God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
–Reinhold Niebuhr, 1943
The preceding passage, commonly known as the Serenity Prayer, was in the signature line of an email that I received today. The prayer is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr although it is believed to have origins before appearing in Niebuhr’s sermon in 1943. As I read the quote I thought it is a very good piece of advice for those who are in a career search.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”
As we apply and interview for job opportunities, we quickly come to understand there are things we can and cannot change. For example, as in my work with students and entry-level applicants, they will sometimes cite a weak GPA or lack of experience as reasons for not obtaining job interviews. While this is probably accurate, it does no good for us to dwell on this issue as we cannot change the past.
I remember working with an MS Accountancy candidate a few years back who had a very poor GPA from his undergraduate institution. In our initial meetings he mentioned his grades from his previous school and stated they were in the past and there was nothing he could do now to change them. He did communicate the lessons he learned from his past and his plans for the future. The student had accepted the things he could not change.
What are the items in your job search that you cannot change? Maybe your need to be in a specific geographic location limits the number employer options? Were you fired from your last position? Is your work experience in a different field than the one you are targeting? You cannot undo or redo your past – may God grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change.
Tomorrow – have the courage to change the things you can.