Monday, October 28, 2013

Knowing God

1. Introduction
Has anyone ever asked you where you plan to be in the next five years? Such a question can cause you to stop and think. The question itself has pivot potential, giving you an opportunity to 1) assess where you are, 2) describe in detail where you want to be and 3) determine if you’re doing what it takes to get there.

After a thorough self-evaluation, your list of aspirations may have included: a well paying career, a dream house, a loving spouse, a profitable business venture and a secure retirement plan. Whatever your response was on that occasion, as child of God, you probably wondered if any of the things you wanted corresponded with God's Will for you.

1.1 What is God's Will
In order to define God’s Will, let’s consider how it is commonly perceived in and outside the church. As a Christian custom, believers may be heard saying "If it is the Lord's will." after planning an event. “God’s Will be done,” when hoping for something, and “I’ll leave them to God(‘s will),” when mistreatment occurs. Christians, from the beginnings of the faith –as indicated in the scriptures- have long understood God’s Will to denote spiritual achievements that the Father Himself either worked to attain or had assigned to one of his messengers (either flesh and blood or spirit) to carry out.

When considering the concept of the will from a natural perspective, the idea of having to write a will someday comes to mind. This document, activated at the moment of an asset-holder's death, should indicate a number of expectations that someone, will be entrusted to see accomplished. That authorized person or executor (family friend or legal rep) must ensure that the will is carried out to completion.  Since the term will in both spiritual and natural circles are very similar in meaning, let's define the term without discriminating with regard to the nature of the will owner, whether divine or mortal. The term will, in relation to God or man, has always meant a set of goals. Therefore, let will w from hereinafter denote a set with at least one goal where the term goal is by definition an outcome.

1.2 Levels of God's Will
God's Will has two main levels. There is the ubiquitous (general) level at which every born again follower of Christ is expected to operate. Acceptable Christian behavior is outlined in teachings of Christ Jesus which tell us how to live holy lives -lives that bring glory to God. For example, Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies, thus separating us from the general population who condone retaliation. He, also, taught us give sacrificially as the widow in His mite parable did when she offered to the Lord all she had (Luke 21:1-4). Human nature, on the other hand teaches us to horde and sacrifice others to achieve our own interest. Besides the many more lessons Christ shared through the scriptures to sanctify us to live free from the burden and weight of sin, the Lord continues through His Spirit to teach us all truth (1 John 2:27).

The other level is not like the first. The activities carried out at this level are not widely understood or accepted. Paul in Romans chapter 14, addressed the issue of strong and weak faith among believers. Some know their rights in Christ while others have more to learn about God's saving grace. The problem occurs when weak faith believers judge their brother or sister in Christ based on 1) the day he or she attends church and/or 2) the types of food he or she eats. Scripture advises the strong believer, living with more freedom, to use his specialized knowledge of God's will with discretion and never at the risk of causing a believer with a weaker faith to sin. In other words, if you know a believer that eats only vegetables unto the Lord and you invite them to a restaurant to discuss the sermon from the morning service entitled Christ love, don't order a steak. Such an act is not demonstrating Christ love, instead order a salad. "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).

1.2.1 God's Will is My Purpose
When you finally discover God's Will as it pertains to you, described by Paul in Romans 12:2 as good, pleasing and perfect and have found Him as was promised in Jeremiah 29:11-13 to all who would seek the Father with their whole heart, you have actually uncovered your purpose in life, your main reason for living. God wants you to achieve the things you need. By carrying out His will, you are actually filling the gaps of lack in your heart. These gaps impress you internally as hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). Hence the reason Jesus said in John 4:34, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." This explains why no substitute offered by the world can satisfy your heart. The spaces in your inner most being have been reserved by God before time began for His righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Professional Resume Writing Tips

After working for the past 13 years in several fields (radio broadcasting, marketing and education) in both the private and government sector, I've gained valuable insights that can potentially increase the likelihood of new entrants -into the workforce- actually achieving their career goals. Now, the concept of goals in terms of a particular career is quite important but rarely on the radar of those seeking employment for the first time. As a result, newbies usually saturate their local job market with generic resumes which give hiring managers the impression that they were one of many choices. No one wants to feel like the 1st runner up in a beauty pageant! So take some time to consider the following resume writing advice; it's arguably the most pivotal step in your path to a successful long term career.

