Transitions: Job Search Rejection
Going to rehab was like hitting the reset button on life. After I got out, I started everything over. 90 days later, instead of running back to a lucrative career in sales, I rode the humble bus to a local coffee shop. It was there, I transitioned from corporate executive to barista. I wish I could tell you, my occupational transition was birthed out of obedience to the Lord but that would only be partly true. Months before, I told my wife I believed I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit to find work slinging caffeine. In all honesty, it could have been the drugs talking because my methamphetamine addiction was spiraling out of control. Once I cleaned up months later, and after a plethora of third round interviews without any offers on the horizon - and after a counselor’s recommendation…I went to work for the mermaid of coffee.
Never in my wildest dreams, did I think being overqualified would be such a hindrance in finding employment. From the outside looking in, my resume didn’t make sense and neither did the titles I was applying for. To potential employers, the red flag of concern waived high: why would someone with years of director level work experience apply for an entry level position? Why leave a high paying job for minimum wage? Would I rock the boat by trying to take over? Would I follow direction or create issues? Ultimately, would I be the best fit?
Even the most thorough hiring managers take a gamble on new hires. Surely someone would take a gamble on me…
After applying at various locations, a friend from church recommended I come work with him. Once the manager reviewed my resume, I got the call. Until this moment, never had I experienced such direct questioning in an interview: “Look man, people with your experience dont typically make it here. They come in, work a couple days, sometimes weeks, and then bounce. Although it may be a transitional job for many, I need solid full-time employees I can depend on. What’s the deal with your resume? Why do you really want to work here, if you do at all?”
The realness of the questioning caught me off guard. His inquiry paved the way for me to practice principles I recently began living by. After completing 30 days of in patient treatment, another 60 in outpatient treatment, living in a sober home and attending 90 meetings in 90 days, I was getting honest. As I learned, if I wasn’t truthful in little things, I wouldn’t be truthful with the larger ones. And so with my new found truth, I replied, “I’m trying to get clean.”
Though it was hard expressing the nature and severity of my sickness, I mustered up the courage to take it one day at a time. It just happened this particular day looked like being honest with a potential employer. To my suprise, it worked. Though we should be wise with whom we share what, honesty is the best policy.
18 Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words]. (1 John 3:18 AMP)
Regardless of addiction, it can be hard to tell the truth. Whether it be to our spouses, children, friends, or employers. No matter the size, big or small, we cut ourselves short when we lie. When lying, we rob others of truth because we value self-preservation over all else.
I couldn’t successfully transition into what the Lord had for me until I honored what he already had given me. In addiction, I was the center of the universe. Self-preserving, I celebrated my feelings above all else. When my focus shifted from the mirror image of myself to mirroring His image, I got honest. When I got honest, I got clean! Because my focus was on the Lord, I was able to confidently share about where I was at in my recovery. Rather than trusting in man, trusting the Lord enables us to freely confess sin and admit our shortcomings!
When Joshua lead the Israelites through the crossing of the Jordan river to fight the battle of Jericho, he did exactly as the Lord commanded him to do. Because of his obedience, he was able to lead the people out of the wilderness and into the promised land. With God, they crossed raging flood level waters unharmed and ready for war. As a leader, Joshua was called to the highest levels of truth-telling and truth-doing. As leaders in our families, jobs, and communities, we are called too as well! The scriptures reveal, Joshua’s words were backed in so much action he was able to petition God to make the sun stand still (Joshua 10).
17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. (Joshua 3:17 NIV)
As the story unfolds, God commands Israel, with detailed instruction, to destroy the city of Jericho and its people (Joshua 6). However, a lie took the lives of close to 40 Israeli men. Because someone did not follow the honest instruction of the Lord, many lives were lost. Although Achan eventually confesses his rebellion and tells the truth of his transgression, it was too-little-too-late. Not only does Achan’s self-preservation cost the lives of his fellow brothers, it cost his life, along with his families too. Deceit corrupts everyone involved. When buying into a lie, we are partly to blame because lying takes two: one to tell it, and one to believe it.
But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully and violated their obligation in regard to the things [off limits] under the ban [those things belonging to the Lord], for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban [for personal gain]. Therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the Israelites. (Joshua 7:1 AMP)
On both sides, lying is a red-line indicator of misplaced trust. When we trust in the Lord, we do not lie nor do we become distraught by being lied to. If we wish to cross over the rivers of transition, we must do exactly as the Lord commands us to do. Like the Israelites, we cannot afford to deviate from His plans for our life, lest we end up wandering around places longer than initially intended. If after periods of rebellion we return to following the Lord’s ways, we must follow His instruction. Or, like the conflict with the men in the story of Joshua, we may lose a battle that costs us our lives. Walking through water can be extremely dangerous. Unknown terrain, coupled with swiftly moving currents, can bring death both proverbially and literally. However, like the Israelites transitioning into the great unknown - following the Lord’s instruction- we walk on dry ground. When the Lord is our rock, we trust Him to allow us to walk upon the waters…even when it’s scary.
Honoring God looks like being honest with Him and others. To be spiritually healthy, we need to be honest.
As I step back into the cold waters of the sometimes frigid job hunt, I’m refreshed and encouraged by the journey God has taken me on these last couple years. I never would’ve planned it, I certainly didn’t expect it, but I’m grateful to be able to take on new challenges and interviews.
Even though I just received what seems to be my thirtieth rejection letter, and after countless rounds of interviews - I am choosing to lean into the unknown. Like the Israelites, I have no clue where to go other than where God leads. Placing one foot in front of the other, I am relying on the Lord to direct my path. Regardless of rejection, road blocks, or letters of denial, I am choosing to trust in the Lord.
Job or no job, He delivers us because He is faithful. Though the sting of rejection pierces like nails, Jesus remained faithful to the very end. In our call to be more like Him, we persevere by honoring Truth above all else.
What Trust Looks Like
7 “Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord
And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord.
8 “For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters,
That spreads out its roots by the river;
And will not fear the heat when it comes;
But its leaves will be green and moist.
And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought
Nor stop bearing fruit.
(Jeremiah 17:5-8 AMP)
5 Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in and relies on mankind,
Making [weak, faulty human] flesh his strength,
And whose mind and heart turn away from the Lord.
6 “For he will be like a shrub in the [parched] desert;
And shall not see prosperity when it comes,
But shall live in the rocky places of the wilderness,
In an uninhabited salt land.