Are you feeling like you want to give up on your job search? I encourage you to persevere.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines perseverance as a “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” Many of you reading this are involved in a job search or career transition of some kind. That takes hard work! It takes preparation, stamina, a great deal of effort – and perhaps most of all, perseverance.
Sometimes, you don’t have the successful outcomes you thought you would in leads, meetings, interviews, or offers. Sometimes, it may seem as if the whole world – or the whole employment marketplace – is aligned against you.
If you are experiencing these challenges, I encourage you to keep going.
The Longevity of “Never Give Up”
“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”Elbert Hubbard
Elbert Hubbard was a turn of the twentieth century writer, philosopher, and artist who, along with his wife and some 1,200 other souls, perished when a German submarine torpedoed the passenger ship RMS Lusitania in 1915. Hubbard led a productive life, wrote several books, and made contributions to the arts and to philosophy. It would be difficult to argue, however, that he is anything more than a relatively obscure figure in history. And yet somehow, more than 100 years after his death, this quote survives him.
Why? What is it about the expression “never give up” and others like it that resonates throughout history?
We Shall Never Surrender
Winston Churchill, who led Great Britain through World War II, is considered one of the greatest statesmen in history. He was also one of the most prolific writers and speakers of all time. Churchill gave over 3,000 speeches during his public career, most of which he wrote himself. He wrote over 40 books, consisting of some 70 volumes, and penned countless position papers, letters, memoranda, and newspaper and magazine columns. One biographer estimates that Churchill wrote a staggering total of 20 million words.
Yet many would argue that the most memorable of all of those words were these four, with which he concluded his speech to Parliament on June 4, 1940, calling the nation to an all-out effort in the coming struggle against the Nazi war machine: “We shall never surrender!” Notice his use of “we.” He did not say, “Don’t you surrender.” He said he he was going to jump into the boat with them and grab an oar, and they will all sink or swim together.
“Never give up” is very easy advice to give to someone else, but not that easy to follow. In many years as a professional recruiter, I counseled hundreds of men and women involved or considering a career transition. To those who were struggling, I gave that advice many times. I would often ask myself, “If our roles were reversed, would I follow that advice? Would I continue the struggle and never give up?”
How Paul Persevered
Do you think God wants you to give up? The Bible, God’s Word, is filled with examples of men and women who, in the face of great adversity, never gave up. They had faith in God, and that faith sustained them. God never promised them – nor does He promise us – that there will be no challenges or adversity in life. He does, though, promise us that He will provide what we need to get through. One of the greatest examples of perseverance in the face of adversity is the Apostle Paul. In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul tells the Corinthians:
“Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”
– 2 Cor 11:24-27
How to Press On
If anyone had an excuse to give up, it was Paul. And yet he never gave up. It is a good thing because he was the person most responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout the known world in the first century. Was he able to do this because he was an unusually strong person physically? Paul actually writes about the true source of his strength in another letter, this one to the Philippians. In that letter, he tells the church in Philippi that he has learned how to survive, to press on – yes, even to thrive – not only in times of plenty but also in times of want. How can he do this? He answers that question with this remarkable statement of faith: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13).
God Is the Answer
God is the source of strength we need if we are going to persevere in times of great difficulty. As Christians, we have the benefit of a supernatural power, the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. In your job search, draw on that power.
Here are a few specific things you can do:
- Pray and ask God to lead you to the job opportunity that He has planned for you. Prayer really changes things. Jesus’ brother James tells us in his letter, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
- Become active in a church. There you will find support and teaching and a community of like-minded brothers and sisters who will encourage and pray for you as you search for a job.
- Take advantage of all of the resources offered by WorkFaith. This is a Christian organization with a long track record of helping people find work and experience life change.
- Find a mentor, coach, or friend who will come alongside and undergird you in your job search. If you aren’t sure whom to ask, pray that God will bring that person into your life.
Do Not Be Discouraged
Paraphrasing Elbert Hubbard, you have only failed in your job search if you quit before you find the job that God has prepared for you. Do not be discouraged or disheartened and, above all, never give up. Ours is a God of the best kind of surprises. Just when you least expect it, He will lead you into the next chapter of life.
Author: Houghton Hutcheson
Houghton Hutcheson recently retired after nearly 40 years as a professional recruiter and is in the early stages of launching a second career as a Christian coach. He holds a Master of Biblical and Theological Studies degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, plus two earlier degrees from the University of Texas and Princeton University. Houghton is an Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Houston and a long-time volunteer at a variety of Christian ministries throughout the city, including WorkFaith. Houghton has been married to Claudia Talley Hutcheson for 44 years and, together, they have five adult sons and five grandchildren.