The Little Work Book: Chapter 4

It Is Ready When You Are

Congratulations, you’re hired. As of this moment, I am giving you a job. Don’t worry, the qualifications are easy. If you have decided that work is an important value in life, if you have decided not to believe the big lie that you can’t find any work, if you have embraced the concept that God is your provider, then you have everything you need to excel at this job. You ready to hear what it is?

Your job is to get a job.

Before you roll your eyes at me, let me illustrate further. Every now and then I like to think through this scenario: What would I do if I were dropped off in a city where I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t have any money, food, or shelter? How would I survive?

I’ve thought about this hundreds of times. I’m not sure why I get a kick out of it, but I do. I go through every step, every obstacle, and every possible outcome that comes to mind, and my conclusion is always the same. I am absolutely certain that within three months of being dropped off, I will have found a decent paying job, my own place to live, dependable transportation, and at least a couple of friends. I don’t come to this conclusion because I think I’m special, or smarter, or better than anybody. I just know the principles to follow to make these things a reality, and I have seen them work time and again in my own life and other people’s lives.

It starts like this: I tell myself that I will put in as much effort and hard work into finding a job as I would at anyplace that would hire me. I view finding work as my work until I find work. I begin by praying and asking God, who is my provider, to help me find the place He wants me to work. I know that all honest work is honorable, so I will not let my pride determine if a particular kind of work is worthy of my time. There is no honest work that is below me. Then, I use the “closed door, open door” philosophy of God’s leading as a guide. If an honest place of work hires me, I see it as an open door. If they reject me, it’s a closed door.

While I’m looking for this first job, I do everything I can to look my best. I may not have the right clothes, but I can be clean and neat about my appearance. I have my hair look as presentable as possible. As a man, I would be clean shaven. Everywhere I walk, I put my shoulders back, hold my head high, look people in the eye, and smile. I’m kind and courteous to everyone I meet.

Now let’s imagine I just got out of prison. I’m on parole, I have no job experience to speak of, and I’m filling out an application. I make sure to take my time filling in all the blanks, printing as clearly as possible. I answer all the questions honestly. I am friendly and respectful to whoever takes my application. Even if all they do is put it in a stack of other applications and tell me they’ll get in touch if they’re interested, I thank them and keep going. There’s no need to press them. There’s no need to be anxious. God is in charge. If He wants me to get the job, it doesn’t matter how many applications are in that stack.

If I get an interview, I keep my mouth shut and wait for my interviewer to ask me the questions. I do not quiz them about the job and perks and benefits. I’ve already decided I want to work for them. This is a legitimate job that offers honest work, and in this stage of life as a parolee, I cannot afford to be picky. In light of this, I would agree to whatever hours and pay they offer. If they ask me about my past, I don’t lie about it, or try to make it sound better than it is. I just look them in the eye and say, “This is what I did. It was wrong, but I’m putting my life back together. All I’m looking for is an opportunity to start over and prove myself. I promise that if you will give me that chance, I’ll be your best worker. I will come to work on time, I will not steal from you, and I will not complain.” Then I shut up and wait. If they decide to give me a chance, I thank them and ask what’s next. I do not grovel and go on and on about how thankful I am, as I am of the belief that, despite my past, they should want to hire me. I will be all the things I told them I would be. I will show up on time. I will not steal. I will not complain. I will be their best worker.

If, however, they say they won’t be able to hire me, I still thank them for considering me, and I walk out of the interview room just as confidently as I walked in. In my mind I say to myself, This is a closed door. Thank you, Lord, for what you have for me next.

Unless this is the last interview of the day, I immediately move on to the next opportunity. I do not take the rest of the day off so I can go feel sorry for myself. After all, it was not a rejection but a closed door. The Lord knows better than I do. He might be saving me from getting a terrible job.

I go about this process for eight to ten hours a day, every day, until I get that first job. I continue to thank God for what He has for me. I do not give up. My entire mission in life is to get that first job. I do not give up.

As a word of encouragement, since 2006 when I started working with those coming out of prison, I have not had one person who followed this plan who did not get work. I am including men and women who have been in and out of prison since they were teenagers. I am including those who have never had a real job. I am including those whose crimes were violent. I am including those whose crimes were sex offenses.

Our past does not define our future. We have a new future in Jesus Christ. We belong to Him. He bought us. He knew all about our failures, our crimes, and our wickedness before He bought us… and He bought us anyway. We are children of the Most High God. He will take care of us. However, there are some family rules. These were set up from the beginning and nobody is excluded. Everybody in the family is supposed to work. You are supposed to work.

Monthly NewsletterGary Skinner