Conversations with ATX Leaders: Craig Foster
“I feel a little bit like the third little pig” shares Executive Director of Job Seekers Network, Craig Foster. His organization emerged during a previous season of high unemployment rates, during the financial crisis of 2008. A job search framing and networking organization, Job Seekers hosts weekly gatherings, not shifting to weekly Zoom meetings across their network and continuing to provide resources and tools to help people discover something more than a paycheck.
Craig wants people to see their God given gifts and abilities as his organization strives to help both the unemployed and misemployed navigate career, purpose and calling. “75% of your job search is looking internally – looking at your gifts and strengths and knowing your fit. Only 25% is external – your resume and profile.”
“We have seen a 30% increase in job loss within our network from COVID-19 and 12% of those have had their spouse also lose a job. One third are expressing a concern with their ability to cover their basic needs over the next few months.” Still, Craig shares stories of hope in the midst of the struggle, “God gives hope through His presence and His word, but also through our coming together.”
The idea that we are “in this together,” was a pre-pandemic mantra for Job Seekers. When business slowed down for many organizations, Craig noticed leaders seeking opportunities to help or reach out to other companies, offering services for free. These leaders have made a decision to reach out vs. retreat. “God have given us connection to bring value and leadership across our community.”
So many are finding themselves thankful to have a job during this season, and that kind of gratitude goes a long way. The loss of a job is accompanied by its own process of transition or grief. Yet, Craig reminds us that God’s continues to work in and through this difficult time. We might discover that people are actually more open to spiritual conversations during this time.
Craig reflects through a story of a young man that, “Came to us (Job Seekers Network) looking for a job, and end up finding Jesus.”
When asked how Craig filters through the noise in today’s media to share accurate information across his network he shared, “I really like talking to people on the front lines to find out what’s going on.” Utilizing polls on ZOOM to get a pulse on how the Job Seekers Network is doing, Craig also intentionally connects with people on the front lines of hiring, “There are companies that are hiring. We are hearing that 20% of the companies are hiring as normal, 43% are focusing on critical hires, but only 17% are on a hiring freeze, with 7% laying off.”
At ABBA we agree with both the Apostle Paul and Job Seekers Network, you are “God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good work.” After you take moment to listen, grab your Bible and spend some time meditating on one of the verses Craig points us toward, Ephesians 2:10. You will be both enlightened and refreshed through our conversation with Craig and your time in the Word.