Finding God in the Workplace
An Interview With Author and Businessman Randy Hain
"It was not until I entered the Catholic Church at 40, after 23 years of no faith, that I surrendered to Christ and needed to share my experience," explained Randy Hain, a partner at Bell Oaks Executive Search in Atlanta. His conversion inspired him to write.
He recently released his fourth book, Landed! Proven Job Search Strategies for Today’s Professional. Hain has been with Bell Oaks for 14 years; he has also trained and recruited with Waffle House.
Referring to Landed, Hain explained, "I know what job markets are like. I draw on experience. I see it as a road map. It’s a book in which college graduates and those nearing retirement will find value. It’s also for those considering job change. College students really like it."
He considers faith an essential ingredient to job-hunting: "I advise people to be praying throughout the job search, going to daily Mass for comfort and peace as a struggling job-seeker. The priorities should be God, family, then work."
In light of today’s economy, Hain spoke of the challenges facing job candidates.
"Job-hunting is both easy and complex," he said. "Technology has accelerated the process. LinkedIn is a valuable social tool; it’s a big paradigm shift. There is a huge hidden job market: In Atlanta, 80% of my jobs are confidential, not posted on the Internet. It’s harder than ever for candidates, unless they’re networking; people need relationships."
Continuing on the subject of the economy, Hain commented, "It’s bleaker than the job statistics [indicate]. We have lots of underemployed people; it’s worse than what we’re seeing [reported]."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 350,000 people dropped out of the workforce, yet the December unemployment rate was 6.7%, down from 7% in November. Those who are underemployed or are no longer looking for work go uncounted. The real unemployment rate is higher, especially among minorities, and Hain’s book intends to help the millions whom this economy has hurt.
Hain dedicated his book to St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers. "St. Joseph is a role model, especially for men as husbands and fathers. He taught Jesus to be a carpenter in his workshop. He accepted Mary. He was a man of strength, courage and conviction. He was a hard worker who trusted in God." Hain is currently writing a new book called Journey to Heaven: Road Map for Men, with a chapter on courage and St. Joseph.
Hain believes in the dignity of work, saying that it has been challenged by profits taking priority over people. He said, "There are good companies like Chick-fil-A [based in Atlanta] that take good care of people, and very few people leave." Hain also noted the example of Hobby Lobby, saying, "They’ve filed a lawsuit over the HHS mandate. They’re standing up for what they believe in. They’re believing Christians, and I respect them."
The dignity of work is important to Hain. He cited Blessed John Paul II, who issued the 1981 encyclical Laborem Exercens on work. The Holy Father taught that work allows man to reflect God’s image: "Man, created in the image of God, shares by his work in the activity of the Creator." John Paul II also denounced the exploitation of workers. He spoke of Genesis as the "first gospel of work" and how work was made for man, rather than the other way around. The late Holy Father holds up Jesus as the worker par excellence: "He who proclaimed it (the gospel of work) was himself a man of work, a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth."
Hain also commented on Pope Francis’ view of economics: "He’s been labeled a socialist, but that’s ridiculous. He’s talking about care for the poor and to approach with love the least of us. He is Christ to others; he kisses the deformed, embraces those in wheelchairs and washed the feet of teenage prisoners."
For Hain, it is important for capitalism to have a human face. "If you look at it academically, the free market doesn’t need morality, but from the human standpoint, the free market doesn’t survive without morality: The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. There’s a call for capitalism to have responsibility for the least of our brothers."
Hain sees the workplace as a venue for sharing his faith. "Catholicism is incredibly vibrant in the Southeast; everybody talks about faith. You may say I’m outspoken, but I try to exude joy. People ask me why I am so happy, and I speak about my faith. The best way is to convert their hearts."
His faith also fuels his work with IntegratedCatholicLife.org, which currently has 2.3 million unique visitors. Hain summed up Integrated Catholic Life’s mission by saying, "It’s about making Christ the center of your life and living the faith in the everyday."
Hain hopes his work-related writing will be a source of inspiration and help to people, especially youth: "They have to be the light of Christ and stand up for what is right, loving and serving others."
For Hain, the foremost virtue for work and everything else is integrity. "From the workplace perspective, integrity (and honesty) is the most important virtue," he said. "If you’re a job-seeker, being open and honest works."
Anna Abbott writes
from Napa, California.