Found in translation

It No Longer Takes decades of life in the working world for most people to see the full range employment highs and lows. From first-job joy, to overwork or underemployment, to suddenly being made redundant or sacked (the British say "laid off" so colorfully), to ready to give up the search.

My guess is, if you're out of work—or questioning the meaning of cubicle life, or retirement—you might find it cold comfort to be told, "Hey, God always has work for you." Or, "It's really not about having a job, but about being what God made you to be." As otherworldly as those lines can sound at times, I've had opportunities to squeeze some truth out of them.

My own calendar-quote-of-the-day truism? "Your only real job, ever, is translator." Several years ago I was laid off as the result of a reorganization. I was clueless about what to do next. Pound the bricks? Change careers? What I did have was a sunny front porch and a chair (and, OK, a supportive wife who still had a job). That porch proved to be a perfect place for thinking and praying. Early on that summer, a thought came with force: This is your work. Do it.

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April 5, 2004

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