Life after Moody
- August 4, 2017
Transitioning from college to career
Alumni Todd Berge, Sarah Landino, Shawn Proctor, Pam MacRae, and Brian Ondracek
share insights from the job hunt.
Sarah (McLaughlin ’07) Ladino never expected to be teaching English at a secular college. Brian Ondracek ’79 had no idea God would use his pastoral training from Moody in a publishing career. Shawn Procter ’08 didn’t know he’d serve as a waiter for a few years before eventually becoming program director of GRIP, an outreach in Chicago public schools. Yet all of them are now convinced that God used their Moody education and experiences to lead them into their current work.
“I love how the Holy Spirit knows what He’s doing. So don’t get stressed out,” said Shawn, one of several alumni who spoke to current students at a Life after Moody dinner and panel discussion hosted by the Alumni Association on April 6, 2017. Students joined alumni at tables represented by youth ministry, social work and counseling, and TESOL and missions.
Finding Your Future
Shifting from college life to a career or ministry can be intimidating and uncertain. Consider these answers to common questions from alumni who made the transition.
What was your biggest challenge in finding a job?
Anginette Fullerton ’16, with a BA in Ministry to Women, says, “The biggest challenge for me was not finding a job opening but discerning if I should take it.” While serving as a camp worship leader the summer after graduation, she was offered a position in high-school ministry at The Chapel in Akron, Ohio. “I was hoping for a clear sign from the Lord; He didn’t give me one. What He did give me was the opportunity and desire to fill a need in this ministry.”
For Tyler Joldersma ’16, the biggest challenge was facing rejection. Despite sending out resumes and going to interviews, he didn’t hear back from many employers. “To my wife it seemed like I had gotten another part-time job because I was spending so much time just trying to find one,” he says. Yet, “knowing I had a family to provide for helped me vigorously pursue a career after college.”
How important is networking?
Tyler wanted to work in the marketplace but didn’t know where to start. An alumnus who had graduated a year earlier recommended Enterprise Rent-a-Car. “His reference was my ticket in,” Tyler says.
At Tyler’s first interview, the recruiter said, “I don’t know what it is, but everyone we’ve hired from Moody has done exceptionally well at the company.”
Tyler, who got the job, says, “Though it was a surprise to the recruiter, it was not at all to me.”
How did Moody help prepare you for your work or ministry?
“Moody prepared me to work missionally with people from many different countries,” says Sarah Ladino ’07, who is using her linguistics degree to teach ESL at Truman College in Chicago. “At first I felt guilty for not teaching overseas with a Christian organization. “But God has shown me confidence in Him. My students are from all over the world and from closed countries. I love exactly where I am.”
How can you find a position that suits you best?
Tyler advises getting to know yourself—what motivates you, excites you, and gives you joy. “Think through some of your best memories and greatest accomplishments,” he suggests. “Ask your friends and family questions about yourself. Put all of your discoveries together, find out what that motivating factor is, then find a job that requires it. After that, do everything you can to get that job.”
Sarah, who worked with refugees before getting her current job, says, “You may be looking for your dream job, but it might not be the first job you get. Be a learner. When you’re 35, you’ll most likely be doing something you like better.”
As a student, Pam (Kistler ’79) MacRae ’02 MA heard that Moody was the best Bible college in the world. “I believe that’s true, but when I graduated, I didn’t know I had absorbed this sense of being superior and entitled for God to use me,” she says. Pam got married and thrived as a pastor’s wife, but when her husband, Bob ’75, left the pastorate to work at Moody, she felt sidelined. “The Lord had to work that out of me. He taught me that anything God calls you to do is God’s mercy because you deserve none of it. He doesn’t need you to do His work. So wherever you go, be willing to serve in the lowest spot.”
How did you discover God’s will for your life?
“I didn’t have a five- or ten-year plan,” Sarah says. “I was just taking steps of faith in obedience to what I knew was right in front of me, and following Jesus and the desires God put on my heart. The Lord led me through doors step by step. I’ve been helped by the church and friends who’ve advised me and prayed for me.”
Pam, a Moody professor of pastoral studies, says, “One of the things I loved was studying, so when I had opportunity to go to school, I did. When I eventually was offered this position, I thought, Oh, that was what that was for. Now I look back and every dot’s connected.”
Tyler says, “God has a crazy plan for your life! If you put your all into it, He will do far more than you could ever imagine. I had no idea that our family would grow from three to five by the time I graduated. I had no idea I would find my dream job renting cars all day. I had no idea how hungry the marketplace is for Jesus. God will truly do amazing things if you trust in Him.”
Looking back, what would you tell your college-age self to do?
“Be moldable,” says Brian Ondracek ’79, CEO of Pioneer Clubs Ministries. “After 40 years in business, I’ve learned that change is really good. Don’t hold on to what you think life is supposed to be. We’re here and we’re gone. Lighten up. Build great relationships. Be involved in kingdom work.”
Sarah was an RA while at Moody and wanted everyone on her floor to like her. “I would tell myself to not get so caught up in how I’m perceived by people and to rest in who I am in Christ, whether others appreciate me or not.”
How did you overcome the feelings of being unprepared for your job?
“My first year of full-time ministry has not been the graceful ‘first flight’ I imagined it would be,” Anginette says, “yet Christ has constantly encouraged me with the reminder that He uses weak, unlikely, clumsy, faithful people to do His work.”
Sarah says she felt over-confident when she began nonprofit work after graduation. “But the Lord humbled me; I was in an administrative assistant-type job that I wasn’t that good at. My boss mentored me on how to be a professional; how to respond to emails quickly, for example. I grew through mentorship.”
How would you encourage graduating seniors?
“Have patience and persevere as you transition from college into professional work,” Anginette says. “Call to mind your transitions of the past—and know that your post-college transition will take time and effort. Persist in obeying Christ and hoping in Him, gathering with other Christians, learning and working, failing and growing, because God is the same even if your life is changing and unclear. Keep to the way you’ve been trained, and trust Jesus as always.”
Linda Piepenbrink is managing editor of Moody Alumni News.