Your Christian Worklife in 2015 (Blog posts)

Need a Crash Course on INTERVIEWING?  Check out the Successful Interviewing post published yesterday – based on 2 phenomenal Workshops (I attended) & an insightful post.   What is the Formula for Career Success? (Check out the Career page to find out).   Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday a career-related post will be published on this blog.  Grace, mercy, and peace.  Greg S.

66 Assurance Way

Sunset with Cross

  • Will 66 Assurance Way continue posting on Career and workplace issues?

Yes.  Being a Career Champion in today’s economy typically involves more than just working hard and praying hard.  Working smart, planning wisely, and keeping the Lord in your ‘work walk’ will position you to be more victorious in 2015 – and beyond.

  • I intend to offer posts on Worklife, Career, and Job-related issues on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month beg. in February.
  • Posts dealing with Spiritual encouragement, Christian empowerment, and Gospel music will continue to be the core of what’s posted on this blog in the New Year.  However, in that most Christians need to work for a living, my focusing just on the God, Scriptural, & Church aspects of Christian life seems too narrow a focus.  It is through our jobs that we support ourselves, our families, and our churches.
  • The Your Next Triumph: Just…

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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)


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



Achieving a Bias-Free Workplace: A Must-See Exercise for Managers

Business Talks

When I stumbled on to this exercise on Buzzfeed (viewed over 4,700,000 times since posted on 11/21/14), I knew I had to share it!

  • Understanding the advantages (‘privileges’) and disadvantages that a person in an organization may be dealing with can help Managers mitigate (or eliminate) the bias which exists there.  Moreover, a person may be a privilege holder and bias sufferer at the same time.   Therefore, in doing the Exercise spotlighted later in this post, most people will be ‘in the front row’ on something.   For example, as an African-American male, my not being wheel-chair bound (having a physical disability) is an Advantage and my race (in some places) can be a Disadvantage.
  • As I wrote on this blog a few months ago (post),

[Until ] you have walked a mile in another man’s shoes, you can’t say you really know them.    Steve Mueller, in a post on Developing Empathy (link) writes: “The earliest traces of the enlightening part of the proverb date back to the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans, who said Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.

The proverb was put into wider use, he notes, by author Nelle Harper Lee, in her book To Kill a Mockingbird (J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960), where she wrote:   “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

  • EXERCISE: “This Teacher Taught His Class A Powerful Lesson About Privilege” (link, Buzzfeed), a simple, but powerful Exercise may help you in exploring and discussing openly the role that ‘Privilege’ (Advantage) plays in how those you manage currently operate.   Those who find themselves ‘in the back row’ are in a very different position than those privileged folks ‘in the front row’.   A bias-free workplace is free of any Isms – i.e. discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, etc.
  • Managers: Even if someone is benefited by a privilege in one area, they may  potentially face bias in a different area also.   Even if done during a meeting of   Managers and Supervisors at your organization, the simple Exercise has the potential to help illuminate the impact that bias and privilege can have in making a Bias-free Workplace a reality.  Is your department free of Bias?   If it isn’t, the open dialogue sparked by a meeting using the Exercise cited above may prove helpful in making it freer of Bias. Grace, mercy, and peace to you.

Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.   This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.   

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.   You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.   (John 15: 11-14 NKJV)

Photo credit: iStock

Ask, Seek, Knock, & Win! (Russell Wilson)

iStock_000027630618Medium_manstretchingNYCYour Next Triumph Series – The quarterback for the reigning NFL Champions (2014), the Seattle Seahawks, is a Proud Christian!   Russell Wilson has two-sport skills (Football and Baseball) which help make him a distinctly-smart Professional Athlete.   He’s known for his on-the-field Poise.  In a year when more than a few NFL Players have exhibited questionable or bad behavior off the field, it’s refreshing to have a Christian man who’s on the Lord’s Battlefield!   While Wilson was picked in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, not the 1st round (as Robert Griffin III & Andrew Luck were), someone forgot to tell him to not excel so quickly! (smile)

  • His words of wisdom, including a Biblical verse from Matthew that I love, are heartfelt.   Guess what?  They’re good advice even if you’re not a Professional Football Player! (smile).

In a piece done by CBS Seattle (link), Wilson describes how he found God at the age of 14.

“I had a dream that my dad passed away and that Jesus came into the room and he was basically knocking on my door, saying, ‘Hey, you need to find out more about me,’” Wilson said.    “So that Sunday morning I ended up going to church and that’s when I got saved.”

The star quarterback thanks God for the talent God has given him.   “No one can stop what God has for you,” Wilson said.

For those who abide in Christ and follow the three P’s, your next triumph WILL be just a step away.

  • The three P’s: “Always Persevere, always have a great Perspective, and always have great Purpose in your life”. (Russell Wilson, who celebrated his 26th Birthday yesterday by the way)
  • God is good (#Godisgood)
  • Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 NKJV)
  • Gospel for the Ride:  “Champion” / Darwin Hobbs (Audio, 2010)
    • “A Champion lives within me.  He’s given me Authority”.

  1. Do you Persevere, or are you quick to Quit?
  2. Do you have the right Perspective to achieve a triumphal outcome?
  3. Do you live a life of Purpose?
  • A career which lacks Perspective and Purpose will surely not inspire you to Persevere until you’ve triumphed.  Remember Russell’s 3 P’s.  Remember and meditate on the ‘door-opening’ words from the 7th verse of the 7th Chapter of the book of Matthew: Ask, Seek, and Knock.   If you keep both these in mind you’ll Win and be a Champion.   Russell Wilson did it.  You can too!    To God be the Glory.

Greg Silverthorne

@66AssuranceWay (Twitter)

Photo Credit: iStock

Dealing with Discouragement: A Crash Course

Are You (or someone close to you) dealing with Discouragement in your Worklife?   If so, this post I’m reblogging today may be just want you need to keep ‘pressing towards the mark’.  Taking your Next Step is important to getting your Next Victory!   Are you ready?   Grace, mercy, and peace to you.  Greg S.

66 Assurance Way

iStock_000024086772Medium_stressAtWorkAnd David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God

(1 Samuel 30:6 KJV)

Even the most Christ-abiding believers need to remain encouraged – during
life’s long walks and faith-testing storms.

 Grace, mercy, and peace to you!   To God be the Glory.

Greg Silverthorne

 Photo credit: istock

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