By Terry Frisk
One of the greatest joys of adolescence was the summer break from school. Days were filled with summer recreation programs, neighborhood adventures and serious goofing off. One of my greatest joys was staying up late and watching “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. His wit and humor were loved by all generations. Sometimes, he would get so involved with his interviews that he would forget to break for a commercial. The piano player would gently remind him by playing the three-tone NBC chime. If he did not break the conversation, the entire band would blast the NBC chime to gain his full attention. How many times have we heard God speak to us through the piano player and not really heard the message until the entire band gets our attention?
Fast forward more years than I care to admit. I was at a comfortable point in my career, with ten years to go before retirement. I had experienced some thoughts about making a career change and even had some opportunities (cue the piano). Then, the ownership of the company I was working for changed and my job was being eliminated. Strike up the band! Through prayer, I felt God calling me to finish my career by applying my skills and experience to help other businesses succeed so that they can provide valuable goods and services to their customers, support their vendors, contribute to their communities and, most importantly, provide an income for their employees to support their families. I started providing advisory services to small businesses to help them become financially stable. At first, it was difficult, but I maintained faith that it was God’s plan for me. I drew comfort from Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I have been very blessed by the opportunities that have been revealed to me.
Many people have recently found themselves unemployed rather abruptly. Four months ago, there were not enough workers to fill the available jobs. Today, we are facing double digit unemployment levels. It initially appeared that people would be out of work for a short period of time and then return to their previous jobs. However, it is now apparent that many previous jobs will be lost forever as some businesses will not be able to survive the shutdown they experienced. My prayers go out to those who are out of work. These are not prayers of sympathy, but prayers of hope. While it may seem that the situation is hopeless, God indeed has a plan.
If you are one of the 40 million Americans who are currently unemployed, do not despair. Steps you can take now to get yourself back on track include:
- Pray for comfort and guidance.Turn to the Lord and unload your concerns and fears. Seek His comfort and guidance. Listen carefully as He conveys His plan for you.
- Utilize the resources that are available to you.Eligibility rules for unemployment benefits have been expanded and the weekly payments currently include an additional $600 to assist those out of work. Seek out other stimulus programs that are being offered at this time to assist you.
- Prepare for a career change.God may be calling you to follow a new career path. Follow your heart and take steps to prepare for this change. Seek career counseling to help determine a path forward in changing your career.
- Educate yourself.There is a myriad of online educational programs to help you improve your skills or develop new skills. Many of these programs are offered free of charge. Enroll in programs that you do not even have a current interest in. You may find an interest in an area you never previously considered.
- Seek advice.Talk to people who are in careers that you are interested in pursuing. Seek their input on the pros and cons of their career. Contact career counselors offered by your local employment agency, schools, church or individual professional job counselors.
Keep the faith. As author Frederick Buechner stated: “The worst thing isn’t the last thing about the world. It’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best.” If you are hearing the band blasting the NBC chime, understand that God has a plan for you that will be the best thing. There is always hope.
Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing financial advisory services to small businesses. He also counsels individuals on personal financial matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He may be contacted through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.