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Realistic Employment Workshop: How to Pray for a Job
Questions of Realism, Idealism, and Creativity
My thanks today (Monday, Dec. 26, 2011) to all of you attending this joint session of the Realistic Employment Workshop and my Writers Workshop -- the faithful few, or the desperate few, depending on how you see yourself.
The response to my worldwide internet offer (via Hubpages) to help start realistic employment workshops (REWs, as in "rewind") has been less than overwhelming. I hear of people who "just want a job, any job," but none so far who want that job, the job of networking regularly with their own neighbors to confront the root causes of their unemployment and promote their mutual prosperity.
Apparently the title "realistic" scares some people away. Who wants to be "realistic" when all they need is a job? Right? Plenty of time for "realism" about my life later on!
Well, the name isn't the point. I don't have to use "realistic." All over the country people hold employment workshops without that name. But it seemed good to identify the approach I use in all my counseling and consulting. I could have used my own name (as in Max Havlick EW), but how would that help? I'm virtually unknown enough already as it is, and while I'm obviously a person not afraid to fail, no need to pile it on either.
Some people talk about the "ideal job," but such names as "Ideal Employment Workshop," much less, "Idealistic EW," however noble, just didn't sound like a winner to me. Personally I would have preferred "Creative EW," but that's too close to many groups already using CE in related businesses. I don't like to crowd other people, and anyway, I can't afford a lawsuit (to say the least!).
The distinctions between "realistic," "idealistic," and "creative" seemed very important to me years ago when I was writing philosophy (see my intro to "The Creation of the World"), but they seem more closely related to me now as I continue to learn more about life. Sometimes it's the very essence of realism to become more creative, or even more idealistic, and sometimes true creativeness ideally would lead a person to become what many people would call more realistic.
Let me illustrate these language issues with some of the various ways one might pray, or use affirmations, in search of a job.
Some people pray, "Please, Lord, help me get a job, any job!" and I actually heard at least one young man not a philosopher describe as "realistic" that kind of prayer earnestly repeated, as it was, with tears falling on his bended knees. In one sense, of course, he was absolutely right, bec. he got quick results exactly as he had asked: the very next day he walked down the same street he always did, but this time he saw a "help wanted" sign at the gas station, offered himself to the owner, and got the job forthwith. Unfortunately, however, he hated that kind of work, and six weeks later he became unemployed yet again. Did his prayer contain a mistake, and if you think it did, what was "the mistake" he made?
Alternately, what would you say if you heard that a few days later, out of desperation, he used that first experience to get a job in another gas station further down that same street which led him soon to a wonderful, life-time career in automobile repair, even though he had never before considered such a job in his entire life?
Other people pray to their version of a Divine Source (or affirm to impress upon their own minds) with a more specific goal in mind, "Lord, please help me get that job starting Jan. 1st over at the Ford plant on Dearborn St. working on computerized control components for the new model hybrid engines!" Many people might call that an "ultra creative" or "ultra-idealistic" prayer, but others might insist it was "ultra-realistic." What do you think (without peeking below!)? In either case, wouldn't you agree that the "ultra" part definitely comes through loud and clear?!
That example is hypothetical (but not far from actual cases I've heard, both religious and humanistic), so I cannot report whether the prayer secured the job, but I can ask you two questions that highlight issues of how to pray for a job: (a) Do you consider this prayer (or affirmation) clearly more realistic, idealisic, or creative for an unemployed 30-year-old electrical engineer with a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in electrical engineering who interned the past four summers in an automobile engineering group? (b) Do you consider this same prayer (or affirmation) clearly more realistic, idealistic, or creative for an unemployed high-school-dropout housewife who just happened to see the ad in the Sunday newspaper?
In my experience, different people answer such questions very differently, with differences seemingly related to their whole social, cultural, religious, economic, physiological, and even genetic backgrounds (as in young vs. elderly, male vs. female, or as in red hair vs. black, brunette, blonde, or artificially mixed!), perhaps esp. to their particular worldviews and/or religious faiths, if any, but in any case to their past life experience, even if not in their practice of prayer itself.
All this may seem arcane and strange for many, but confronting such questions sometimes proves surprisingly helpful in clarifying a mind confused about how, when, and where to seek a job, and what role to expect prayers and/or affirmations to play in the process. But I notice some of you waiting less and less patiently for me to get to what kind of prayer or affirmation I recommend from my experience with people seeking a job, so I dare not disappoint you any further.
I do not discount the value of affirmations, which prove useful to many people with or without a traditional religious faith, but here I focus on prayer terminology because my background allows me to conceive in personal terms, as well as in more impersonal scientific terms, the creation and governance of the universe, and because most, say 75-85 percent, of the people I counsel also have some form of faith that includes a personal, addressable God.
Nonetheless, as best I can tell from my experience, prayer to such a God may do at least as much, if not more, to change how the praying person thinks and does things, than it changes the actual thought and course of action of an Almighty God concerned with keeping all the trains of the universe running on time, and who, in any case, might prefer to throw the prayer back upon the praying person, but now with a more universal context than before, and with more endless possibilities, for actualizing the prayer. For one instance, I recall hearing "Rev. Ike" say on late-night radio many years ago, "God might answer your prayer with a good idea!" Being an idea-person, with my Baylor M.A. in intellectual history, that sounded to me then, and still today, like a pretty good idea.
If you want and need "just any job," you may well pray for that, but be aware you may end up with an "any job" you dislike, though it still may serve well your immediate needs. On the other hand, if you seek an ultra-specific job, you may insist on praying for that, but also end up with a job you don't like, or with no job at all, and sometimes even that result turns out best.
Each of these prayers illustrates what books on prayer call "outlining issues," being either too specific, or too unspecific, about what you want the Almighty to do, or what you want the Almighty to guide you into thinking and doing.
The medium-range alternative I have recommended with great effect goes more like this: "Lead me, Lord, to the job that's right for me," or to utilize that little grain of mustard seed faith that many people have whether they realize it or not, go ahead and say, "Thank you, Lord, for leading me to the job that's right for me!" No prayer is a complete waste of time, of course, but neither one of these tailored prayers will cause the Almighty any more trouble than an ill-defined, or ultra-defined prayer, but they could save you a lot of wasted time and trouble and lead you more directly to satisfactory, realistic employment.
Well, 1400 words, time's up for today. Let me hear your comments and questions, and I'll see you next time.
Realistic Employment Workshop
MHS Writers Workshop
Copyright (c) 2011 by The Max Havlick School, Villa Park, IL 60181-1938, all rights reserved. Anyone can start their own local "employment workshop" or "writers workshop" with or without our help (and use information from our HubPages in doing so), but if you wish to work synergistically with us, you may contact Max directly at the snail-mail address 60181-1938, or by e-mail courtesy of the Hubpages button at the top of this page. The same offer applies, of course, to individuals who want help finding the right job, overcoming job problems, or improving their skills in writing and/or other forms of personal communication.