Laying the groundwork for a vocational transition

Creative Commons "Resume Writing Tips" by Nguyen Hung Vu licensed under CC 2.0.
Creative Commons “Resume Writing Tips” by Nguyen Hung Vu licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I am a big believer in frugality – spend wisely, save aggressively. I get some of my money tips from The Simple Dollar, and recently there was a post outlining “Ten Steps for Protecting Yourself Against an Unexpected Job Loss.” The article could just as easily been called “How to Make Yourself Marketable,” because it gives some good readiness tips for making a vocational move. All the suggestions were helpful, and I’ve pulled out a few of them and tailored them to ministry:

  • Network. Network. Network. Networking is about swapping wisdom and support with colleagues of all stripes and figuring out how you can partner to do some good. Happy by-products of networking are increased name recognition and early tips about opportunities.
  • Take advantage of continuing education. Does your setting pay for you to go to trainings, conferences, or denominational meetings? Go! Your participation benefits the people you currently serve and expands your network and skill set for when you’re ready to make a move.
  • Keep track of your tasks and accomplishments. Maintain a running list of special projects (and outcomes) and consider how those experiences have provided transferable tools and increased confidence. That list may be helpful in your current position too if you’re looking for a reminder of what works or if questions come up about your job performance.
  • Be a team player. We are all more likely to thrive when we are invested in rather than competing against each other. Resisting the temptation to bad-mouth takes grace and self-assuredness, but it creates a more productive work environment and a community of colleagues invested in one another’s current and future growth. (Some of those colleagues might even make good references!)

Certainly we are called to “bloom where we’re planted.” But the time will come when we will be transplanted, and finding the most flourish-friendly environment will depend on our commitment to augmenting skills and relationships.

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