In our attempt to capture the stories of Faith@Work'ers, today we're taking a look into the life and story of the man, the myth, the legend: Jordan Hayes.
Two legends together: Steven and Jordan
What have you been up to since graduating?JH:
Finding a job, getting more involved in church, continued education, playing basketball, learning new rhythms of life, developing new community and connecting with old ones in new ways, and all in all try to figure out how to do this new season life...well :-) F@W:
What's been the biggest surprise, for better or worse?JH:
"For better": Finding a job in my career field of interest. How it happened is a whole other story, but it's truly a gift. (Deut. 8:18)
"For worse": You always hear about how dealing with the transition of community post-college can be difficult, but what surprised me was just how strong the sentiments of loneliness and purposelessness can be. I'm sure this doesn't happen for everyone, but it seems that many of the college-grads I've talked to have had to wrestle with this to some degree. "For worse" turns to "for better" because loneliness and questions of purpose point out my deep need for the Lord. Through these I'm compelled to "seek first God and His kingdom" and put secondary motivators in their rightful place. F@W:
What steps have you taken to figure out the REAL YOU and your calling?JH:
(1) Spending time away away from a formal leadership role. I don't think this is for everyone, but I needed to see where I was at with questions like "Where am I at with God without the commitments/structure of 'leadership'?" It was an important time, and enabled me to reengage leadership refreshed and re-centered.
(2) Through meeting others and learning about both what they do and what they love to do, I've come across things I'd have been passionate about long ago--if only I knew they existed! Example: A friend shared that she puts her public relations skills to work for a nonprofit children's reading campaign. I love reading, and value its role in the lives of kids and adults alike, but I had never connected the dots and considered acting on this passion by volunteering with a link-minded org. Now...maybe!
(3) (In process) Writing a mission statement. "Who am I/What do I want to be about?" It's easy to run circles in my head asking/answering these questions...putting it on paper forces clarity, and serves as a nice check point to see if I'm running in the direction I want to be, or if perhaps my values/vision have changed. F@W:
What's the biggest questions you're sitting with right now?JH:
"Can God be my everything?" By 'everything' I mean the foundation of my heart from which all other 'loves' stem. And the question isn't really "can He" so much as "what would it take for him to be"? F@W:
In what ways have you noticed God's presence in the workplace?JH:
I think day-in-and-day-out I see it in His Word redeeming my perspective of work. The difference between a day of joyful/wholehearted work (and rest) and fearful/mediocre day of work (and rest) is his Word...Significance/Integrity: "Work...as unto the Lord" (Colossians 3:23-24); Calling: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance" (Ephesians 2:10); Identity: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph 2:8-9); Rest: "Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." (Gen 2:3). Of course it's important not to take passages out of context, but it's eye-opening to read Scripture in light of work! F@W:
What encouragement or advice would you give a college student just starting their senior year?JH:
I know that, for many seniors, post-college life seems either too far off to worry about or so near that it's overwhelmingly worrisome. The reality is...it's what next, and has to be dealt with sooner or later! To be honest, there's probably a lot to deal with: career, location, community, family, expectations, academics, applications, interviews, networking, money, success, failure, hope, disappointment. On that note, two quick pieces of advice:
(1) Start now. Because...you probably won't get it right the first time. It takes bombing 9 interviews to do the 10th one well, and it takes facing and processing fear in order to receive peace. So start stepping into whatever seems to be on the 1-year horizon for you, and embrace every step you take in this direction as an opportunity to learn, grow, and walk out a new, challenging, exciting part of life with God.
(2) DO IT IN COMMUNITY. As I was typing this, a friend happened to walk by and we shared the challenges we're each facing in the workplace. We talked about it for a few mins, considered what God had to speak into the situations, prayed, and both left encouraged in about 5 minutes. We don't have the same job, aren't in the same industry, and just met a couple months ago. But relationships like this enable us to encourage one another to keep moving forward and not give up on God's best for life after college and in the workplace.
