We, along with the world, place an extreme amount of importance on the degree of success that we achieve in our lives. It is not all that unusual for one to come across accounts of different individuals who have started with nothing and through what seems to be a combination of skill and good luck built for themselves fortunes.
And who among us has not at one time or another wished that we were as good in our favorite sport as the best person. We can dream of rolling a perfect 300 game in bowling or hitting a home run with the bases loaded in baseball. And from a human point of view we all want to realize some degree of success in our own lives. Perhaps we never expect to amass a small fortune or bowl a perfect game, but the desire is there none-the-less. But by today’s standards, we both expect and desire to be able to lead lives that are relatively secure.
But as Christian young people, you realize that there is always more to any situation in life than what we want. The world’s young people are concerned with their own self-interest. How can they get ahead in this life? While we have to consider the Will of God with regard to our calling, they consider the amount of money they can earn.
With this in our minds, let us look for just a minute at some of the aspects we have to consider when faced with the issue of choosing a career. We must never forget that God for eternity has determined what our calling in this life will be. There is a tremendous comfort in that fact. God has planned out your life from beginning to end so that as believers we rest assured of the wisdom of God’s way.
But choosing a career is by no means an easy road to go down. It is by far one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make. It is not only difficult, it can be frustrating and even at times overwhelming. And the difficulty and the frustration are increased by those two major career choice mistakes: Ignorance of the thousands of occupational options, and poor judging of one’s talents.
As young people, you have to look at all the possibilities that are available. There are more than 20,000 careers out there to choose from with 1,000 new ones being added each year. And most of us are still wandering around and choosing between butchers, bakers, and C.P.A. ‘s. More importantly, however, is the fact that you must take stock in yourself. You must discover what your aptitude is, which is nothing more than your strengths and weaknesses. You have to be objective about your interests and your attitude about things like wanting to work alone or whether you need supervision.
Obviously, the problems a young person may have are not always his or her fault. Television is the early forceful provider of false impressions. Television supplies young people with the idea that a real medical examiner is just like “Quincy” or that a television newsroom is just like the cozy family in “Mary Tyler Moore”.
Also, many schools don’t do as much as they might with career education, with helping students analyze their talents and their aptitude.
What you usually get are a few trips to the fire and police departments when you are in grade school. And then it is usually dropped until high school when you bump into something called “Career Day”.
They are only one day long usually and there is not enough time to get any real information.
Another drawback is that most guidance counselors are not equipped to discuss careers because they have spent most of their lives in a school system and that’s all they know.
Students should be exposed to experts in small relaxed groups. You have perhaps eight or ten students who are primed with pointed questions. Not “Why do you like to be a lawyer?”, but “What is it that you don’t like to do that you push off to another worker?” Or, “What did you do between 9 A.M. and 10 A.M. yesterday?”, or “Did you take any shortcuts to your career and why?”
According to experts in this area the next twenty years will be crucial ones for career education because so many new occupations will be opening up. And the five greatest growth areas which these experts see will be:
Leisure time activities – By the year 2000 we will have a 32 hour work week. People will have more free time so there will be more opportunities for things like golf course architects or for jobs in the hotel and amusement park areas.
Care for the elderly – With the number of people over 65 doubling by the year 2000, there will be the accompanying expansion of jobs in the field of geriatric care.
Energy development – Our energy needs, be it coal, oil or nuclear, will require engineers, in addition to people who can market it, advertise it, and package it.
Supportive health careers – A probably national health insurance program of some kind will mean that people with skills in supportive health care, jobs like respiration therapy and blood technology will be in demand.
Communications – In the exploding area of communications, there will be jobs opening in technological areas that haven’t even been developed yet.
But unlike the world’s youth, we as confessing Christians have to realize that there are so many other areas and ideas that have to be considered when we think about our possible life’s work.
Many jobs that are available to others are not available to us simply because that particular job would mean we would have to join a labor union to keep it. This problem will become even more so as the cost of living continues to climb out of sight. The same job may pay considerable more because of a union shop than that job would pay in a non-union shop.
Another consideration which must be faced is: Will this job mean the possibility of leaving the church. Today it is impossible for an executive to move up the corporate ladder unless he is willing to relocate, perhaps many times. In such a career, you could face the real possibility that you might have to choose between advancement or the church. What if you had to go to a branch office where there was no church in the area. What would you do?
When I look back on the past fifteen years, I do indeed see God’s hand directing my life, as He is doing for you as well. If someone would have told me then that I would be doing what I am doing now, it would have been hard for me to accept. But God does give us grace, for we are above all, His servants; and as servants, we must do what our Lord desires.
The answer for the questions that we all have in our hearts from time to time about our life and the work we are called to do is found in the Word of God and in prayer. For a Christian these two go hand in hand. And as His children we acknowledge His plan for us as the best way our lives can possibly go. Even though the future does seem uncertain, we can be sure that God will without any doubt direct our way down that path.