Category Archives: Career

A Job Is A Banquet

Today is the 3rd and final installment of the series Parables for 21st Century Job Seekers.


As an employer you have an obligation to hire someone who is unemployed, as long as they are mostly qualified. Hiring unqualified people for a position is irresponsible. However, is there another position in your company they can perform?


Working for you is being invited to the banquet. The job will help them pay the bills, put food on the table, improve their self-esteem, strengthen their skills and develop new skills.

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Matthew 25:40


As Ann Voskamp mentioned in The Broken Way, A Daring Path Into Abundant Life, Jesus does not care about your bucket list.

He cares about what you did to help the least – the poor, lame, widowed, unemployed, homeless and others society marginalizes. How did you serve them?

How you served them is how you served Jesus.

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:12-14


Being paid back at the resurrection of the righteous is more important than being paid back now.

Job Seekers

Remember, when someone invites you to the banquet you are required to mind your manners. This means you need to perform your duties better than what you manager expects. By doing your new job well, it will encourage your manager to take a chance on inviting other unemployed people to the jobs banquet.

Be open to feedback from your manager but work as though you are working for God.


To all you hiring managers –

Who will you invite to the banquet today?


Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows as they move through grief and seize opportunities to rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while working as a call center team leader, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can view her photographs at because one blog is not enough.


Parables for 21st Century Job Seekers – Camels and Needles

Welcome to the second post in the series Parables for 21st Century Job Seekers. Today’s parable is about the rich man.  This is a lesson for the job seeker on how to behave now and when they are no longer a job seeker. However, this is mostly a lesson for the rest of us who are not job seekers. Disclaimer: I did not attend seminary and do not have a Master of Divinity degree.

I was a 21st Century job seeker, trying to rebuild a career that allows me to thrive financially and pay all the bills. Yesterday I started training for a work from home call center job.

Now on to today’s parable.


The Rich and the Kingdom of God

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his kneesbefore him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[d]

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”


April? (left) & Oliver? (right)

This parable is one that got reinforced and the point driven home more and more since I started rebuilding my career.

Now Jesus does not indicate what amount of money makes a person rich. The Bible states “great wealth.”

While rebuilding my career, I have found rich people are too busy working at staying rich and/or powerful to reach out a hand to help someone up on their feet or even help them put one foot up on the next rung of a ladder. They are not even willing to listen to and/or stand in solidarity with those in career transition.

Not all rich people are like this, there are those who are willing to reach out their hand into another person’s darkness and turn on the light for them. But those rich people are rare. Yes, I know some and I thank God for them being involved in my life. 

I am not the only one who has noticed rich people not being willing to help out even in the smallest way. There are lots of conversations about this a various networking events.

The tough part is to find ways you can help another one while you are poor yourself. Listening to someone about their problems and sending encouraging emails or cards are two ways to help.

If you find ways to help other poor people during your poor time, that makes you richer than a person with great wealth. 

5 Ideas To Help A Job Seeker

  • Spend 5 minutes calling H.R. and let them know someone you casually has applied for a position at the company and would they please pull your acquaintances resume from the black hole, review it and at least call the applicant. It is up to the applicant to do well enough on the phone call to get an in person interview and do well enough in the interview to get the job. 


  • When you know that your friend started a new job at a company and you have connections at that company. Offer to connect your friend to your connections. Your friend may not be aware that you have connections there. It helps to have an ally when starting at a new company.


  • Gift cards are a great way to help a struggling person. Whether gas, food or clothing they will be appreciated. My brother in law and his wife usually get me a calendar and attach one gift card for each month. Last year instead of a calendar, they gave me a new wallet with several gift cards in them. They are how I eat and get gas during financially troubled times.


  • When you have a barbecue, invite your friend going through a job searcht. The diversion will be treasured. Perhaps your friend will make a new friend at your barbecue. The principle also applies during holiday parties.


  • If you say you will keep a job seeker in your prayers – do it. I have heard that phrase numerous times but it is usually said in a way that makes me doubt whether the person is praying for me. Now there are a few close friends who I trust to pray for me and their prayers are much appreciated. 