(3) Connect with mentors (like Scott...or someone on the mentor portal
...or friends a year or two down the road...) who can support you in this season and shed hard-earned wisdom on walking it out well. Sure, you'll want to put your best foot forward. But there's no need to pretend like you have it all together. "I don't know what I don't know...What questions should I be asking?" is a GREAT place to start.
When I was starting my senior year in college, I knew instinctively that it was game time. The moment that I'd been waiting for and delaying: deciding what I was going to do after school. BIG DECISION!
As I start having conversations with seniors around San Diego, I'm realizing that what they need is a roadmap or a checklist for the things they should begin doing and by when. So, here's my attempt!
1. Decide that you're going to do this year well.
You need to make a decision that you're going to make good, healthy choices and do all that you can to transition well. Only you can make that decision- not your parents, friends, or professors. You need to decide that you're going to put the energy this year requires.2. Develop new spiritual habits.
Engaging with God looks different to every season of life. In this season of discernment, decide how, when, and where you're going to engage with God. Enlist a prayer team. Buy a new 'discernment journal'. Spend time reviewing different stories in scripture about calling. Buy a book (Courage and Calling, by Gordon Smith
, or Let Your Life Speak, by Parker Palmer
) and read it with a friend.3. Find a mentor.
Or two. Or four. Mentors can help you reflect on your strengths and abilities and possible career path. They can open up doors for you. They can introduce you to others. 4. Engage on campus.
Do you know what types of students make the best transition to the workplace? The ones who are the most engaged as seniors- in their classes, with professors, in group projects, and at their internship. The ones who develop the deepest and healthiest friendships with peers. Don't be like most seniors who disengage and check out early. Pour into the campus and your life as a student.5. Get an internship.
Research over the past few years is clear that only the students who have the word "internship" on their resume get job offers. Get an internship!! NOW!! Talk with your professors, career services, or inquire with friends, family, and church leaders for connections. An internship (or two) in a relevant field that you plan on going into is obviously key, but even any internship will do. 6. Practice spiritual leadership.
God invites everyone who follows him to have spiritual influence on others. Spiritual leadership in the workplace, however, looks WAY different than it does on campus with college students. But, again, the students who make the strongest and quickest transition are the ones who faithfully take risks in reaching out, blessing others, and starting spiritual conversations with friends, classmates, professors, and internship supervisors. Now, think about this: Wouldn't it be cool if....
- you had an answer when your crazy uncle asks you at Christmas dinner: "So, what are you going to do after you graduate?"??
- you learned new ways to connect with God and your relationship with Him grew??
- your network of friends and mentors actual ends up getting you your first full-time job??
- through your friendship and risk a classmate/professor/friend (or more than just one) starts a relationship with God THIS YEAR and your confidence and trust in God surges into your new professional life??
WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO THIS LIST?
After spending a couple years focusing on helping graduating seniors make a good transition from student life to 'real life', it's time to start checking in with a few of them about their lives post-college.
Steven Yuan stands out as a guy doing his best to lean forward into living life well. He's passionate, creative, and very entrepreneurial. It's been a blast to watch Steven experiment with his career and throw out more than a few lines into the water to see what he catches. Enjoy this snapshot into his life, and take a few moments both to pray for Steven but also to reflect on what his life sparks in you:
SS: Tell us about your career path since you graduated from UCSD, specifically the twists and turns that you didn't expect or plan on when you were still in school:
SY: Since graduating, I've bounced from your typical office job doing graphic and web design, to campus ministry, to start-up competitions, to music production, to even my own t-shirt company. It's been a year of trying many different things, and feeling out my different passions.
I honestly think the most unexpected twists and turns came from the people I met. Just talking to people I normally wouldn't, and letting them know what I wanted to do, connected me with so many random people that took me down so many unexpected but exciting paths. One of the highlights was my friend Eileen, whom I met through a couple of mutual friends. She was extremely involved in the music industry and I didn't know anything about the SD music scene, but within a couple of weeks of sitting and chatting I was playing a show downtown, meeting all these crazy DJs and producers.
