Back to Links Back to Kick-Ass Content
The Spiritual ChicksSM in the News
The Denver Post, Sunday, February 10, 2002
Reprinted with the permission of the author
The spiritual job search
Americans are turning within for career guidance
many Americans, Marla Konowitch lost her job soon after Sept. 11. But the
40-year-old Boulder resident didn't immediately set out to find a new
career. Instead of frantically sending out resumes and cover letters,
Konowitch concentrated on her chakras.
right. By clearing and aligning her chakras - according to Hindu
tradition, seven energy centers in the body - with the energetic forces
that make everything in life possible, she believes she will be able to
discern what career she really wants and find her best fit in the work
the thought of using ancient Hindu wisdom instead of hotjobs.com to find a
livelihood sounds a bit "out there," it shouldn't. "People
breathe a sigh of relief when I explain that this work is not about
chakras, it is about you," says Rick Jarow, author and creator of the
"Ultimate Anti-Career Guide" workshops.
a time when every morning's business section announces layoffs, and faith
- especially in the economy - is shaky, growing numbers of Americans are
turning within for answers. Instead of visiting employment counselors,
they're hiring spiritual coaches and attending workshops like Jarow's in
order to find new jobs.
spiritual job search may be the perfect match for those frustrated by the
recent job market. "When people are in a job search and they hit a
wall with traditional approaches, it's a particularly good time to open up
to meditation, transformation and spirituality," notes Allie Roth, a
New York City-based holistic counselor who has worked with Jarow in the
spiritual job search begins with nurturing your soul, reminding yourself
who you are. That's what makes you feel good, makes you feel like you have
control, rather than feeling like a victim."
spiritual approach, say holistic counselors, helps clients think outside
the box and take into account experience that doesn't appear on their
resume. "There's nothing that doesn't apply," says Tami
Coyne, New York
City-based author and spiritual job counselor. "Any skill you have
applies to the workplace."
she says, is a prime example of experience commonly left off a resume but
which involves marketable skills such as time management, conflict
resolution and delegating responsibility.
Raymond, executive editor of Spirituality.com, sees more and more victims
of layoffs and the recession combining spirituality with their job
hunting. "We have over 150 articles by people who have turned to
spiritual means, including building spiritual resumes."
Kieves of Awakening Artistry, a Denver-based coach and author who left a
successful law practice to pursue her dream of writing, believes once
people see the value of spiritual job-seeking, they'll make it a part of
now, it would seem weird if you meditated before a job interview, but in
the future it will seem weird that you didn't," says Kieves, author
of "This Time I Dance! Trusting the Journey of Creating the Work You
Love / How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All." (Awakening
Artistry Press, 2002.)
show that books, travel and music related to spirituality and religion
make up a $40 billion industry. Take a look at the career section of your
local bookstore and you'll find titles like: "An Inside Job: A
Spiritual Approach to Finding Your Right Work" (Unity, 1999).
employment coach Suzanne Bourland Simpson, who uses Christian scripture
and visualization techniques in her practice, saw an increase in calls
immediately after Sept. 11. Laurence Boldt, author of "How to Be, Do
or Have Anything" (Ten Speed Press, 2000) and "Zen and the Art
of Making a Living" (Penguin, 1999), who advertises holistic
counseling on his website, has received more than 600 inquiries in less
than six weeks.
works. It works," affirms Carolyn McDonough, who has worked with both
Roth and Jarow. After suffering from a life-threatening illness, McDonough
consulted with Roth, who helped her turn her own healing experience into
an online meditation and wellness exchange. Boldt estimates as many as 85
percent of his clients have success stories like McDonough's. But don't
think the spiritual job search is all about chanting and waiting around in
the lotus position. "It's not sitting on a mountain and just
visualizing success," says Roth. "It is about taking action, but
taking action from center, from who you are."
who received Jarow's "Anti-Career" tapes as a gift a few years
ago, admits that when she first listened to the program, it seemed a
little far-fetched. But after being laid off from her job of 14 years with
Continental Airlines, she took a second look.
many people out of work went like banshees to find a new job, and it's
hard in this society to take a break without people looking at you with
their own fear," she says. "It's really hard. Every once in a
while I'll panic and think, "I need to go be a Realtor.' But that's
not what I want to do."
an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Vassar College,
began doing his Anti-Career workshops in 1988, just before the recession
of the early '90s. He had noticed that people were developing rich inner
lives that weren't carrying over to their work lives. He developed the
program to help people find their true calling, the work they love, not
just the next bullet point on their resume.
economy will always go through cycles, but we have something in us that is
greater than that and that wants to be more than a servant to faceless
one is just looking for a job, that is tantamount to going through the
bazaar with your begging bowl, your diploma, as so many people are doing
in this job market. It demeans the spirit. So the first question is, what
will make it all right for me, what is important, what do I need to do
with my life?"
believes the tapes have supported her decision to be patient and look for
the job she really loves. Prior to Sept. 11, she noticed a disconnect
between her work life and her more spiritually developed life away from
work, and began attending meditation retreats and doing coursework in
hakomi, body-centered psychotherapy. Since her job loss, she has deepened
her meditation practice, is taking courses in holistic leadership and is
waiting for a position that will help her combine her extensive work
experience with her interests.
to go this direction with tapes and chakras isn't mainstream, but I didn't
want to go to a career counselor and take an assessment test . . . the
same route everyone else goes. These tapes give me the courage to forge my
that's a good attitude to have, says Roth.
people come from fear that there is nothing out there, that the economy is
terrible, that there are no jobs, they aren't going to see the whole
the traditional job search, the holistic approach can take several months.
Unlike the traditional job search, however, it involves a lot of inner
is not an airy-fairy process," notes Jarow. "We are hard-headed
and practical, but also visionary and spiritual. That is why we work with
the principle of "alignment,' work on the whole person - sense of
self, relationships, focus, network, vision, sense of where you belong,
and the market as well."
And that's work Konowitch is willing to undertake. "I've done a lot more personal work since the first time I tried the program. It takes a lot of discipline and work. It's hard, but I'm willing to do it because I believe it's going to ultimately fulfill me."
particular, she finds working with the second chakra to be a big help in
her pursuit of a career. "The second chakra is a lot about
self-esteem. When you find yourself out of a routine and not working, the
whole world feels a little unstable. Doing the work helps me realize that
I really can go out into the world and explore what I want to do."
while she is sending out resumes and pursuing interviews, Marla sees the
real progress as being more personal than professional.
progress in this program is not linear, it's not conventional. It's more
about an internal feeling of happiness, contentment and freedom. The
temptation is to measure it by dollars or more conventional methods of
success, and this is trying to look at it from a different way."
that's exactly why books such as Boldt's "Zen and the Art of Making a
Living" are being used by academic institutions. According to Stacy
Geck, assistant professor of clinical at the University of Southern
California's Marshall School of Business, Boldt's book was included on the
syllabus for her class because "The book offers business students a
challenge to think of their career path from a different angle: spiritual
rather than just financial."
day is the right day to do it," says Coyne."
"You can't blame terrorists or the Fed for not doing what you really
want to do. That doesn't mean you shouldn't support yourself.
would be foolish to counsel somebody to not make ends meet. But you can
become really depressed if you think you have to take something,
Copyright (c) 2002, Ellen Leventry
Copyright (c) 2002, Ellen Leventry