Over Educated and Under Employed

After several forays into the Lubbock Texas church market, I am pursuing other options, mostly at the esteemed Texas Tech University. I really do enjoy working with college students and helping them explore and develop during some very important years, so Tech seemed like as good a place as any to continue my job search. So far… I am striking out. Even though I have 5 years of experience in education, four of which were at a liberal arts college in Colorado, I can’t seem to make much of a splash in the hiring/ gene-pool. The problem is that my Master’s Degree is relatively worthless. Don’t get me wrong, the breadth and depth of my MDiv program from George Fox Seminary was great and certainly applicable to a wide variety of situations. The problem is that outside the church, the Master’s of Divinity is a non-issue because nobody knows what it is. In fact, the moment they catch the whiff of churchy-ness, the degree seems to become even more suspect. The fact of the matter is that the quality and qualifications of a person holding an MDiv are somewhat irrelevant because it appears to be such a specialized degree and is perceived to be nothing more than a vestigial novelty to those outside the Christian universe. This is particularly annoying to me because I worked my tail off and got a 4.0. Yes, there are many specialized degrees out there, but the MDiv is not like a JD or RN degree; it’s far worse, for even in those contexts a person with said degree can get hired at any firm or healthcare network regardless of what they believe or what their denominational background is. Not so in the church world. I have learned the hard way that most churches and campus ministries only list the MDiv requirement as a formality. They don’t really care about your degree or your GPA, extracurricular activities etc. All they really want is someone who grew up and is dyed in the wool from the same denomination, who will tote the party line, never challenge them and who thinks exactly like they do. Frankly, I am sick of the little church-world. Apparently I am not worthy to work in it, and the MDiv does not compute anywhere else. At least I have my student loans to keep me company. Thanks, seminary.

-CL

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About C_Lambeth

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. I graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor's of Science and from George Fox Seminary (now Portland Seminary) with a Master's of Divinity. In addition to knowing Christ and helping others know him, I am passionate about peace, the environment, Christian feminism, justice for all (not just the wealthy) and being a lifelong learner. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts here or to suggest new posts altogether. Thank you for reading me! -CL
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3 Responses to Over Educated and Under Employed

  1. Arthur says:

    I think you may have been knocking on the wrong church doors in Lubbock. We will have to have lunch sometime and see where you might be not just acceptable; but valued and sought after.

  2. c_lambeth says:

    Thanks for your encouragement, Mr. Pare.
    I have been annoyed by several recent job searches in the local community, but I have to realize that this is probably not that unusual. It takes awhile to find a good fit, especially when one is limited to a specific geographical region. We are here for at least 2 years so my wife can finish her Master’s Degree, but I think I could find a position if I did a national search. A large part of the problem seems to be that there just haven’t been many church leadership positions open here in Lubbock. The two that I found did not like some of the things I feel passionate about. I am open to dissenting opinions, and I certainly wouldn’t attempt to force my perspective on anyone, but neither can I try to represent myself as something that I am not. Even though I am somewhat flexible, this was enough for a rejection in the applicant pool. Truth be told however, it was better to find out when I did lest they hire me only to run into a major catastrophe later down the road. It’s still disappointing, but rejection is always difficult.

    To come full circle, I would love to hear about your experiences with the local faith community and hear of some church recommendations. In the meantime, I seem to have been graced with an excellent position at a printing house at the university and a supervisor who cares, knows his business well and takes time vetting his recent hires.

    Thank you for making contact,
    -CL

  3. C_Lambeth says:

    Update: The Baptist Student Ministry has graciously decided to give me an opportunity. I am SO thankful for their willingness to let me partner with them! Thank you!

    -CL

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