  • Then there is also the ever popular meeting for coffee. This way you can find out how the person is doing and it gives them someone to vent to if necessary. When you are in the midst of a job search, time to vent is important. A coffee meeting that lasts 30 minutes will be the bright spot in a job seekers day and let’s them know they are not alone.

One Second

If you are rich, remember it only takes a second for you to suddenly become the job seeker in need of help. So remember to stop using all your time to stay rich and powerful and spend some of your time humbling yourself in service to others.

If you are struggling now, do your best to give with a cheerful heart however you can and you will be richer than the richest man on earth. Remember, it only takes one second for you to be employed again. When you do, never forget your recent experience and help other job seekers.

Definition Of Rich

Oh and by the way, I define rich as $30,000 and up.

(Coming next week: Banquet)

Photos courtesy of Unsplash; Verse courtesy of Biblegateway .

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives by seizing new opportunities. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while working as a call center team leader, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can view her photographs at because one blog is not enough

21st Century Parables – Introduction

Good Morning.

Starting tomorrow = I will be writing about some of the parables Jesus taught and explain how they apply to job searching in the 21st Century.

Job searching is one of my adventures since becoming a widow (it is worse than grief).

Lately Jesus’ parables have crossed my mind and I’ve been able to see how they apply to today’s job search. This is a subject I’ve been thinking about for some time and finally decided to do it.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Communication (college speak for public speaking) and not a Master of Divinity so I’m not an expert in theology. What I am an expert in is grief, job search, and society’s treatment of those in transition.

The Parable of the Sower is coming tomorrow. Other parables are:

  • The Rich Man
  • The Banquet

as well as any other ones I can apply to job search.

Now off to put paint chips on my spare bedroom walls as I am converting it into an office.

Enjoy your day and I will see you tomorrow.

God bless you.


A Golden Message From Heaven

Rommie stopped by last night to deliver a message to those of us who are struggling with various adversities. Rommie embraced life every day. She lived out Psalm 118:24

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

She rejoiced and was glad every day, despite having hip issues. Every day was a beautiful day to play ball, chase squirrels off her fence and bite skunks on the rear end.

So wherever you are and what ever skunk (grief, divorce, unemployment) is spraying you remember

Life is beautiful2

Rommie Kearns (8/5/2002 – 7/31/2015) 

May your day be filled with lots of love, hugs and sloppy wet kisses.

The Best Reasons For Helping Widowed Employees

Remember the best reasons for helping your employee who has been suddenly widowed at an age society considers “young” is:

  • “Therefore but for the grace of God go I.”  It could easily be you in her shoes at any given moment.
  • “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
  • “You reap what you sow” or “What goes around comes around.”  Whichever saying you prefer, how you treat your employee will come back to you maybe in a day, a year or 30 years from now.  That is a fact of life.

So why would you not want to play a part in her recovery?

Coming Monday 5/23 – Thoughts On Death Of Other Family Members

Coming Saturday – Sacrifice & Become

Coming Sunday – Wildest Dreams

Drama Queens

Drama Queens

Definition – Someone so overcome with grief they spend their days at their desks wailing, claiming no one understands (which no one else does), and pounds her desk, manager’s desk, or conference room table.  Her behavior disrupts other employees.   She enjoys being the center of attention. 

No Room

I can empathize with anyone who has suddenly lost a spouse at an age society considers “young.” However let me make one thing perfectly clear –

there is no room in the workplace for drama queens.

Realize This!

Drama Queens need to understand that while people are sympathetic and are willing to help, there is still a business to run.  In order for them to grasp that concept strict limits need set.

What Drama Queens Need

They need to be on extended bereavement leave, and/or medical leave.  While on leave they need help from a trained bereavement counselor and visits to their doctor so their health can be monitored. Drama Queen or not, the last thing your company needs is the sudden death of a coworker. (been there, done that, not fun.)

Weekly Meetings

Even though she is on leave, have her come in for weekly meetings so you can discuss her progress.  Set guidelines so she knows what you expect from her while she is on leave.  Have her provide proof for doctor’s visits and each session with a trained professional bereavement counselor. 

After she completes extended bereavement and/or medical leave and you can see improvement in her behavior, then she can return to work.  She will have to work under a mutually agreeable plan that includes weekly performance reviews.

