By Ryan Haber.
“What do I do next?”
You might not know. To make things worse, you might not very good at much that the world is willing to pay for.
I felt that way when I left the seminary. I landed a decent job almost by dumb luck but didn’t really know what I was going to do next or even what I was doing in general. I was bored with work which seemed trivial compared to the grand vision that had been laid out before me during years of priestly formation. During one job hunting phase, I couldn’t get anyone to look at my resume. I sent out 200 resumes and got back not one response. How worthless can you feel?
I’m happy to report that more recently, Google and Facebook have approached me about jobs and I like my current situation well enough that I turned them both down.
How did that happen?
I do not have any magic. I have learned a few things over the twelve years since leaving seminary, and I’d really like to share them with you.
You can have a stable job that adds value to the world and that you enjoy. You can change jobs when you want, rather than getting chased out of them. You can have your own home and be confident in job interviews. You have something to offer. The “world” works by a different set of rules than the monastic community. The good news is that you can learn these rules and, without compromising your faith or morals, navigate the game of life.
I am not a career coach. I’m not an expert. But if you’re feeling lost and confused, I am probably just a step or two ahead of you and can relate. I’ve love to share what people have taught me. Here are some of the things we can work on together:
- Thinking and envisioning careers which may interest you
- Figuring out potential next steps
- Getting your resume and online profiles ship-shape
- Learning how to network in powerfully effective ways
- Getting job interviews
- Being more comfortable with job interviews
- Figuring out how to get along with secular managers and coworkers
- Negotiating for salary
- Strategies for decision making
There are no guarantees, and you’ll only get out what you put in. But if you’d like to chat with me about yourself, your career and what may come next, I’m very happy to share what I have learned so far.
To get started, go to https://leonieslonging.org/careercontact/ and complete the contact form.
Soon afterwards, we will be in touch to make appointment for an initial chat.
Here’s what you’ll do in your initial 60-minute initial chat:
- Get to know each other a little bit
- Tell me where you are, what you’re doing, what you want
- I’ll probably give you a homework assignment
- Set up a time to talk more in-depth about one topic or another
After the initial chat, you and I will go on to the steps that make most sense for you. Each time we meet – whether in person at a coffee shop or across the country via video chat – just buy me a cup of coffee and we’ll call it even. That’s not much of a risk.
Ryan Haber is a Maryland native. Since leaving Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in 2006, he has mostly worked in software development even though his B.A. is in history and he has no other degree. He has worked in companies big and small to help document and explain technical software development tools to software engineers. Periodically they let him out of his cubicle to speak at conferences and workshops about similar nerdy things. Right now he works for Blackboard, Inc. In his free time, he hikes and camps and takes pictures and kicks his nieces around. Like you, Ryan has no idea what God has in store for him next.
The key is translating what you did in religious life. My first interview in 1973 was with PacBell. I told them I wanted to be an operator because I knew I could talk. They asked what I had done in the convent. I answered that I had answered the door and phone, ran a printing press, went door to door selling religious books and even hosted a Catholic radio program.
I was very fortunate when my interviewer told me to never again tell anyone I had no experience. Then she hired me for an office position. She said I would not stay as an operator because I would get bored!
I spent five years with that company before moving on to my real career in education. That is a whole other story of advocating for myself and the education I had in the convent.