Investigate Potential Company
Use your favorite search engine to perform a search on the business you're interested in joining. If possible contact past or current employees to gain a sense of the organization's culture. The question you're trying to answer is whether or not your world-view and personal beliefs will mesh well with the company's corporate goals. You don't want to feel guilty carrying out your daily primary duties. Moreover, certain companies place great emphasis on their employees' participation in social events. If you prefer a strictly 8 hour job than these more intrusive types of jobs that require flexible hours ought to be scratched off your list. However, if you long for the sense of desperation that comes along with short deadlines and work orders that require research and imagination to derive solutions than the typical 9 to 5 job will not bring out the best in you.

Criteria Details are Keywords
Tailor your general resume to suite the company you're targeting -this shows that you've actually read and paid attention to the job posting's criteria details as well as imply that you have a high level of interest in the vacancy. You're attention to details will be reflected in your choice of words with regard to the job titles listed in your work history. In some cases, major companies rely on databases to manage the high volume of daily resume submissions. In such an automated system, job titles and descriptions -listed in descending chronological order- become the keyword pools that database systems draw from when searches are made for potential interview ready candidates. Also many of these databases are programmed to disregard resumes that don't match company expectations which were clearly stated in the Ad posting.

Tweaking your Presentation
Review your hobbies and other personal information to ensure that the details you've included in this section pertains to some extent to the post you're attempting to fill. Also, avoid trying to capture a manager's attention by using non-traditional formatting techniques as these can be a distraction and source of aggravation for overburdened manager. Content by far carries more weight than a flashy looking resume. Furthermore, in terms of content make sure to keep your respect, even if you personally know the person reading your resume. A respectful resume will not contain the following shortcomings:
  • Clever remarks or humorous nuances. This may indicate that you'll be an employee who won't take his job seriously as well as a difficult person to advise or correct when the need arises.
  • Misrepresentations which stretch the truth or bold-faced lies that can easily be verified as false statements. I've seen co-workers fired within their first week of work as a result of such hyperbolations of expertise. When they are unable to deliver, management has no other choice but let him or her go as time is money and below standard work also results in shrinking profit margins.
  • Boasting is not attractive and is rarely interpreted as confidence. So applicants aspiring to take on leadership positions should be aware that humility is a main ingredient that every great corporate leader possesses. It is the basis of their charismatic force which can brings a company together and away from a fiscal cliff, while an applicant's pride (potential root of contention) would only divide a department and compromise the mission and vision of the entire organization.
Reference Guideline Recommendations
Usually this section is not given much attention by applicants. They fail to take into consideration the privacy rights of their references. Instead of divulging your trusted references' personal and professional details, offer this information as per request, especially with the permission of the references themselves.
Who can you turn to for a reference? Definitely include at least one recent supervisor. References from peers and professors (once job experience is lacking) are acceptable as well. However, do not include family members as their opinion of you fails to meet any standard test of objectivity.

Finishing Touches to Resume Presentation
You've finally finished preparing your resume. But wait, have you proofread your material. One misspelled word can be the deciding factor between you and another applicant with similar but not as stellar job skills. If you don't trust yourself to pinpoint your own mistakes, ask for assistance from preferably someone known as a perfectionist. In that case, expect to make a few minor adjustments to your final product.
Remember, what you put in is what you'll get out. You're investment of time and energy in applying for a particular job will be of immense importance to your life on the job after being hired.

Accounting Principals. (February 1, 2013). Basic Tips for Resume Writing.
Accounting Principals.(February 6, 2013). Make Your References Work For You.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pros and Cons of Online Work

Anybody who has earned money online will tell you that freelancing gives you a sense of independence and also strengthens your people skills. With each new job, you will find yourself interacting via email and/or Skype with project managers and possibly team members from around the world. I've been working online since December of 2011 and have gone through my share of highs and lows. These days, I'm busy working on making my own business, a success while pointing freelancers like myself to success of their own.

