Thursday, March 11, 2010

Job search and religion, or lack thereof

As I said on Facebook, the reason I go to job search clubs at churches is because Texas Workforce Commision requires you to make 5 "job search activities" to receive unemployment benefits, and going to a job search club counts as one activity. (Somebody has informed me that it's easier to meet those requirements than I thought. Thanks, you-know-who-you-are, I'll keep your advice in mind and will revise my job search strategy in the upcoming weeks.)

All three clubs meet in churches, but two of them don't require any religious involvement. The third one, though... time will only show if I can stomach all their god-talk.

However, the third one also has some good stuff going on, such as resume critique sessions or personal statement help sessions. A personal statement is an answer you would give when an interviewer asks you, "tell me about yourself". The most vague and trecherous of all interview questions, it's so ubiquitous it has its own acronym: TMAY. It's also known as elevator pitch. If this club prepares you for interview pitfalls, it may be worth going to. I just don't know how much religious involvement it demands of its members. Some evidence suggests that they ask way more than I could comfortably ignore. For example, it encourages everyone to find their accountability partner -- a person to who you would be accountable for things you've done in your job search on any given week; that would be good except you are supposed to pray for your partner.

I didn't expect that when I went to my first meeting. The club's profile on LinkedIn says they welcome people "without faith background". Yet it was pretty clear at the meeting they assume everyone is a religious person. The Friday of the same week the president of the club called me -- he probably does that for all new members -- and asked about my experience with the club. So I asked him bluntly if have to be religious to be a member. He took my question calmly, and said I didn't have to pray. I was surprised by how he was completely unfazed when I said I was a nonbeliever. Maybe it's the whole "love the sinner, hate the sin" thing. :-) Many Christians may be intolerant of liberal point of view, but some of them show a surprising amount of tolerance when dealing with individual heathens, such as me.

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