Sarah Blake LaRose (3kitties) wrote,
Sarah Blake LaRose

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finishing the semester and getting started with job applications

Yesterday, I turned in my last book review. So now I just have one more Hebrew chapter to translate, and I have to show up for two more weeks of class discussions. Well, I do have chapters to read and quizzes to take for my leadership class and some field hours left to do. I might actually be able to get it done meaningfully... Then I will move into the summer rouitne of internship and Greek, which I suspect will be more manageable. And somehow, I have a clean house on top of all this! Ideally, I would like to maintain that. It makes me feel good, and I could have guests in...

I have officially sent my resume off for a part-time position as associate pastor of Christian education and outreach at a sort of local church. It is in the next town, which is really sort of across the street and down the road a couple of minutes--down the road far enough to finish Anderson and get to Chesterfield. There is no country in between. But it is a different taxi zone, and the fare is outrageous. We will see what happens... The focus is children and families. I was looking for something focusing on adults; but those positions are very hard to find. I do have some experience with children; and I am open to something different. So we will see how the process goes. I may end up having to do this several times before I find anything--and I may end up finding that it is time to go to doctoral school if the process goes on too long.

Putting my resume together was interesting. In the past, my resume has been designed to show that I have some kind of employment history and leadership skills. It really had no focus other than disability leadership skills since that was where my volunteer experience had been. My employment has been in various kinds of jobs: clerical positions at the Commission for the Blind, note-taking at the university, clerical work at the university, summer camp work, child care work, technical writing work... It wouldn't really make me stand out in any way to an employer as being capable of doing their particular job or having particular skills they wanted--I didn't stay at any of those jobs long enough to build special skills, certifications, etc.

When i started putting this resume together, I left off the unrelated job experience and asked myself, "What is ministry, and what experience do I have in that area, paid or otherwise?" It led me to include my teaching assistantship, my experience as an adult Sunday school teacher, child care ministry, work with youth choir, and some of my traveling music ministry and online work with groups which resembles work with support group ministry and interfaith dialogue... I had forgotten some things that I realized would probably be important, like the fact that before the Internet ever existed I was appointed as one of three leaders on the religion and ethics forum for a national online service. The leaders were specifically chosen to represent various faiths; and we worked extremely well together and even hosted a number of interfaith chat sessions. It was a very positive experience and was my first taste of what interfaith dialogue should look like. Most people were very respectful of each other, asked questions appropriately, and didn't make fun of other people's naivete. That has shaped my thinking and my approach toward discussions; and I am having to learn to see that everyone in the world may not view me as open-minded but that doesn't necessarily define the truth. Sometimes the problem is me, and sometimes the problem is the other person... I have let myself be defined too much by other people's opinions of me in the name of being "open-minded" or "receptive to criticism." I need to find a healthier balance...

Examining my teaching experience, I realized that I come into ministry with a unique perspective. I didn't include on my resume the fact that I participated in nursing home visitation for three years as an adolescent. It would be something that employers might tend to overlook; but it was a very formative experience for me. Mom and I had a group of three or four ladies whom we visited regularly; and a couple of them died after we had been going for a while... The fact that we became so well acquainted with them allowed me to come to know them as people of great faith. Their deaths affected me profoundly, just as did the deaths of elderly ladies who were close to me in my own church. I have also had numerous years of child care experience with children of all ages, worked with youth in both the church environment and secular camps; and taught adults of extremely diverse backgrounds in both the church and the seminary environment. In my adult classes, my students have ranged in age from 20 to 80--one of my Sunday school class members is a very prominent retired missionary. This all gives me a very unique perspective on faith development to take into any ministry setting. It certainly gives me something different to aim for with children and families! Perhaps a church might see this as an advantage...

In any case, I can see how a resume like this is much more unified than what I was working with before seminary. It might make a difference. I always thought that it was not helpful for me to present a resume that had such little focus; and one of the things I kept saying to various people who encouraged me to "just get a job" was that I needed to define some sort of trajectory and start getting jobs that would help me move in that direction. I am somewhat excited to see what happens with this...

In the meantime, while I am not working--or while I am working part-time--I will continue to improve my Hebrew and Greek skills and work on additional research projects that may lead to publication opportunities. I can certainly continue to do itinerant work. I have also been encouraged to develop a course on disabilities to offer through the seminary in the spring as an adjunct professor. There is an option to cross-list the course through another department and allow undergraduates to take it as well. I'm considering calling it "disability in church and community" and perhaps listing it through the social work department. I haven't decided yet.


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