This morning I celebrated reading a post on Facebook made by an electronic acquaintance who is in seminary at a school other than my alma mater. I am excited that he has been called to serve the Church in a local parish and that he knows so early in the calendar year. From my thoughts of him my mind wandered to wondering how a dear friend of mine’s job hunt is going. I know that she is extremely capable, but I know she is looking for some particular things geographically and in ministry. She and I are in touch somewhat regularly. She has not mentioned her most recent job prospects in a few weeks, though she will make an excellent priest.
I will not be asking her how it’s going.
She is one of my dearest friends, and I at least tell myself that it’s mutual. She will be reading in my wedding, but I remember all too well the anxiety of last February, March, April, May, June, and July as I had not yet been called to serve somewhere. One of the things that made those months so difficult was that not only am I pretty highly-functioning, but others know it. Because of this far too often people asked, “So do you have a job yet?”
Dear reader (all three of you), this was not helpful. While it may have meant to be encouraging it was received with the expectation that I should already have a job, and yet I did not.
Those closest to me knew all the stress I was feeling and facing, the tears being shed, the sleep being interrupted, the flare-ups and outbursts of anger or sadness, and the anxiety every time my bishop called. Those from whom I needed (and wanted) the most support were well-aware of the situation and updated regularly on group emails about my prospects and texts about let downs.
The GOE has been taken. Candidacy papers are starting to be due, I’m sure. Graduation looms in mid-May for not just seminarians but those in many fields. What I enjoyed much more than a regular barrage of “So do you have a job yet?” was when I could announce good news — making a cut on a process, getting an interview — and people celebrating with me. Alternatively, I appreciated those who mourned with me when I made disappointments public.
In the next few months, whether you’re through the a discernment and education process or finishing up one yourself, don’t ask if people have gotten jobs yet. If you have not been getting updates from them regularly, it does not come across as concern (at least didn’t to me) inasmuch as additional pressure. There’s probably a reason you're having to ask.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, and trust people to share their good news for rejoicing and their bad news for weeping on their timeline.