aware of – and which really shocked me.


Your Career: Climb Up, Reach Within, and Celebrate!

For each of the Career Ladder Scenarios you might be in, there are a number of ways you can decide to effectively deal with them.  I’ve suggested below a few that might give you a head start in Stepping into your Next Career Triumph – or, if you’re in an Ideal situation now, be ready to achieve your next Triumph.

Right Wall, Wrong Spot (Scenario #1)

  • Employer Change (Similar job)
  • Target and get a Job Promotion (Same company)
  • Job at a different employer, in a Different Sector or Industry
  • Prime job in a city that requires a Longer Commute

Wrong Wall (Scenario #2)

  • Career Change
  • Relocation (out-of-state)
  • Go back to school or get a certificate (To qualify yourself for an ideal, or close-to-ideal job down the road)
  • Self employment

No Ladder Needed (Scenario #3)

Ideal Career Situation (Scenario #4)

  • Your current job and career situation is very good or great; your ‘career ladder’ is exactly where it needs to be!
    • Thank God!
    • Celebrate, but be alert to things about you, your occupation, your current employer, and the economy which might motivate you to ‘move your ladder’ later.   Don’t let a lack of vigilance on your part cause you to rest on the laurels (of your Current work situation).  If you do you may miss your Next Career Blessing.    A wise Christian worker wears ‘a belt and suspenders’ – to be prepared for whatever they face on their career journey.   To put it plainly, it’s hard to step towards your next Victory, or run from an observed Career Threat, if your pants fall down!
    • Again, celebrate your situation, but be vigilant too.  A Christian’s ‘strategy and suspenders’ can separate them from others.   Where are your suspenders?

510328408_b10d0c9cb1_zSo, where’s your career ladder leaning today?  Do you think ‘before you climb’?   If you’re not currently in an Ideal scenario, you may want to start crafting a Career Blueprint which allows you to be in one in the near future.

  • If you feel you’re in a Wrong Wall situation currently, please do the due diligence, soul searching, and strategic planning needed.   I’ve offered four things in this Part II post to spur your Blueprint Brainstorming; I’m sure you can identify others that might best fit your particular situation.     While moving your ladder to a new wall is a big move, it may be the best possible move to make!     Lastly, be prayerful as you meditate and plan.
  • A Right Wall/Wrong Spot situation is, as compared to a Wrong Wall one, somewhat easier to map out and act upon.   You aren’t moving your ladder to a new wall; you’re just finding a better spot on the wall it’s already leaning on.
  • The ease (or lack thereof) of No Ladder situations varies from person to person, and from situation to situation.

Too many Christian career professionals have a Career Blueprint which reflects that they don’t know the subtle, but important difference between Strategy and Planning.  I hope this 2-post look at mapping out your career helped you see why each is important.   Savvy workers have strategic skills which others lack – or choose not to use.   They work smart; they know that working fervently alone isn’t enough!    Moreover, as a Christian you know you’re not walking alone.  At times you just need ‘a little more Jesus’.

  • While this post concludes the Your Next Triumph worklife series, I will continue to blog on Christian career issues – at least twice a month typically.   I’ve received a good response to many of the series posts; frankly, I feel that I’ve just scratched the surface of what I feel all Christian workers need to know . . . to step victoriously in their careers.   Grace, mercy, and peace to you.

 Greg Silverthorne

66AssuranceWay blogger


Photo credit (Ladder on red wall) :  TheCoolQuest/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Photo credit (Leaning ladder, black & white): Hope Abrams/flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Crafting your Career Blueprint: Strategy vs. Planning (Part I)

510328408_b10d0c9cb1_z

By Greg Silverthorne

Your Next Triumph SERIES

Doing ‘all things through Christ’ surely includes having a fruitful, triumphant Career.   Is this easy for most?    No.    While God’s hand is unchanging, the same can’t be said about the U.S. workplace.    Navigating the American workplace requires, among other things, a strategically-robust road map I strongly feel.    Abiding Christians, who approach their career like skilled Chess Players, are best positioned to reap the harvest of their experience, contacts, and education.   Too many Christian career professionals have a one-dimensional, unsavvy Career Blueprint – or none at all.   Consequently, they miss many Grand Victories and suffer too many undeserved Defeats.

  • What good does it do to climb a ladder that’s leaning on the Wrong Wall?

Your Ladder, Your Career

In the five years since I launched a career education ministry at my church in the Greensboro NC metro area, I’ve come to believe a Ladder is one of the best ways to see where a Christian is in their career.   Some people put their career on auto-pilot and discover one day that their career is off track.   Why?    In short, they’ve changed, the field they work in has changed, and/or the workplace has changed.    Even if the first two of these haven’t much for a person, clearly the last (the workplace) is constantly changing.   In this post I will describe what your Career Ladder has to do with your having a successful worklife.

  • Consider this: A man has quickly climbed a Ladder, gets to the top, and belatedly discovers it was on the Wrong Wall.   However fast this man made it to the top, what has he accomplished?    Not a whole lot.
  • Energies exerted pursuing a misguided career objective (or stuck in the wrong job) is like climbing a ladder on the wrong wall.   Many career pros can ‘climb a ladder’ well, but are ineffectual.  Why?   Because their energies weren’t well focused.   Does this describe you at certain points in your career?
  • When you have a sound career strategy, you ‘think before you climb’.

