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Help a friend of A&F in a challenging time.


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#1 Overstreet

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 10:55 PM

One of my closest friends, Dan, used to participate here at A&F.

Right now, he's in a tough spot. I'd like to ask all of you to give his situation some thought.

He recently left Seattle and moved to L.A., believing that God was leading him to overcome his fears and pursue his dream of writing for television.

When he arrived, he ended up working three jobs just to pay the bills. That didn't go too well. He ended up with no time to write, incredible stress, and some significant debt.

He left L.A. discouraged, and moved home to Canon City, Colorado, moving back in with his family.

He got a job right away, and has been working hard ever since. But the job is incredibly stressful, and the environment there is one of distrust. It's very unhealthy, and while he's dedicating himself to prayer, he's genuinely scared that he'll suffer a heart attack.

I want to do what I can to help him. I've seen him work hard, and I've seen him be faithful to the talents he's been given. I hate to see his situation go from bad to worse.

As I explore various options, I'd like to hear from you. I haven't been job-hunting in 16 years. What are the best practices for job-hunting?

Keep in mind, he works long hours, so his job-hunting time is limited.

What would you recommend for him?

Don't hesitate to point out the obvious options.

I encouraged him to consider volunteering at organizations where job possibilities might open up. He's open to that, but he does want to find a better *paying* job soon. I've encouraged him to get to know the local pastor, and to ask for prayer, but also to ask him to be watching for opportunities.

What would you advise?

#2 MattPage

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:02 AM

Difficult to say much without knowing more (for example when you say "his family" do you mean Mum and/or Dad, or wife and/or kids? I'll assume the former).

If I were in your shoes I'd raise the following possibilities (some mutally exclusive, some could work in combination) most of which would need to be presented sensitively.

1 - If time is a problem then he should focus on getting a competent CV and getting it out there. Agencies are an obvious place but many websites let you post details up as well. If he's after specialist work go for a specialist agency. The ongoing process of applying for jobs is hard, constant and unpredictable work, but getting a CV to a few agencies is something you can set time in your diary for and do. (I've been meaning to do something similar with my own but not done yet).

2 - He perhaps needs to look at ways to improve how he manages his stress better. With the right skills stressful situations can become less so (I say this but am a total failure at doing it, so perhaps it's bull, but I do believe the above is true on some level).

3 - Clarify the situation with his parents. Make sure they are fully aware of the stress he is under. Is there anything they can do to help him? Let him stay there for a set period rent free for example. Not an option for many families, but I also reckon many parents would be desperate to do all they could to help their children in a situation such as this. Do you think he has an overly strong desire to be independent? The speed with which he got a job which proved to be unsuitable, and his desire to get a paying job asap are in many ways very laudable, but could be an indication that there are deeper issues. I have problems with this, but actually God calls us to community and that's not just helping others, but also letting others help us. Sometimes the latter is significantly harder than the former.

4 - Take a short term job somewhere (say 6 months), perhaps in a different part of the country were board and lodging are provided, and the work may or may not be more physically demanding, but less stressful.

5 - Probe the fear of heart attack a bit deeper. Is this a rational fear or an irrational one? If it is rational (i.e. he is on the verge of having a heart attack), then any step has to be an advantage, if it's somewhat more irrational then that also needs dealing with (apart from anything the fear of it is probably making things worse)

6 - Some form of counselling. I wouldn't be surprised if depression is in the mix, particularly given that his move to LA did not work out.

7 - A career / life coach might help him focus on what he wants to do with his paid work. The irony is that the time that you really need one of those guys is usually the time you can least afford it.

8 - Is there anyone he knows who might be able to help him get a job. Apparently these days the number of jobs that are given to people as the result of an advert and application is only a proportion of the story. Another proportion is online applicants, cold sending CVs. But a usually unexplored avenue is in your own contacts. Is there anyone he is in contact with at his current job that might have a job, or know someone that does. Does anyone at church know someone who is looking to employ someone? What about his family. Are any of the people in this network willing to help or advise him find something? This was how I got one of my jobs. My existing job was about to take a change I didn't much like, so I managed to get a job working for one of our clients.

It would be useful to know the following:

A - Does he see his current job as a career or a McJob?
B - What the family situation is.
C - What his career was before his move to LA.
D - What other options he has explored at home already.

Hope that helps

I should point out that you need to take all the above with a huge mountain of salt. I'm also unhappy in my job, and looking for work, unsuccessfully and I've pretty much botched any hope of a enjoyable career. I could do with taking a good hunk of my own advice. It's even harder when you have a wife and kids to support as well :(

Matt

PS So relieved this didn't turn out to be a Stephen Baldwin type thread.

#3 nkjanzen

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:27 AM

One of my closest friends, Dan, used to participate here at A&F.

Right now, he's in a tough spot. I'd like to ask all of you to give his situation some thought.

He recently left Seattle and moved to L.A., believing that God was leading him to overcome his fears and pursue his dream of writing for television.

When he arrived, he ended up working three jobs just to pay the bills. That didn't go too well. He ended up with no time to write, incredible stress, and some significant debt.

He left L.A. discouraged, and moved home to Canon City, Colorado, moving back in with his family.

He got a job right away, and has been working hard ever since. But the job is incredibly stressful, and the environment there is one of distrust. It's very unhealthy, and while he's dedicating himself to prayer, he's genuinely scared that he'll suffer a heart attack.

I want to do what I can to help him. I've seen him work hard, and I've seen him be faithful to the talents he's been given. I hate to see his situation go from bad to worse.

As I explore various options, I'd like to hear from you. I haven't been job-hunting in 16 years. What are the best practices for job-hunting?

Keep in mind, he works long hours, so his job-hunting time is limited.

What would you recommend for him?

Don't hesitate to point out the obvious options.

I encouraged him to consider volunteering at organizations where job possibilities might open up. He's open to that, but he does want to find a better *paying* job soon. I've encouraged him to get to know the local pastor, and to ask for prayer, but also to ask him to be watching for opportunities.

What would you advise?


I am currently reading a book called "The Renaissance Soul." I am not a huge one for random self-help discovery books, esp. by "life coaches?" (What IS that exactly??!) However, this one has struck a chord as it addresses an issue many struggle, and that is having multiple interests and passions vs. a single focused career that you've been building on for years. It might be helpful for your friend if he has time where he might flip through it.

I am also in a situation where I've been a business owner for several years, not a career track I anticipated in any way. I have railed against the situation, cursed God, written angsty poems, etc. The reality is, there are seasons of life and I also have kids, a modest home and a few small monthly bills that need paying. It is a decent living that allows me some freedom to do other things and I have learned a great deal that I sense will be helpful in the future.

It has been extremely stressful at times as well, to the point where I was on beta blockers for a bit to make it through a rough patch.

I think sometimes a very stressful situation can be relieved a bit without it going away completely. Is there something that can be done immediately to reduce some of the stress? Is it an all or nothing proposition? In our situation, we were keenly aware that to make a drastic change would add other stresses we didn't currently have while relieving others.

Additionally, we have scaled back our standard of living tremendously and really, are doing quite fine. If this fellow is living with his folks, how much does he need to make? Sometimes, just not having a stressful job is what is needed as opposed to a vibrant career path.

I have taken to journaling extensively and enjoying the writing of others until I have more dedicated time to write. I think sometimes when we force it all to happen on our time frame, we look back and realize, "Hey, if I'd waited, that would have all fallen together in a better time and with less stress." As a 'writer,' it is strange to let that go a bit.

I am saying a prayer for your friend who is in a very hard spot it seems and am praying for divine direction as well as some very practical obvious next steps to become clear.

Nancy in the NW