SS: What have you learned about yourself since graduating that you wish you knew back in school?
SY: I think the main thing I learned about myself was the entrepreneurial flair I have. I wish I knew that earlier before I embarked on pursuing a major in art haha, I think I would have joined a lot more clubs related to that as well.
SS: Being a creative type, how does your creativity intersect with your faith?
SY: Oh man where do I even begin? I think the idea of even being able to create is key component the the basis of my faith. I have been created by a God that loves creation. And because of that, I have been given the awe-inspiring right to create just like my maker can create. That is an mind-bending truth that He has instilled in me.
In addition, a big portion of my creativity stems from idea creation and making connections. So everywhere I go, I constantly see ways that Jesus connects in this way or that. Or I'll randomly think of new ways that people can encounter God and meet with Him. I feel as if my creativity intersects with my faith by allowing me to see how God Himself intersects with the world around me in unexpected ways.
SS: We know that God is into changing the whole world, but what's the specific slice that gets you fired up the most?
SY: There are many "slices" that move me, but I think the slice that gets me fired up the most is when people are redeemed of their sense of worth, and concurrently when people see what they are capable of in terms of loving others. I think a good example of this comes from my time doing campus ministry. One of the people on a team I was leading had come to faith his freshman year - I still remember speaking to him before he was a believer. While on media comma team his third year, a dream of his was to shoot a documentary about a thriving homeless community that worshipped and fellowshipped downtown on a regular basis. By the end of his time on the team, the dream had become a reality in the form of a 45 minute documentary detailing the lives of the homeless leaders and student leaders that had partnered together to make the fellowship a reality. Stepping back and seeing the transformation from when I first spoke to him freshman year to when he finished the documentary, I was blown away by how God had transformed this man to transform others. And I was blown away that I could be a part of that. This is just one for a few stories that really capture what gets me fired up. Stories of people realizing their potential to be used by God.
SS: What's challenged your faith the most since you graduated?
SY: The most challenging thing for me since I've graduated has actually been grappling with the feeling of needing to be accomplished in some shape or form. Often times, I feel like I don't have enough time to do the things I want to do, or I feel like I am falling behind in the goals I want to achieve. I feel that especially in our American culture of striving for excellence, I often get caught up in focusing my energy on my own abilities as opposed to focusing on what God is capable of. So I get discouraged easily when I compare myself to my peers who seem to be "farther along" in life than I.
SS: In what ways have you seen God use you to impact others through your work, and where do you feel like God might want to increase your influence?
SY: I think the most tangible example I have of God using me to impact others has been while I was doing music production and performance. The underground music scene wasn't necessarily a place of very much light, but I was able to bring of piece of that light just by being there and being a friend. There was one time when one of the local producers committed suicide and it rocked the music scene in San Diego. I was able to attend his memorial and though I didn't necessarily share the gospel to everyone, I was able to be there with his friends and his family to shed a bit of God's love and peace. In terms of where he might want me to increase my influence, I believe that he wants me to bring more of His presence into the office I work at presently. He's been calling me to be more relational with my co-workers and just get to know people. I feel like He's leading me through a season of what it looks like to be a co-worker that not only does his work well, but is also genuinely caring of the people he works with.
SS: What advice would you give for a college student getting ready to graduate and trying to figure out what to do? What should they consider when thinking about life after school?
- Try new and different things, you can't find your passion until you try it!
- Focus on where God is bringing you, not on where you need to be compared to your peers.
- Find an accountability group that can help you process and discern what God has been doing in your workplace
- Be attentive to the opportunities that God presents to you, whether that be in making relationships or in moving forward in your career.
- Pray daily, you will be able to hear God clearer.
- Take Sabbaths, you will not regret it. You are never too busy to spend time with God.
- Expect change, life after college is exactly that: Life after college. The 9 to 5 is very different than college life. Don't dread it, just be ready to adapt.
