My lesson for my Life Skills class concerned academic planning and career exploration. What degree should I seek? How do I find a job? I was very surprised to see that part of my lesson was about the same things I spend several hours each week doing at the LDS Employment Resource Center. This lesson was to help us “count the cost” of going to school. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28)
I am having sort of a difficult time deciding what degree I should seek simply because I do not plan to use it for a career. I am seeking a degree for knowledge that I can use in this life as well as take with me into the next life to help me continue to grow and progress. I am seeking the knowledge that Heavenly Father knows that I will need to have in order to do what He would have me do. Whatever degree I seek will be in answer to promptings from Heavenly Father.
That being said, I found the process for choosing a career to be very interesting. We were first asked to watch a short video about a couple that went through the Pathway program and continued their education online until they each earned a degree from BYU-Idaho. Their stories were very much like my own. Chad did not think he needed education because he was going to be a farmer – not knowing that education would make him a better farmer. Kameron always wanted a degree and started school but got side tracked by life. Through the Pathway program they were able to earn their degrees.
The next part of the lesson was to explore the Degree Options section of the Pathway website. I looked at numerous degree options that I could obtain completely online and think I know which one I should work towards. The next part was an article in the Ensign about finding a job that I will discuss later. The last part of the assignment was to complete the O*Net OnLine Interest Profiler to determine where my interests are and what careers are available for those interests.
I wanted to do the Ensign article last in order to spend more time on it. It is titled “Job Hunting According to Nephi” and was written by Edgar Tooley about his quest for a new job. When he was laid off at his job, he remembered a story in the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ that was similar to his situation. The story is in 1 Nephi 16:18-32. Nephi broke his steel bow, and the bows of his brothers were no longer good. They had no tools to hunt for food. Nephi made a bow and at least one arrow and then went to his father Lehi to ask counsel about where he should go. He followed the counsel and obtained food for the family.
Brother Tooley also remembered a quote by Bishop Richard C. Edgely, then First Counselor to the Presiding Bishop: “The responsibility for finding employment or improving your employment rests with you. Continued guidance comes from the Lord, through regular fasting and prayer. Your quorum leaders, bishops, specialists, and employment resource center staff will help in your efforts. We fear, however, that often priesthood leaders are unaware of your situation.
“Speak up! Let them know you are looking for work” (“This Is Your Phone Call,” Ensign, May 2009, 55).
Brother Tooley decided to prepare his tools; he attended the Career Workshop, updated his resume, and attended networking meetings. He signed up with LDSjob.org as well as with a professional networking website. After he had done everything that he could do for himself, he went to his father for a priesthood blessing. He then worked full time at finding a job.
As taught in the Career Workshop, Brother Tooley developed and rehearsed his “Me in 30 seconds” or summary of his education, career, and work goals. Some people call this an “elevator speech” – something you can say before the person with you gets off at the next floor. He also wrote several “power statements” or positive but brief descriptions of his work assignments. The best power statements contain some numbers about those accomplishments. He also made a list of people to call, and he called them. He set up some informational interviews and sent thank you notes.
Brother Tooley fasted, prayed, and went to the temple. He counseled with his bishop and quorum members. He got permission to put a message on the Relief Society email network. His message was very simple and non-threatening: “Who do you know that I should be talking to?”
While returning some equipment to his former employer, Brother Tooley happened to ask a former co-worker – who knew he was looking for work – if he knew of someone Brother Tooley should contact. The former co-worker said “Oh, yeah. A member of his ward was opening a business and needed twenty new employees. Brother Tooley obtained the contact information and called; he was rewarded with an interview. Brother Tooley said that he was “surprised to realize [he] had to ask someone who already knew [he] was looking for work.”
Brother Tooley continued to look for work full time and was rewarded with a new job six weeks after being laid off. He was later called to help other people find jobs.
There are several reasons why Brother Tooley was successful in finding a new job. First, he had the training and experience employers were looking for. Second, he followed the instructions given to him at the LDS Employment Resource Center. In fact, his article sounds like he followed the instructions perfectly. Do you have any idea how many people come into our ERC looking for work who refuse to follow our instructions? Most of our patrons want to do things their way, even though their way is wrong.
I am grateful to know that BYU-Idaho includes this employment information in their Life Skills class. I hope the younger generation will understand their need for education and/or training. I also hope they understand that the Lord’s program for finding jobs really works. If they will follow instructions received at the ERC, they can find work.