Finding a Job: 21st Century Style
by Kenny Moore

The economy is down. Outsourcing is up. Globalization is in. And college grads have recently been let out. This has placed a great number of unemployed people out on the streets looking for work. Some timely advice is warranted.

For the past 20 years, I've worked for a heavenly CEO (figuratively speaking) in a New York City Fortune 500 company. Prior to that, I spent 15 years working for another heavenly CEO (literally speaking) as a Catholic priest in a monastic community. Oddly enough, the work remained similar in both jobs. But the incentive plans varied greatly.

Here's my practical list of worldly and otherworldly advice for getting that perfect job:

  1. Suicide is no longer an effective strategy for initiating a job search;

  2. Employers continue to remain more interested in your personal passion than a PowerPoint presentation;

  3. The ability to manage anxiety, ambiguity and uncertainty is more valuable than a MBA in Finance;

  4. Developing a greater sense of humor and openness to surprise gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace;

  5. Selling your soul to gain employment is bad for business and prolongs your stay in Purgatory.

The Sacred Side of a Job Search

Getting a job also has divine implications because it's tied into our vocation. We show up on this earth with a host of talents and personal gifts that are meant to be used. Not only in the service of ourselves but also for the betterment of others. Aristotle said that where the needs of the world and your talents cross, therein lies your vocation. Our ultimate happiness is connected less to making wads of money and related more to cooperating with our divine calling. We can also expect to undergo some suffering in living out our destiny, but the price is worth paying. As the corporate mystic, Elbert Hubbard, reminds us: "God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas - but for scars." I anticipate that in our final performance review we will be compensated copiously.

Finding one's vocation is not an easy task, so here are some helpful hints from a former monk to serve as a guide:

  1. Pay attention to things that you naturally do well, skills for which you've received no particular training. These "charisms", gifts from the gods, serve as an indicator for your future role in the world;

  2. Give closer scrutiny to childhood memories. At an early age, well before parents and educators interfered, you intuitively knew why you were here and what you were meant to do. But very quickly it got socialized out. This wisdom is never lost, just stored in your soul for future reference and recall;

  3. Listen to your dreams. Write them down and host a dialogue with them regularly. Angels are sent nightly to reveal divine wishes, offer counsel for personal decisions and provide preparation for pending challenges. Spend time improving your skill set for dealing with the sacred realm of the night;

  4. Understand that luck and serendipity are intentional events that are sent for encouragement, insuring that you continue to show up and cooperate with a divine master plan;

  5. Strengthen your interior life. Spend ten minutes a day in silent reflection. No prayer is required; no mantra needs recitation. Simply sit in silence and listen to your lungs breath and your heart beat. Wisdom will be dispensed, the work of your life will be revealed and your vocation will slowly be made manifest.

Some Strange Parallels

Years ago, when I left the monastery and returned to the world, I was looking for a job and seeking a spouse at the same time. These two searches curiously seemed to have much in common and the lessons I learned then seem to still apply today.

  1. In both venues, we are well advised to dress impeccably, put our best foot forward and intentionally misrepresent the facts about who we really are. This bolsters the odds of improving our standing in the community as well as garnishing a better future;

  2. Someone once told me that the closest we get to being godlike in this lifetime is on our resume. From what I can tell, this falsification of our true identity, professionally and personally, continues to remain a viable strategy for getting both jobs and spouses. Unfortunately, the likelihood of staying with one job for your lifetime seems to be statistically less likely than keeping the vows of your first marriage intact;

  3. Showing good form continues to win out in dealing with both prospective employers and potential mates. On the first meeting, good hygiene matters. Also, as Bill Clinton reminds us, taking advantage of the other person simply because you can has a way of hurting both your job and marriage prospects;

  4. Surprisingly, keeping your mouth shut and listening on a regular basis makes the other person experience you as a strong communicator;

  5. Lastly, before getting into bed with anyone (literally or figuratively) make sure you protect yourself. Failure to do so leaves you legally and/or physically at risk.

And for God's sake, when consummating a deal stay away from self-enhancing drugs. Regardless of what Bob Dole tells you, it's likely to compromise your on-the-job performance.

P.S. If you're thinking about writing me, give in to the temptation. I love getting mail ... and being influenced by what you have to say. Please E-mail me at

Kenny Moore is co-author of "The CEO and the Monk: One Company's Journey to Profit and Purpose" (John Wiley and Sons, 2004), rated as one of the Top Ten best selling business books on He is Corporate Ombudsman and Human Resources Director at a New York City Fortune 500 energy company. Reporting to the C.E.O., he is primarily responsible for awakening joy, meaning and commitment in the workplace. While these efforts have largely been met with skepticism, he remains eternally optimistic of their future viability.

Kenny has over 20 years experience with change management, leadership development and healing the corporate community. He's been profiled on CBS Sunday Morning News, and interviewed by Tom Peters, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company magazine regarding his unique leadership style. His business practices are based on Louie Armstrong who said: "I am here in the service of Happiness." Louis died a rich and beloved man; his voice still rings in the ears (and hearts) of millions. Kenny is the recipient of Notre Dame University's 2006 "Hesburg Award" for his significant contribution to the field of business ethics.

Prior to his work in corporate America, Kenny spent 15 years in a monastic community as a Catholic priest. Several years ago, he had the good fortune of being diagnosed with "incurable" cancer, at its most advanced stages. He underwent a year of experimental treatment at the National Cancer Institute and survived. Kenny came away from that experience recalling the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside us." Kenny's lifetime goal is to spend more of his time playing his music. Having dealt with both God and death, Kenny now finds himself eminently qualified to work with senior management on corporate change efforts.

Kenny is a watercolor artist, poet and photographer. He is Founding Director of "Art for the Anawim," a not-for-profit charity which works with the art community in supporting the needs of terminally ill children and the inner city poor. His poems have been published in several anthologies; one was selected as a semi-finalist in the North American Open Poetry Contest. Kenny lives in Totowa, NJ and is married to the "fair and beautiful" Cynthia. Together, they are fighting a losing battle of maintaining their mental stability while raising 2 growing boys.

Kenny can be reached at or (973) 956-8210

(Kenny is also a regular contributor to The CEO Refresher. He has the distinction of having the longest bio we have published as it is, in and of itself, a truly wonderful and inspirational story of a man on a most mindful mission. Thanks Kenny. ed.)

Many more articles in Personal Development in The CEO Refresher


Copyright 2006 by Kenny Moore. All rights reserved.

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