First Year Anniversary

If you have given her medical leave, extended bereavement leave, and provided a plan to get her performing at the level the job requires but she is still a drama queen at the end of the first year, then you say:

“I’m sorry, but we need you to perform at the level this job requires or we’ll have to let you go.”

Then put her on 90 day probation. Let her know what you expect from her during the 90 day period.  If there is improvement then renew the probationary period for another 90 days.  I would renew these probationary periods for up to a year.  

No Improvement

If at the end of the first 90 day probationary period there is no improvement, then giving her a 6 month severance package is appropriate.  Also hire an outside placement company to assist her with career counseling.

Above And Beyond

Yes it is a lot to put up with a drama queen. But you need to in case she decides to go wail and pound on an attorney’s desk after you give her a severance package.  You will need to prove that you went above and beyond the call of duty in helping the Drama Queen.

“Don’t Be Cruel”

Do not let her go during the first year of widowhood. 

If you do that, just sign your company over to her as there is not a judge or jury that will side with you, even if your employee is a drama queen. 

Letting someone go their first year of widowhood is cruel – period, end of story. 


  • No one grieves perfectly
  • Every person grieves differently
  • The nature of their relationship affects how she grieves (strained, head over heals in love)
  • The circumstances of the death affect her grief (murder, plane crash, hit & run etc…)
  • She was a good employee before her world got turned upside down, inside out and backwards in the blink of an eye.

 If you are confronted with the sudden death of a spouse, you might turn into a Drama Queen or King. 

You never know how you will react until you are in the same situation.

10 Plan Ideas

First Things First

There needs to be a meeting her first day back.  Those attending the meeting need to be her immediate supervisor and his/her supervisor and any member of upper management interested in her wellbeing.  The meeting’s purpose is to express support and a willingness to help her perform at the level you need. 

You may expect her to know what she needs but trust me the only thing she knows is her name and that she has a dead husband and now she is back to work with the expectation of performing as if nothing happened.


In the time it takes to blink her world was turned upside down, inside out and backwards at the same time.

Plan Ideas

  • Weekly Meetings– Hold weekly meetings to find out how she is feeling. Also discuss, set and review performance milestones designed to get her meeting job requirements.     
  • Job Buddy – Someone who knows her job and can provide support and assistance.
  • Feelings – Don’t force her to “stuff” her feelings.  Shoving feelings deep down inside will make her ill. It is not good for her mental or physical well-being.
  • Physical Health – Encourage her to see her doctor so she and her family know her health status.  Remember, I was told the chance of me becoming ill and dying before the second anniversary was great. 
  • Grief Counseling – Allow her time off to seek grief counseling either from a trained professional or a support group such as Griefshare.  
  • Holidays – The holidays are going to be especially tough the first year.  Her performance will probably suffer during these times so you may as well let her have time off for holidays and special family events.
  • Her Story – Let her share her story with co-workers so they have some understanding of what she had been through.  This can be done at a meeting if she feels up to it or through a Grief Letter she writes explaining:

The details of her husband’s death. (as much as she is willing to share)

Thanking everyone for their support.

Advising them what she needs to get through her grief journey.

Plan Ideas To Help Re-engage Her Brain

  • Special Projects – Let her have input on a special project going on in the office.  Nothing major like mergers, but something simple like:

         Member of the Potluck Committee.

Input on the color scheme for the new carpet, walls, or cubicles. 

Input on who to put where during the next round of “Musical Cubicles.”

You get the idea.  Something simple, different and gives her something “new” to focus on for a while, which can be refreshing. 

  • Exercise Group – Start an exercise group that walks up and down the stairs for morning and/or afternoon break.  If there are no stairs then walk around either the inside or outside of the building. 
  • Lunch Time Book Club – Again something different for the widow to focus on.  Keep the reading material on the lighter side.

I Know, I Know

I know this is a lot to ask of employers and I hear lots of grumbling as I write this post.  Just remember these suggestions are based on my experience.  You can implement these or come up with different ideas. 

Your Choices

You have two choices:

    • Work together in developing a plan so she can perform at the level you need.
    • Leave her flopping around on the dock like a fish out of water.  Maybe she is able to perform at the level needed without any help and maybe not.

 Which would you prefer if your life changed in the time it takes to blink?

  Coming tomorrow – Drama Queens

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