- Finally, rejoice in every circumstance! No matter what God is bringing you through, he is gonna bring you through it. Keep your eyes on the hope that is in Jesus Christ and you won't falter. "3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
I must admit, I've been really naive about this issue. I've been generally aware that there are Federal labor laws regulating the practices of paid and unpaid interns, but I haven't really done any due diligence on the issue-- until recently.
A good friend challenged me to consider the higher calling that Christians have to abide by the law, participate in commerce that promotes justice and equality, and be change makers in systems that are broken.
Here's what I understand:
1. Companies or organizations that offer unpaid internships are required to restrict the scope of duties to be purely educational in nature. In other words, the internship should look more like an extended job shadowing. The law, I think, is trying to avoid someone in the active labor market being passed over for a paid position because companies are using unpaid
interns to do the same work- for FREE.
2. Companies or organizations that offer paid
internships are allowed to assign any work they want to interns, assuming they abide by other Federal labor regulations like meeting minimum wage requirements. Clear
? To read more, check out this New York Times article
This issue about internships brings up important issues about what it means to be Christians in the marketplace.
Are Christian employers required by law and God to uphold fair and ethical labor practices? Yes, of course- and more. Christian employers need to set the bar high for caring for its employees. Consider great companies founded by and run by followers of Jesus: In N Out
, Datron World Communications
...companies renowned for their reputation of taking care of the employees and going above-and-beyond.
The question becomes much trickier
, though, from the intern's point of view. What if I want to break into an industry or company, but the only clear route to gaining the experience, exposure and relationships I need to give myself a shot at a job is through an unethical and illegal internship?
What will you do? Let's figure this out together...
Oops. One of my main theories about helping students graduate well- as fully mature, developed, and focused Christian leaders- is WRONG.
I was thinking (and putting lots of time/strategy/effort) that if we can help students discover their unique wiring, calling, and purpose, then they will be launched. --Notice lots and lots of writing here
But, that's definitely not
the whole story or best answer.
Self-awareness and self-discovery is amazing, assuming it doesn't lead to self-absorption. Recovering the passions deep inside, understanding how I'm uniquely gifted, recognizing the skills I have and how to put them to use- it's all good.
But I'm finding that many people are still stuck.
Stuck in insecurity. Stuck in fear. Stuck in anxiety.
What does it look like to get unstuck? To dive into the even deeper, more hidden parts of ourselves and give God's spirit access to heal, free, transform, and speak truth to lies?
What if there was a way to be truly set free and step into the potential that God is giving us, to become our truest and best selves and make major impact for good?
Would you go there?
Would you dive in?
It's that time of year again: graduating students on campuses all across the country are starting the get eye twitches, nightmares, and anxiety attacks.
Because they're graduating and HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO NEXT!!
Hey, it's not your fault. It's a a generational thing, a shortcoming in our educational system, a flaw in your parents support of you...or something like that.
At any rate, it's time for you to figure out WHAT THE HECK YOU'RE GOING TO BE DOING IN 2 MONTHS!!!
Up until now, the track has been certain. But now...
You're focused on wrapping up the last few weeks of classes. Still working on major group projects and thesis papers. Hopeful that you actually have enough units to graduate. Wondering what your friends are going to do. Considering where you're going to live...
Conventional wisdom (most likely from your parents) would say that you should evaluate your best career path based on your field of study. Zoom in on the opportunities before you based on the trajectory your on.
But what if you take more than a few moments to ZOOM OUT?
Take a look at your life in its entirety.
What are some common themes and patterns that you see? Interests that you forgot about. Causes you've always been passionate about. What story has your life been telling up until this point? Even broader, what line of work is in your bloodline, passed on to you from your parents, grandparents, etc? How has your ethnicity, gender, geographic location, culture, and more shaped you and formed you for something in the future?
When you zoom out in your life, what do you see differently?
I'm in love with golf. I play courses in my imagination while I go to sleep. I play golf as often as I can. I bought my son a set of golf clubs just after he learned how to walk. I engineer my work schedule around golf. I've taken trips just to play golf. And, I'm one of the rare golfers who loves watching golf on tv. Admittedly, I've watched nearly every round of professional golf in 2012 (that's Thursday-Sunday, every week). This week happens to be my favorite week of the year- the Masters. While I watch the Masters on tv, I also have it streaming live on my computer AND iPad- count that, three different views of the tournament. (Yes, I have the Masters app on my phone, too, for when I'm on the road...)
