“Help Wanted” pages are not just about you


When I receive a newspaper, the first page I turn to is the Help Wanted section. I have done this for 30 years.

Why am I so obsessed with the jobs page? It has taken me nearly three decades to self-diagnose. The first and best reason is that I want to help. I see a job description and ask myself if I could do that job. If the position is not well-suited to my skills, I keep scanning. If I could do the job well, I give the idea some thought. I usually realize that I simply don’t have time (or opportunity) to switch positions and retool.

I do a little dance with the Help Wanted section even if I am happily employed and have no intention of changing jobs. I do this even when I am not employed and have no intention of going back to work. This bizarre behavior has caused me to discern my own motives. The most apparent reason is that I want to know if I am gifted enough to do the job, and it feels good – exciting even – if the answer is yes.

I have a second reason for scanning the Help Wanted pages, and it’s far less attractive. I need to be wanted. I like the idea that someone would like to see me apply for a specific position. It’s one thing to want to help; it’s another thing entirely to want to be wanted. No noble motive there.

The bottom line is this: I should be contented with where I am, what I’m doing, whom I’m helping, and at peace with the knowledge that Jesus Christ wants me. Period.

As I age, I am still fascinated by the Help Wanted section but now, I am more interested for another reason. I want to see if there are available positions for people I know. I have become a kind of matchmaker, seeing how human resource needs fit those I know and the gifts God has entrusted to them. It’s the same reason I enjoy teaching vocations class to high school students. I see their gifts, and I become a cheerleader as they discern what God is calling them to be.

I realize that we are all wanted by God, and we all have gifts. I am not called to every position out there, but somebody is. I feel like a big sister, a mother, a spiritual director of sorts. Like St. Paul to Timothy, I am an encourager. Remember the gifts you received when the bishop laid hands upon you at your confirmation. Those gifts have grown and are now ready to share with the world. You know it. I see it. The world is waiting.

Do not neglect these gifts. Be diligent. Scan God’s Help Wanted pages! Be ready to craft that letter of inquiry and complete that application form. Do good. Be generous with your gifts. Be ready to share.

Don’t let the fire of your desire die out. When you see your retirement years on the horizon, pause. Ask yourself if you see giftedness in someone God has entrusted to you, like St. Paul to Timothy.

Those Help Wanted pages were never just about you. Find your Timothy and invite him (or her) to answer the call.

Denise Bossert is a convert to the Catholic Church. She is an author, speaker, theology teacher and syndicated columnist for diocesan newspapers. She writes from New Melle, Missouri.

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