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.
, I wrote about the crucial first week of work, when the office culture you're stepping into makes its biggest attach on the real You.
Now, I want to get even more specific (because a good friend of mine is starting his first full-time job....tomorrow!) Your first day of work is the most important day of your new life.
: you knew I was going to say that, didn't you? I don't just mean the obligatory "bless my day, Lord" prayer, I mean spending some time the night before and getting up extra early to sit and spend time in God's presence. Of course you should tell God about your anxiety and worries for the new job, but spend the bulk of your time trying to listen to what He's up to, what He's calling you to, and what it means to walk in harmony with His presence. Also, it would be a GREAT idea to ask a few close friends to pray for you throughout that first day, too. Get snappy
: this one's a surprise, right? I don't think it's unspiritual or heretical to admit that "the clothes make the man", and we feel
better and walk with confidence when we're dressed well. Maybe go out and spend a few (future) dollars the day before on an outfit that's going to help you feel good. Prepare questions
: you know you don't know anything. They know you don't know anything. So why spend energy pretending like you know? Prepare a few important questions, the obvious ones like, "What's expected of me today and this first week?", and the not so obvious but really obvious ones like, "Where's the best bathroom in the building?" or "How long do I have for lunch?" Asking good, inquisitive questions will speed up your learning curve, and help you gain the confidence that you need to get competent at your job. Initiate
: even though you're new, it's your opportunity to start new friendships with your co-workers. Initiate with them, both at the copier and water cooler but also by asking them to lunch. For more ideas, check out a great post by Eric Scofield
, Regional Director of Young Life in SoCal.
Your first day is so important. It sets the tone for the rest of the week, and your time working for that organization. Plan it out, don't just wing-it.
If you're about to start your job, what do you need to do to get ready?
For those of you who are already working, what do you wish you had done differently that first day?
Your first five days on the job are the most critical to getting started as the YOU you're supposed to be and want to be.
In my experience, once a week has past, it's really hard (or impossible) to shift back to the real YOU. So, take careful thought and intentionality to who YOU are, who YOU want to be, and how YOU want people to experience YOU.
1. Every office has a culture, and it is well established and stronger than you. Learn about it, be a cultural observer, ask inquiring questions about what's normal and how people behave. Note where you disagree, feel resistance, or don't like. Also, pay attention to what you do like, what is good, and what is healthy.
2. You can't change much, especially when you first get started. But hopefully you were hired well- you did your due diligence and so did they about whether or not you're going to be a culture fit.
3. Adapt to the rules and norms, fit in and be a team player. Most likely, people in your office will work longer hours than you feel necessary or important. Work the same hours they do, or even more. It builds credibility, stamina, and trust.
4. Decide what you will be different about, and stick to it. If you decide to be someone who doesn't complain or criticize (about the boss, co-workers, the system, clients, customers, traffic, etc), then don't do it. Ever. If you decide that you're going to be someone who goes above and beyond, maybe when other entry level employees don't, then do it, and keep doing it. Be consistent.
5. Pray for direction. If you believe God strategically places people in settings to be a unique gift and blessing, and if you believe God can and will use you in meaningful ways, then partner up with Him and what He's up to already. Pray for wisdom, guidance, a gentle spirit, tenacity, courage, and servanthood.
I know many recent grads are getting started with their first full-time job out of college. What are YOU going to do to stay consistent with who YOU are?
And, maybe people are feeling stuck in their jobs, not sure how to recalibrate and become the real YOU. What's the next step you can take to make a change?
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...
If you want to be a leader, you have to decide to lead.
Leadership is about influencing others (see: Ken Blanchard, John Maxwell). Influencing others happens all the time, whether conscious or unconscious.
If you want to be a leader for good, you have to decide to.
Everyone desires to make positive impact on others. Everyone has the ability and opportunity to leader others for good. You are hardwired for it.
But leadership doesn't happen unintentionally or randomly.
Leadership flows from a decision to lead.
It comes from a DECISION that says, "I'm going to bring the best of me in service to help others become their best."
It comes not just a decision, but a moment-by-moment decision to continually offer yourself to others. Scanning the horizon, listening, paying attention to the moment, staying fully engaged, saying YES to giving yourself.
Have you DECIDED to lead?
What keeps you from leading?
When trying to navigate through the treacherous world of the workplace and stay on course with who you're called to be, there's one trait that will serve you more than anything else:
You will be pushed, prodded, pressured, isolated and questioned.
You will get difficult feedback.
You will forget why you're here.
You will have a really, really bad day.
