Jul 202013

Every individual is uniquely gifted, talented, with innate strengths and abilities to more easily develop skills in certain areas of work and find it very challenging to learn other skills.

And in our time and age, the opportunities for entrepreneurs and fundraisers are greatly needed, and even increasing, amisdt disruptive economic realities. The heightened volume of content and books and courses point to this, and the subtle unstated assumption is that anybody can do this. The books encouraging the like of a $100 startup, creating your own career doing what you love, and career coaching that steers you to incorporate your passion into your job search may be well-intentioned, and some of it may be making the most of a business profit-making opportunity because that’s what sells in the marketplace where consumers play into the so-called law of supply and demand.

But all this also leads to quite a bit of frustration, I’d venture to say, because it takes more than following the ten steps on how to do that thing to actually make it work and to reach success. The X-factor in launching a successful startup or fundraising as the economic-engine of your career has to do with who you’re innately created to be. Most people don’t have the built-in makeup to be the entrepreneur or to be the fundraiser; I’ve read statistics as low as 10% of people have the entrepreneural gift. I’ve also recently heard from the director of a church planting asssessment process that only 53% of people pass their assessment to proceed with their entrepreneural church startup effort, of which entrepreneuring is pretty essential and many other ingredients.

I write all of this as a confession, that at this point in my life, I am not one of them. I have my doubts if I ever will be, because those aren’t the cards I was dealt. I have tried freelancing and fundraising for the past 6 months or so, and it has not worked, at least not worked well enough for me to be doing this full-time. Since I am not financially-independent, I do need full-time work to pay the bills. And,my passions do not fit into the constraints of the free-market economy as it is. Yes, I could have worked harder and smarter at it, but when I work against my own DNA, it’s not healthy either. Without an emotionally healthy career, the whole thing could implode on a pretty short timeline.

I started to circulate my resume around a couple of months ago, going the conventional route of job search, and in due time God provided, and I am ever grateful. As unconventional as I am and can best thrive when I have supporting connective relationships, I had to go a conventional route with work. I hope to share more about this work in the future when the timing is right.

This journal entry is to share the back story for my inconsistency with blogging, my personal struggle with career development that remains elusive for most of my life, and to thank the regular readers and occasional readers of my blog. Your feedback is most welcomed.

Nov 142012

Few books adeptly addresses the conundrum of work from a Christian world view. Work is such a consuming part of our lives, often unsatisfying, yet there is something good about work that both the Biblical text and even Ayn Rand (a vocal critic of Christianity) acknowledges. And it’s a common quest for people to want to find meaning to work, and the meaning of life, though often without a metaphysical or religious framework.

But Christian answers have too often come up short, like these (excerpted from page 22 in the print edition) — the way to serve God at work is…:

  • to further social justice in the world
  • to be personally honest and evangelize your colleagues
  • to just do skillful, excellent work
  • to create beauty
  • to work from a Christian motivation to glorify God, seeking to engage and influence culture to that end
  • to work with a grateful, joyful, gospel-changed heart through all the ups and downs
  • to do whatever gives you the greatest joy and passion
  • to make as much money as you can, so that you can be as generous as you can

By contrast, this new book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Dr. Tim Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf released this week and ably presents a robust understanding of work– the desire, the difficulty, and the satisfaction of work. (ed.note: I substituted my own words here for the book’s 3 sections; and I do wonder why the book wasn’t named “The Meaning of Work”)

Read more about this book in this interview with Tim Keller and Listen to God’s Work and Ours – interview with Tim Keller

And courtesy of Dutton, Penguin Group (USA), I’m giving away a free hardcover copy of Every Good Endeavor here at djchuang.com (which is host to the first Tim Keller web page on the internet.) Win a copy of the book by doing at least 1 of these 4 tasks – add a comment, tweet this contest, like the facebook.com/DuttonPenguin page, and/or follow @DuttonBooks on twitter. 4 chances to win! Contest ends on 11/15 12:00am midnight Eastern Time.

Enter the contest and win Tim Keller’s new book on work – Every Good Endeavor

Up your odds by entering other contests at servantsofgrace and godhungry, or just buy the book now in hardcover or as a Kindle ebook.

[disclosure: I received a review copy of this book]