Four Career Ladder Scenarios

1. At times, after crafting a well-strategized Career Blueprint, you’ll need to Move the Ladder to a different spot on the same wall (Right Wall, Wrong Spot).
2. At times, however, you’ll need to find a different wall to lean the ladder before climbing (Wrong Wall).
3. At times, ironically, what you are seeking is reachable without any ladder climbing (No Ladder Needed).   Nonetheless, you need to know to ‘reach and not climb’; I’ll describe this in the Part II post.
4. At times, your career ladder is exactly where it needs to be!  (Ideal)   Thank God!  Be it by sound strategy, serendipity, or divine intervention you’re currently in the ideal situation.

  • Scripture tells us that ‘the fervent, effectual prayers of a righteous man availeth much’.   The fervent, effectual actions of a Christian worker, one with a strategically-sound Career Blueprint, availeth much too!   To be such a worker, you need to know a few things, namely:

A) If you even need a Ladder (Why climb when what you really need can already be reached?)
B) Where to place the Ladder (Finding the right spot on the right wall)
C) When to climb the Ladder (Timing in some situations can make or break you!)
D) How to climb (Planning and the implementation of Blueprint action items)

Only after you’ve address the first three issues above, should you put on your Planner’s Hat.   Not before.   Career strategy lies in how much time you spend fully addressing the three Ladder issues above.   That strategy involves, among other things, knowing yourself well (e.g. your strengths and aspirations) and having a keen understanding of the job marketplace.   Ignorance about who you are or what the market currently demands isn’t a strategy for success!

  • After you have a well-considered Career Blueprint, major career moves can be wisely made.   At least twice a year that road map should be reviewed and, if necessary, be revised.   Please don’t let your Career Blueprint become stale.   Like a dusty Bible, a wonderfully-written career plan which is never used isn’t of much use.

Again, what good does it do to climb a ladder that’s leaning on the Wrong Wall?   By now I think the answer to this question should be self evident.    A career plan that reflects a sound strategy avoids you ever ‘climbing a misplaced ladder’ in your career.

In Part II of this post (in a few days) I’ll offer Solutions for each of the four (4) distinct Career Ladder Scenarios covered above.

(to be continued)


Photo credit: Hope Abrams/flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

It’s a Work Thing, You Need to Understand It (Christians)

The way to GodAs the year winds down, I thought it’d be helpful to direct you to the Christian Career posts which were posted before the Your Next Triumph: Just a Step Away SERIES was launched.

As I stated in the first career post on this blog:

My ministry leadership experience is with the educational ministry I first envisioned in the Fall of 2009.  I proposed the Dare to Work Ministry as a Career/Employment ministry to my Pastor (Dr. Rev. James A. Webster) in early December 2009.   After Thursday Bible Study a few weeks later he asked me: ‘So what do you plan to call the ministry Bro. Silverthorne?’.   I smiled; I knew what my Pastor’s question meant!   3 days later, from the pulpit, he announced the ministry to the entire congregation.

As Wood notes in the Wood piece I showcased on October 2, 2013:

“We lose sight of the sacredness of work, the benefits of education, the spiritual value of a career, the impact of our potential influence in the marketplace.”

Four tips for Managers were offered.   As well, I offered the following food for thought for all workers:

When you go to work, your faith and Christian values shouldn’t be locked away in your car in the parking lot!  No matter how high or low you are in your employer’s Organizational Chart, all Christians should strive to be God-abiding 7-24-365 – not just at home and 2 hours on Sunday.

Six steps for getting unstuck are offered in this post.   Needless to say Stop Digging!   The steps elaborate on how to do so.

These two posts are based on a Parker J. Palmer book I recommend highly.  In his book Let Your Life Speak:  Listening for the Voice of Vocation, he offers some great insight into how people typically go about choosing their career path.   Palmer states in the book:

“Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess.   Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to become something I am not.    It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.

Parker Palmer believes you’ll be more victorious if you let your life speak; listen to your own voice – to help you discover the vocation which suits you best.

If God called your number in a life-threatening, ‘valley of death’ situation at your job, would you have responded as a Georgia school bookkeeper did?   Earlier this year, Antoinette Tuff was surely a profile in Christian Courage!    As I stated in the two-part post:

The God-strengthened bookkeeper at the Georgia school “started off as his victim, then turned herself into his messenger, confidant, protector and mother before reverting to what she was all along: A survivor.”    Because she had more than ‘Georgia on her mind’, because Antoinette Tuff surely kept her mind stayed on the Lord, she masterfully kept a lot of people (including herself) from being killed or shot.    The God in her stepped in; He transformed an initially terrified person into a life-saving hero.

The Life Lessons that Tuff offers, as she discussed her behavior that day (and faith every day) with CNN are simple, but profound.  She inspired me to create this blog’s Faith in Action page.   Those Tuff lessons:

  1. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” (Nelson Mandela).
  2. “The tools we need in a time of crisis are sometimes within us.”
  3. “Our story could pull someone else through, if we are willing and able to share it.”
  4. “Make your judgment but decide to give people the benefit of the doubt.”
  5. “Be humble.”

  • These 8 posts, prior to launching (June 2014) the Your Next Triumph series (first Series post), touched on several Christian worklife issues.   In the new year ahead, I plan to continue posting about workplace and worklife issues facing abiding Christians on this blog.  The workplace in America today can be quite challenging.  However, the children of God have someone to help them deal with these challenges.
  • What is the biggest challenge you overcame in 2014?

Grace, mercy, and Merry Christmas to you!

  Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

 PhotoGregCarolinaLemonade