And a meaningless week.
You will discover that your college degree didn't prepare you for this.
You will find people lapping you in promotion, development and success.
But you must bounce back. You must find a way to be singularly focused and galvanized towards who you're shaped to be.
Find a couple of friends who will commit to holding you on course.
Write your goals down.
Spend time every month imagining who you could become if you stayed on track for another five or ten years.
Figure out what you need to become the best version of you, and then be relentlessly intentional about making it happen.
It's your life, your responsibility.
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?
I know you and I don't know each other very well. In fact, I never really got to know you during my interview process, and you certainly didn't really get to know me- besides what my resume says and the answers I came up with for my interview.
But, I'd really like to get to know you. And, I'd really like to give you my best. I'd like to grow here, to contribute, to make an impact, and add more value than you expect.
The thing is, I'm worried that you don't really know what I need, or what I want. So I thought I'd let you know. If you want to develop me and get the best from me, here are five things I need from you:
Teach me how. Let's be honest. You hired me for my potential, not for my skills. I don't really know what I'm doing, or how to do it well. Could you please teach me, train me, and show me how? I know it's going to take some extra time, but I think in the long run you and I will be much happier.
Correct me. I thrive off of frequent feedback- the more frequent, the better. Could you tell me when I'm off track, or even on track? Could you tell me if I shouldn't have spoken up more, or less, in the meeting? Could you let me know if you hear anything about me from our clients? Please, let me know how I'm doing.
Share "the why". I'm from a different generation than you, a generation that values meaningful work more than anything else- more than paycheck or perks. I really, really want to know why my contribution and work contributes to the value of the company. I really want to know why we do things the way we do. I want to know why the extra meeting is going to help us all work more effectively and efficiently.
Challenge me. Throw me in the deep end. Expect a lot from me- I'm used to it. My parents did. My coaches did. My professors did. And I will rise to the challenge.
Listen to me. I know that I'm new, but I've already seen a few things around here that aren't working very well. Technology that doesn't sync. Processes that are bulky and time wasting. I've observed cynicism and negativity and gossip. I would love to share things I'm seeing. I'd love to share things I learned in my classes, and as a student leader in student organizations.
Thanks for hiring me. I promise, if we work together, I won't let you down.
Your newest employee
-- Feel free to copy, paste and personalize--
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!
In the larger conversation about Servant Leadership
as both a leadership philosophy and way of life, I'm realizing that most of us have some very strong fears that prevent us from fully taking the plunge.
So I wanted to take some time and throw out a few core, foundational beliefs
that someone needs to have in order to make the leap into servant leadership.
Here are the four things you must believe to become a Servant Leader:
1. You are not the center of the world.
As Richard Rohr
writes in his book, Adam's Return
, men who are initiated into a broader community learn this lesson through a rite of passage, whether that be an actual initiation rite, military experience, or extreme challenge. I'm sorry to tell you, but life is not about you- your happiness, joy, development, or success. There is a larger thing going on, and you and I need to jump into the flow.2. Your needs will be met
, even as you focus on meeting the needs of others. Oftentimes I resist being a servant leader because I have real, legitimate, unmet needs. If I focus on meeting the needs of others, what will happen to mine? Trust me, your needs WILL be met, as
you seek the meet the needs of others. 3. You have something to offer.
You have a unique voice, perspective, insight, and value that must be shared for others. To be a servant leader, you need to believe that you are valuable and your contribution is necessary. 4. You will be promoted.
I don't necessarily mean promoted positionally, I mean promoted in terms of street cred, trust, stature and maturity. Seeking to serve others and add value to their lives will always come around and build your own reputation as a person of value. Many times people resist servant leadership because they're afraid that their individual contribution will be overshadowed by the contribution of the people they're helping to be successful. But, as Ken Blanchard says, we must learn to seek the praise from an audience of One, the One who sees you, knows you, and is able to lift you up.
Now imagine with me the potential of not just one or two people acting and living as servant leaders, but an entire organization, or perhaps an entire generation
. Southwest Airlines
is known as a unique corporate culture bent towards servant leadership. It shows, when former CEO Colleen Barrett said, "When we have employees who have a problem -- or have employees who see a passenger having a problem -- we adopt them, and we really work hard to try to make something optimistic come out of whatever the situation is".
Did you notice that? When their employees or customers have problems, the culture responds by adopting their problems as their own, rather than firing, relegating or ignoring.
Which one(s) do you need to believe, in order to become someone known as a servant, someone who influences primarily through serving and seeking to meet the needs of others?