An article published in Market Watch states that “while 63% of “Generation Y” workers – those age 18-29 – have a bachelor’s degree, the majority of the jobs taken by graduates don’t require one.” In another survey by Rutgers University, “half of graduates in the past five years say their jobs didn’t require a four-year degree and the only 20% said their first job was on their career path.”
It’s all confirming what we already know. Unemployment rates are high and it’s hard for college graduates (or anyone for that matter) to find jobs. And, according to that survey, I made up that percentage.
Since I graduated my jobs have consisted of house sitting, babysitting, teaching at a summer camp and most recently, stocking retail shelves before the store opens in the morning. These jobs are not in my field and at most required an experience of a just a year at college.
It’s not all bad though. I’m thankful that I have something to keep me from being idle and avoid spending all day watching television or surfing the Internet. I’m also thankful that have a source of income to pay my bills.
So, what does God call those who are unemployed or underemployed to do? I found that answer in the Novena to St. Josemaría Escríva for Work.
I first heard about the Novena from Jason and Cristina (fellow contributors & hosts on 2GGCP). There’s no such thing as praying too much so I decided to pray the Novena with my friend in Dallas who is also searching for a job. We managed to pray together most of the days through Skype and prayed the rest on our own.
What I’ve come to realize is that all those days telling kids to focus and get their work done at the summer camps or hauling boxes at the retail job are more than just what it seems like on the surface. With every minute we spend at our jobs, no matter how small, boring, busy, fun or stressful, is an opportunity to glorify Him.
All work, no matter what, is dignified. It doesn’t matter if you’re working a retail job, a daycare or in a big corporation making the big bucks. St. Josemaría writes that “the dignity of work is founded in Love” and that even in the simplicity or monotonous aspects of your work you discover love for your neighbor who you serve through whatever your job calls you to do.
Before God, no job is to great or small. While some might feel frustrated at having to work at a job ‘in the mean time’ before finding their career let us not belittle our current responsibilities. St. Josemaría writes that “all work bears witness to the dignity of mean, to his dominion over creation.” (Christ is Passing By, 47) and that we must not belittle it, but carry out whatever we do in a fully responsible way as Jesus gave his work at Nazareth.
We have an opportunity as Christians through whatever work we do to be a witness to Christ. St. Josemaría encourages carrying a Crucifix with you or placing a picture of Our Lady and looking at it before, during and after you finish your work as a constant reminder of turning your work into a loving dialogue with God (Furrow, 487). It doesn’t have to be a large display or even obvious, but enough to remind yourself of the intentions you have while at work.
For the time being my prayer for all those searching for a job or struggling in a job that isn’t ideal is this – and it is best taken from the prayer to St. Josemaría – that we “may learn to turn all the circumstances and events of our lives into the opportunities to love Him and serve the Church, the Pope and all souls, with joy and simplicity, lighting up the paths of the earth with faith and love.”
You can find the Novena to St. Josemaría Escríva here.