Unique and effective employment resources.

These help sustain careers & find talent!

Looking for a 'futuristic' career? But look out for 'the robots'!


Looking for a new career, a futuristic one that actually may not be so futuristic?

Here are five new one's I've never heard of: Space Archaeologist, Vertical Farmer, Internet Anthropologist, Space Travel Agent, and Disease Mapper.  However, you're not likely to find them listed in the US Department of Labor's O*NET online system, though there are occupations coming into existence regularly or existing occupations with 'bright' outlooks for the next decade or so.

Read about them here:


You also may want to see something about how technology in the form of 'robots' of all types and sizes are embedded everywhere in our products and services.  There will likely be plenty of opportunities for work keeping them operating, though I doubt that an oil can like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz or Herb  and Rodney Copperbottom in the 2005 animated film Robots will be much used in preparing and maintenance.  Then again...?  NPR has a series running right now that you may want to follow: Robots, automation, and the future of your job.


- Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor

EaRN Work Search Roundtables in GR meet Tuesday & Wednesday


The longest continuously running job club in West Michigan, EaRN Work Search Roundtable, meets on Tuesdays.  Roundtable meets from 8:30 to 10:30 am at the Spring Arbor University Grand Rapids Center in the Executive East Office Building, 1550 East Beltline SE, Suite 230.  An additional Roundtable also meets every other Wednesday at St. Robert of Newminster Catholic Church in Ada.


Spring Arbor University in Grand Rapids has hosted this weekly coaching and support group throughout the past decade, and will continue to do so as Work Search Roundtable has now formally become another activity EaRN Employment and Resource Network. 


Work Search Roundtable was started by EaRN co-founder Ken Soper in the late 90's and has been continuously meeting supporting the work search activity and networking of 1000's of West Michiganders.  In September 2001, right after the 9/11 tragedies, Roundtable went online to expand the reach and connection of those seeking new work and when reemployed to remain employable. The Roundtable online presence continues here at the EaRN website and with a group on LinkedIn, EaRN Work Search Roundtable. 


EaRN Work Search Roundtable at Spring Arbor's Grand Rapids Center is open to the public.  There is a nominal donation requested for each week’s session at the SAU-GR location.  However, for attendees who are coming by referral from EaRN Employment and Resource Network Affiliate organizations, there is no donation expected.  All contributions are tax deductible, however, and help the EaRN through the Roundtable support and encourage current and future job-seekers.


Individuals may register for the Spring Arbor University-hosted weekly event (except those weeks of the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day) by going to, clicking on the calendar date, then the event, and using the “Register Now” function at the bottom of the screen.
Several TV and radio stations as well as The Grand Rapids Press have done reports on this weekly event during the past decade. WOOD-TV 8 did a report on the Work Search Roundtables in early 2009. There’s the link: Networking is the key.
An additional EaRN Work Search Roundtable now meets:
 - WEDNESDAY meeting every other week, 9:30-10:30 am at  St Robert of Newminster Parish, 6477 Ada Dr. SE, Ada, Michigan.  The meeting is in the Parish Adult Lounge. See their site or call them,, (616) 676-9111 for more information, or contact their Career Transition / EaRN Ministry Coordinator, Bill Weitzel, LMSW, (616) 446-1873 (c),
Training is also available to churches and other non-profits interested in learning how to develop, launch and facilitate EaRN Work Search Roundtables as an integral part of building an EaRN Employment and Resource Network ministry and outreach through their churches.

EaRN Affiliate Redeemer Covenant hosted USDOL "Job Clubs Symposium"


The Job Clubs Symposium in West Michigan made front page news in the USDOL newsletter in early March.

March 1 the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted a Job Clubs symposium at EaRN Affiliate Redeemer Covenant Church in Caledonia, Michigan. Community leaders from cities and towns across western Michigan, including Grand Rapids, Holland and Kalamazoo, gathered to discuss how job clubs and other employment support groups are helping Michiganders get back to work. Jay Williams, director of the administration's Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, addressed the audience on his office's role and the successful, ongoing recovery of the auto and manufacturing industries in Michigan.  Local employment and training state and non-profit agencies also shared information and discussed the challenges and opportunities in helping Michiganders find work and stay employable.


The USDOL Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships also posted a slideshow of images from the symposium:

What could I deduct of my job search expenses on my 2011 tax return?


It's that time of year again--filing your 2011 tax return.  What many job seekers don't realize is that some expenses are deductible, really--with some "qualifiers."

Unfortunately those deductions only apply to work searching in your current profession. It doesn't make much sense in an era when so many people have to change occupations, but if you’re switching careers, work search expenses looking for work in that new career are not permitted. And to add to the illogic, first-time job seekers are shut out of any, repeat any of the deductions, and those with a “substantial break” between their last job and current job, the IRS does not permit deductions. And to top it all off, they don’t detail what it means by a “substantial break."


If you're looking to get all the deductions you can, you may want to read this recent article and check with the IRS website.


Forbes article:


IRS link:,,id=210523,00.html

Do you "follow the rules"?


I've begun to read John Maxwell's blog.  He recently wrote about "Six Simple Rules for Life". I found I resonated with them. And I got to thinking, "what rules do I live by, and what work best for those who are seeking new work or career directions?"  I immediately thought of my Big 2.


1) Be proactive, not reactive, in looking for work or making a career change or choice.  Too often we fall into the habit of doing nothing, expecting the opportunities will fall from the sky into our laps, or that God will strike us with a lightening bolt to tell us what to do.


I don't think He works that way.  Rather as Christian philosopher Lee Hardy states, "...discovering God's will for one's life [i.e. calling] is not so much a matter of seeking miraculous signs and wonders as it is being attentive to who and where we are.  It is not as if our abilities, concerns, and interests are just there, as an accident of nature, and then God has to intervene in some special way [falling chunks of sky or bolts of lightening] in order to make his will known to us in a completely unrelated manner.  Rather, in making a career choice, we ought to take seriously the doctrine of divine providence: God himself gives us whatever legitimate abilities, concerns, and interests we in fact possess.  These are his gifts, and for that very reason they can serve as indicators of his will for our lives.  In coming to know ourselves and our situation, we come to know God's will."


Consequently, a planning method is helpful, keeping in mind that plans seldom work out in the manner in which they were set, but that the planning helps the decision making process immensely.  Those who access this EaRN website will find a career planning process, assessments and activities that promote proactivity, not reactivity, as a principle or rule.  Remember, even not choosing is a choice.


2) Follow the Golden Rule.  This is for me a mantra, a refrain, a way of living and going about my daily activities.  This rule, in my opinion, is most clearly articulated and embodied in Jesus' words which I often quote, "do for others as you would have them do for you, for this [rule] fulfills all the Law [the 10 Commandments and the related hundreds of regulations for daily life given to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai] and the Prophets [who came after pointing to the Law, its inability to help us, only condemn for not meeting the Law's requirements, and the need for repentance for such 'self-referentialness'--our sinfulness]."  Jesus embodies the command for He follows it to sacrifice Himself and in so doing take on the judgment  we all deserve.  His sacrifice makes it possible for me and you to be "...a living sacrifice..." if we accept by faith Jesus' redeeming act.


These two help me "stay on course."  What are the rules or principles you live by?  And are you taking an approach in looking for work and career fields where you can live them out?


Check out Maxwell's 6 rules.  Maybe you too will resonate with them.  And think about what rules you've chosen to live by.