What Your Car Might Tell Others About Your Faith

Imagine your next job interview taking place in your car instead of in a sterile office.  Some companies today are turning to alternative techniques for job interviews in the hope of uncovering different sides of a candidate’s personality or set of habits.  Some companies prefer to meet for lunch in the hope of learning about a person’s social skills.  Others opt for a discussion in the car during a drive around the block.  The thinking is that a person who didn’t bother to clean out his car might not have the professionalism to cut it in the workplace.

Kind of makes you want to take a look at your wheels, doesn’t it?  What is your car saying about you right now?  I know that my car, a 10 year old Camry, probably says that I’m a suburbanite and middle-of-the-road kind of guy.  That’s pretty accurate.  A look inside would tell you that I enjoy mystery novels on tape, that I have a toddler due to a spare car seat and that I wear sports coats as revealed by an extra hanger.  And yes, I use Armor-All on occasion.

The next time you park the car at the local market, take a look around.  What do you see and what are  cars telling you about their owners?  This is pure exercise of course as it leans towards judgementalism but it’s still revealing.  The fact is that our space and our things tell others a great deal about who we are.  As does our work.

Workplace interviewers have learned that a person’s stewardship of their automobile reveals far more than the make of the ride.  They’ve realized, without even knowing it, that work taps into something spiritual, something that cannot be easily measured.  And they’re right.

Our own tradition says much about work.  Consider the words of Pope John Paul II from his 1981 letter, “Through work man must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family.” (Laborem Exercens)  What the Holy Father was saying is twofold:

  • I work to earn a living so as to sustain my family.

  • I work so as to make a difference in the world.

This is a serious and truly urgent message for everyone who works, whether in or outside of the home.  It’s also vital in an age of bailouts and buyouts.  My wife, who works as a stay-at-home mother, is the glue of our family and keeps everything running smoothly.  She earns no salary but works more than most people I know.  She’s making a difference in the lives of our children every day.

I’d like to think that I am doing the same although in a different context.  My to-do list, daily calendar and attention to detail all reveal something about me.  And that’s what interviewers have discovered too.  The next time you prepare for an interview, be sure to say some prayers, brush up your resume and while you’re at it, run a vacuum over the back seat.

*Photo by GMEurope
This post also appeared at CatholicExchange.com