A good way to get some in-depth information about a career is to go online and type in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mess around with that database for a tad and then switch to Occupational Outlook Handbook. As they say in West Virginia, "You'll have more stuff than you can shake a stick at." I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good.
I warn my students not to look at the line which shows the median salary. Of course, everyone does. The problem is that any time the salary is high, the requirements are off the chart, the certification process is very long and demanding and the competition is fierce.
I always tell my classes about the time when I was moving up in the retail field and dreaming of the fabled vice presidency, a big oak desk, a large picture window with a view and a salary that could choke a horse.
One summer, our family was about to go on a long awaited and needed vacation to the utopia we called Disney World. We had read about every ride, every exhibit, all the parades and knew we were going to visit Pirates of the Caribbean, Tiki Village, It's a Small World and if you could name it, we were going to do it. The car was packed and I was walking out the door when the phone rang. It was President Kramer of our company. "Bressler, we're ready to outfit and merchandise our new store in Gainesville (Florida). I know you're about to vacation, but I want you there Monday morning 7 a.m. sharp. It'll take a week to be ready for opening day. See you."
Most of you know what it was like for our family. It's a memory I will never forget.
About a month later, Mr. Kramer called me up to his office, motioned for me to sit and said, "John, I know it was a disappointment when you had to work on your vacation, but let me tell you what I have learned over the years. You'll have plenty of time for your family when you retire." I wish I would have had the courage back then to say what I felt.
"That's the stupidest statement I have ever heard!"
Kramer went on, "You have a great job, good pay, live in a nice home and can provide all the extras your kids need. That's what we do."
I know that God heard my prayers because He called me into the ministry so I could have my family and a lifetime of serving the people of God.
I was speaking with a friend recently. He had a wonderful job making plenty of money and could afford most everything he and his family needed. Of course, the hours were long and working 60 hours a week were not unusual. He came home one evening and looked into his daughter's room. She was soundly sleeping and he noticed something. She was holding one of his shirts in her arms. She missed daddy and the smell and the touch of his shirt must have helped her go to sleep. It's not possible to put his heart and words in print, but he changed jobs so he can be home every evening to say, "Goodnight, I love you."
I always tell the students that making a large salary, wearing the latest fashion, driving the best cars and having a wild lifestyle may sound like living the dream, but there is a price to pay. There are sacrifices to make. Are we willing to give up what makes true life possible for a dream that can so often destroy, demean and dehumanize the soul? It's a choice.
I hope and pray for my students to find their calling, whatever it may be. When they believe they know what it is, then are they willing to sacrifice and work very very hard to complete the education, earn the certification, do the needed extra years of training and residency for qualification so they are prepared? Most importantly, can they ask the questions and honestly listen to the answers? It's a choice.
I have always believed this, "Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, or about your body, what you shall wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be yours as well." It's a choice.