No instantly perfect job, but don’t give up on God

heather    As the summer begins and graduation ceremonies have wound down, I was reminded of the bleak reality facing job candidates when I asked a friend of mine, a newly graduated senior from my alma mater, what she planned on doing. Her response: still searching.
    The Class of 2012, and many future graduates, have found and will find that while there is talk of increasing job availability and decreasing unemployment, there simply are not enough open positions for every qualified candidate. The job market today is highly competitive, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon.
    Many people choose a major because they truly enjoy learning about that subject and can see themselves in a career in that field. Imagine the surprise when they realize there are no jobs in that field or they can’t get that job despite their qualifications.
    The jobs they acquire are outside of their field or interest. We all have heard the first job is not exactly what we aim for, but that piece of advice is usually applied to being at the bottom of the totem pole – that is, working your way up in a company within your main interest. Today, graduates are resorting to moving away from family and friends to follow a job lead in their field, working in the food service or retail or finding a low-paying job outside of their college degree.
    It is no wonder, then, that young adults are unhappy and find themselves frustrated and filled with doubts. Many question God, asking why he cannot help them. Many become frustrated with answers from the devout community, telling graduates to continue praying because God will provide.
    Today, college graduates find themselves moving from job to job. Some juggle multiple part-time jobs; some maintain a full-time job in addition to a part-time job. This sort of chaos has become the norm, and in this chaos, frustration, depression, anxiety and unhappiness fester.
    Statistics show that young adults are leaving the church in droves, and the church  asks why. With such a chaotic lifestyle matched by society’s chaos – where freedom seems to be tossed to the wayside and family and sacramental institutions of marriage and the priesthood are frowned upon – I find it easy to understand why young people are leaving the church.
    In such flux, young adults find themselves saying they are too busy for God. They are wary of investing their limited amount of free time and resources in something other than their own interests, something other than “getting ahead.” And yet, the interest in following a Christian lifestyle – the life that Jesus led – is still there. The desire for community, for pursuing a life in imitation of Jesus remains. The skepticism seems only to apply to the church as an institution.
    So what do we do? There is no easy answer.
    Society tells us one thing, and the church seems to tell us something different. Young adults are at a crossroads, striving for community in a world that increasingly endorses isolationism.
    We need only look at the examples of “social” media to understand the endorsement of such an ideal. Dioceses across the nation have attempted to modify aspects of the liturgy and the church’s ministries to appeal to young adults. In some instances, this may have worked and established connections with the young adults in the community.
    What has been slightly overlooked, however, is the promise represented by emphasizing the awe of the majesty in sacred liturgy – the “pomp and circumstance,”  that draws flocks to the Christmas and Easter Masses. It is that air of mystery that seems to pervade such Masses, combined with the appeal of tradition and family, that draws the people. It is the sense of sacredness that prevails but might grow a little stale in everyday Sunday Masses, when attendance becomes a habit.
    As young adults grow disillusioned about the job market, it seems natural for them to become disillusioned with the church and to use their busyness as an excuse for failing to nurture their spiritual lives. One of the best pieces of advice that I have been given is to be open for anything, to allow myself to see the growth and opportunity in any aspect of life – whether that be in a new job or in trying a new church parish or form of Mass.
    Heather Bozant can be reached at hbozant@clarionherald.org.

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