In general, the emotional side tends to be the “problem” side. The negative emotions of anger, fear, anxiety, jealousy, etc. are those with which students may need to wrestle. This is not to negate the positive emotions, like happiness, love and joy, but rather to say that in our Western culture the negative ones tend to be more prominent and have the capacity to cause students to veer off course. If this is the case, then the spiritual side can be viewed as the “antidote” to our negative emotions.
“Spiritual” refers to knowing there is a spiritual world, that a power, Hashem, greater than ourselves is in charge. Each of us is capable of having an authentic, direct connection to Him, Who will gladly help us, if we ask. Lest you think this is an off-beat, way-out approach when talking about career choices, know that Richard Bolles (with degrees in chemical engineering and physics from MIT and Harvard, respectively, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? and “father” of the career coaching profession) has an entire section of his handbook for career counselors devoted to Spirituality. He writes, “In light of the fact that the overwhelming majority of our profession believes in G-d and the overwhelming majority of our clients believe in G-d, it is more than a little nuts that our profession by and large thinks it is not permissible to even mention G-d during career counseling sessions.”
Believe it or not, even the world of business has embraced the usefulness of spirituality.
What spirituality has to offer to students who are trying to identify or search for a career is the following:
We have been given everything (strengths, talents, inclinations, etc.) we need to fulfill our purpose in the world – the prime example of this being Bezalel, the architect of the Mishkan.
The people, places and things that come into our lives, whether we like them or not, are there for us to reach our highest spiritual purpose, and working “on (our) purpose” is an awesome experience.
Acceptance of one’s life circumstances at every moment in time and cultivating an attitude of gratitude will keep us grounded during the most stressful (like looking for a job) aspects of our lives.
Whatever happens (like being rejected for a job) is for the best, even though we may not experience it that way in the moment.
If we ask, Hashem will answer; however, not always in the way we expect or want.
How can a person cultivate a spiritual perspective? Acquire a spiritual leader or mentor, read books and/or attend workshops on spirituality, develop a spiritual practice, such as meditating, journaling,
In conclusion, the spiritual and emotional aspects are just as, if not more, important than the physical and intellectual factors. If our student, Adele, at the beginning of this article was aware of the emotional and spiritual components, she could have chosen to see the rejection through a spiritual lens and reacted in a very different way. She could have accepted the firm’s decision as what was in her best interest from a spiritual perspective. Instead of getting bogged down emotionally and wasting time and energy being angry about the decision, she could have looked more calmly at what she might have done differently. An emotionally evolved and spiritual view has the capability of bringing serenity to any situation. She may well have thought of the Serenity Prayer: “G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” And moved on!