By Chris Meehan
In the current weak US job market, some community members have emerged from long stretches of unemployment with strengthened faith and paychecks in hand. On smaller salaries and budgets that remain tight, they tell of increased trust in God and deep appreciation for the support of the community.
Their stories vary, revealing no magic formula for finding employment.
Hugh Springer, Sr. (Servant Branch) found a job with a much a longer commute—295 miles, all the way to Neenah, Wisconsin. (He stays with Steve and Amee Pable of the Appleton Branch during the week and returns to the Twin Cities on weekends.) On the other hand, the job John Fasbender (Servant Branch) found is in nearby downtown Minneapolis.
Hugh’s job as manager for a medical products company came after two years of searching and more than 100 interviews. John benefitted from the concern of a brother, Brad Bye, who heard from a golf buddy about a management job at a title insurance company. “Brad’s recommendation got me the crucial first interview, which ultimately led to the job,” John says.
The recession hit Muncie hard, leaving 10 of the 34 men in the branch unemployed. Three years ago, Dan Capstick lost his job of 22 years at auto parts manufacturer BorgWarner. He worked briefly for another company before landing a job with good benefits but a lower salary at Tomasco, a parts supplier for Honda. Like John, Dan got the job through a community brother who passed his resume along to a supervisor. “I knew something good would eventually happen,” Dan says.
Servant Branch members Mary Jo Koplos and Paul Putzier took advantage of their unemployment to explore new possibilities. Mary Jo lost her full-time job composing software manuals for the University of Minnesota three years ago. She relied on money saved for just such an emergency, and eventually decided to accept several part-time jobs, rather than full-time work. “God had to help me see that I need not take the standard 9-to-5 route,” she says. “I had to make some cutbacks and take some initiative, but the Lord took care of me.”
She is currently writing product descriptions, substitute teaching, editing a newsletter and writing features for a news web site based in Eagan, Minnesota. The last job allows her to write stories about the community and Trinity School, both based in Eagan.
Paul Putzier, a geologist by training, researched a variety of new occupations before launching his own business. He is now a job placement specialist, helping people find new lines of work after suffering injuries. Jim Reinhardt, a professional in this field, helped Paul get the business going. “I encounter the Lord every day in my work and routinely pray with clients,” Paul says. “It’s tremendously gratifying to help others find work, even when it’s as basic as assisting them in creating a resume.”
After a slow start-up year, Paul says the work is paying well, though less than his previous job. Like some of the others, he says he relied on the generosity of brothers and sisters to help his family make ends meet.
Of course, there are still community members who remain unemployed. Jon Cassady (northern Virginia) lost his marketing job with IBM in March, 2009. He plugs ahead with vigor—networking and interviewing—with an encouraging word always at the ready. In the meantime, he has lent some of his expertise to the LaSalle Company and its web site development division, One:Ten Communications. As far as Jon is concerned, unemployment, just like employment, is an opportunity to serve. “I have a new mindset now: whether I have a job or not, God is my employer.”
Pat Flynn says:
January 14th, 2011 at 3:17 PM
What a great network we have in the People of Praise. Networking is such a valuable tool in finding a job. We have one at our fingertips. Another way God works through the People of Praise.
Chuck Shreffler says:
January 14th, 2011 at 3:39 PM
Jon is absolutely right. God is our employer, whether we're self-emplyed, unemployed or work for a big company. I have been a lawyer in solo practice for most of my career. One of the faith advantages of solo practice is that that truth (God is my employer) may be more obvious to me because I see his hand in the work that comes, and in the money that comes. Of course, I have a major part in that. I regularly pray that I can trust God to do his part and be faithful to do my part.
John DeLee says:
January 14th, 2011 at 6:00 PM
It is very difficult to lose your job unexpectedly, but the Lord works in wonderful ways in restoring us to useful employment. It takes much love and support from POP friends to get us through these difficult situations.
Wil Juare says:
January 15th, 2011 at 4:25 PM
Trusting in God for employment is one of life's lessons among many. God does indeed know our needs and never pushes us beyond what we can be bear. As many of us wait for that opportunity to once again work, or perhaps for the first time, we await in joyful hope. Students, like myself, upon graduation will join the ranks of those seeking employment. Many of these stories contain an element of knowing someone who knows someone. That connection only works when a person is a valued employee already at work whose work ethic warrants attention; if a brother or sister has earned the respect of others at his workplace, his comments carry a lot of weight. So in effect, we as community members have a bearing on how we can help others in the community by being witnesses of good work so we can help others when called upon. Pray for those who work now, for they are missionaries of future workers.
John Fasbender says:
January 16th, 2011 at 7:59 AM
Encouragement was the key for myself. Community members were always encouraging me and believed in me and therefore I believed in myself by being motivated to keep searching and finding leads and ideas. Glory to God!
Paul Langenfeld says:
January 17th, 2011 at 1:07 PM
There's a saying: "It's not what you know, it's who you know."
This is especially true when we know the Lord and our brother and sisters. From them comes our help, our support, and our employment.
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