The first thing you need to realize is that Business to Business (B2B) relations online can be just as tumultuous as any of the real world relationships one may have with friends and family. It's up to you to value your abilities, even if you're inexperienced. As a freelancer, courage is a must. In my case, I gained my confidence from seeing every instance of getting hired as a gift from God, though there were times I had to relinquish some jobs on the principal of 'All or nothing'. If I couldn't give a client my best, I would end the contract; mentally prepared to absorb any potential hit to reputation I may incur. Why? Because, when I'm hired by a company, its best interest is front and center in my mind and heart. It just doesn't make sense to me that any of my clients should pay for my discrepancies in self discipline.

Yet, our task, as freelancers -with each new job- also involves not getting caught off guard. You must be keen to slight changes in behavior that may precede a complete 180 degree change in your project manager's personality. Such events typically take place if 1) your manager is shady and 2) you like to ask a lot of questions. Despite the fact that you may be getting paid at the lower end of the scale, which is expected for newbies in this competitive field, you still have rights and must make it clear: My conscience is not for sale. It is important to have a strong sense of self-worth prior to entering this work-from-home market. I'm sure some well intentioned individuals, unquestionably followed orders and became 'black hat' or infamous in the eyes of major search engines, in the process. But it's not too late if you can admit to your mistakes and are more wearisome of doing business, in the future, with project managers who expect the following:
  1. work completed although their payment method has yet to be verified
  2. extra work completed despite the fact that it wasn't posted in the job description
  3. employees are to work without questioning any given instruction
  4. cut corners and break rules to complete tasks
  5. work indefinitely, without pay, until a certain arbitrary milestone is achieved
Be aware of these types of opportunist, especially if you are writing articles or building citations[1]. In terms of article writing, find out from the very beginning if you will receive credit for your work; don't get surprised or work naively. Ask lots of questions during the interview stage. Finally, be willing to end a contract if you feel you cannot meet your project manager's expectation. Remember, your dignity is more important than a few dollars.

[1] These are online references to a business, mainly done by submitting a company's business information to local directories for the sole purpose of increasing its rank in search engines.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Top 3 Ways to Spend Time

 As the title suggest, time is like money. For the most part we spend time with people and on things that will add value to our lives. However, there are times the experiences purchased don't measure up to expectations advertised by the heart and by the time we realize it, we've either overpaid or been robbed. The following are the top three ways I spend time:

1. Obligations
As a writer, I know what it means to pledge time to meeting a client's deadline or spending limit. In order to produce a piece (literary experience) worth the wait, I budget my waking hours with a schedule scripted to ensure that I'm able to afford all my daily obligations. However, there have been times that I've strayed from my budget and paid attention to things I shouldn't have (distractions). At the end of the day, as a result of my weak resolve, I find myself broke (out of time) or not having enough time to get my work due adequately. Either the job is done below my set standard or not complete at all.

Sometimes certain obligations dictate how much attention each time-valued object of a given budget actually gets, producing, with the usually reluctant consent of my will, a list of priorities. As a dad with a three year old son, priorities, many times, need to be redefined. Especially, in the morning, before I head out for work and he cries for me to stay home. I pay for this painful but unavoidable momentary expense, with the hope of giving him a better future, which includes more time to follow his dreams. At this time -quitting isn't an option.

2. Saved-time
As parents, we are willing to go through some things (pay it forward) so our children won't have to. Consider the sacrifice Christ made over 2000 years ago on behalf of all mankind. He experienced the expense (the cross) and glory (resurrection and ascension) of a sinless life, affording anyone who would follow his teaching the costly experience of eternal life. Jesus' selfless act has help those who believe to save time. Now, we have opportunities for good stored up for the right moment (Ephesians 2:10). When we give our time to God, the Lord holds it until needs arise for us to shine His light before mankind.

Note: Efficiency (right living), which comes with great expense, always leads to savings, usually for those you love. Sin, on the other hand, always promises great experiences at cheap prices but instead leads to a sold soul and eternal loss.