I love golf.
What do you love?
What are you passionate about?
I have friends who share the same level of passion for the stock market, for running marathons, for basketball, for cooking, and for art.
What are you supposed to do with those passions? Should they inform and shape what career path you choose?
Or maybe not.
Maybe your passions are supposed to guide you in your work. Or maybe they're supposed to stay on the sidelines- as hobbies, interests, and the weekend. Maybe, and most likely, God's given you passions for you to enjoy life and participate in enjoying the world He's created.
What do you think?
I will not name names, but I was extremely surprised to meet a student recently who just graduated and came to me looking for help in figuring out his first career steps.
I asked him what he was thinking about, and he shrugged.
I asked him what his plan was, and he said he didn't have one.
Before I could clarify, he explained that the reason he didn't have a plan was because he had been busy...with school...
...for 18 years?
I shouldn't be surprised anymore, because this is a conversation I get into frequently, almost daily. Students who just graduated or who are about to graduate and have NO CLUE what they're going to do next.
Something is definitely broken.
Maybe something's broken with the way we're being educated. Or maybe the economy has scared everyone. Or maybe it's parenting. Or social media. I have no idea. But, we definitely have a problem.
Students switch majors on a whim.
Seniors about to graduate have never worked before.
Young people have never done an informational interview or been mentored.
They. have. no. plan.
No, I'm not feeling cranky. I'm concerned!
What do students need to learn, experience, and know before they graduate to transition well?
Let's face it, you and I don't know what we don't know.
And, we don't really know how to get to where we'd like to be.
Okay, let's be really honest, I'm not even sure if I know where I'm going.
There are a lot of benefits to finding a good mentor. Here are the top three:
1. Mentors can give us the lay of the land.
They have a different vantage point into the field or career path that we're considering. Getting their insight can provide us much needed clarity on the options and choices for which direction to take.2. Mentors can help us get "there".
A good mentor will give his/her opinion and thoughts about where you're headed, how to get there, and hopefully introduce you to other people who can help you make it. 3. Mentors can bolster our self-awareness.
A good mentor will look into your life with an unbiased lens, help you discover how you're wired and what you're wired for, and then bless you and encourage you to take that path.
Do you have a good mentor? If not, what can you do to reach out and find one?
You're invited to apply and participate in the InterVarsity Faith@Work Mentor Portal
. Check it out, and spread the word!
When I sit down with someone to help them figure out their future, I tend to head in the direction of passion. But, a growing number of conversations I'm having lately get stuck in this spot.
Frederick Buechner is quoted a lot with his formula for figuring out your vocation: "The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." It's a fantastic quote with extremely helpful direction. But, what if you have no idea what your "deep gladness" might come from and find yourself without passion for almost anything?
Here are a few steps to take if you're not sure what you're passionate about:
: try lots of different paths. Volunteer, read articles online, take a class, get an internship. Reflect
: take five minutes at the end of every day to write down the moments of the day that you most enjoyed- the part of the day where time seemed to stand still, the parts of the day you noticed joy and deep contentment. After writing those moments down for a few weeks I guarantee you that you'll discover patterns within yourself that you weren't aware of before.Pray
: ask God's spirit to reveal your passions to you.Pretend
: there's a great phrase from the 12 Steps program- "fake it 'til you make it". Read the gospels and observe what Jesus seems to be passionate about. Then, go and do what he would do if he were you. Unpack
: sometimes we can get stuck in past hurts and pains that numb us to feelings of joy and passion today. You might be overwhelmed with fear, or self-doubt, or depression. Start by opening up to a trusted friend about what's going on inside, and consider starting a relationship with a counselor
The root of the word passion comes from suffering
. People full of passion are most often the ones who suffer the most for the cause they believe in. What are you willing to suffer for?