3. Redeemed-time
As someone saved, I look back at the times I wasted in sin, settling for less, foolishly expecting more. When I was living sinfully, my soul belonged to the one that controlled my will and budgeted my time. It took the message of Salvation to show me that the saving work of Christ on the cross had redeemed me, long ago, from my obligation to sin. Now, I feel like I've been given a second chance at life, spending wisely this time Jesus redeemed for me. I believe those hours the devil stole, were snatched back on calvary long before I breathed my first breath and wasted my first second.

I realize, now, that my time has value, and that every moment I experience free from sin is the result of the expense Christ paid, for me. The new experiences that redeemed-time affords my soul doesn't leave me feeling empty and hope-deprived. And when I do get sad, it's always for a higher purpose. With redeemed-time, everything I experience draws me closer to knowing Him. Why delay or waste any more time hesitating about making Jesus your lord and savior. Seriously, consider living a redeemed life before the earthly time you’ve been blessed with -runs out.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Quitting Your Job?

During times of extreme stress on a job an individual may consider quitting his or her job. Quitting or the ending of one's service to a company or organization usually occurs when no other recourse is apparent for solving a personal grievance and that grievance directly affects his or her overall performance. Though quitting a job may not appear as stigmatizing as being dismissed by an employer which is commonly referred to as being fired, society may term such a person as being overly sensitive and view him or her as unstable.

There are several reasons for quitting a job. One of the best reasons may be finding another job that is more fulfilling. Persons who excel at their work usually say they are doing what they love. For some innovative individuals who couldn't find a more fulfilling job, they busied themselves while keeping their day jobs until the public's demand for their services or talents became great enough to thrive from. However, being hired by or starting a Fortune 500 company is not a typical reason most employees decide to let go of their single means of earning an income. For the most part most people are willing to do unfulfilling work if they see some future benefit for themselves and/or their children. But when the trade off isn't or doesn't appear fair and balanced, the idea of quitting enters the mind. Common reasons for quitting range from personal issues to external ones and include but are not limited to the following:
  • not being able to carry out one's daily functions due to an ailment,
  • not being paid enough to maintain a certain standard of living and quality of life for oneself and family,
  • not wanting to be involved in unethical, immoral or illegal practices,
  • not being treated by supervisor or employer with dignity.
In most societies and cultures around the world, quitting is rarely encouraged or given as an option even if the reasons are valid. The label 'Quitter' seems to have always been synonymous with term 'Loser'. A male's masculinity may even be questioned if instead of fighting in response to an insult he decides ignore it or walk away from a volatile situation. Though there are times for answering disparaging remarks and moments when standing your ground means something, but when strength is weighed on impartial scales, the will power[1] required to remain silent or walk away is far greater than the power it takes to use derogatory language or become involved in a physical altercation.

One of the most difficult lessons one will find in the teachings of Jesus Christ, is the admonishment he gave over 2000 years ago to his followers in Matthew chapter 5 verse 39 to turn the other cheek, or in other words maintain your sense of worth during an injustice by turning an unwarranted punishment into a challenge that inspires and leaves judgment to God. In our modern times, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his civil rights movement actually put Christ's teaching into practice and after facing the fire hoses, dogs, bats and guns of those fighting to preserve a segregated South, won equal rights for the blacks living in America, culminating in the election of the first black president, Barak Obama in 2008. Whether quitting is right or wrong depends on the situation but as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proved, quitting isn't always a cowardly or shameful act when one has a vision, ordinarily referred to as 'Plan B'.

For anyone considering quitting his or her job, a plan B is a must especially in these dire economic times. Quitting without having sufficient savings will, if you can't catch a break in time, eventually lead to dependence on family members. The strain in some cases has caused couples to divorce and families to fragment, with children being raised by grandparents as parents struggle to support themselves. Don't take the decision to quit lightly even if your reason makes sense, your action, even if only psychologically, will be taxing on you and those you love, so make sure you've discussed and weighed all your options with those who will be affected before making your move.

[1] The ability to control one's decisions and subsequent actions