Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership
The Journeyman Career Path: ComfortableBy Evan Nehring
Of the career paths--servant, apprentice, journeyman, and master--journeyman is the third.
This is the least known of these terms. Journeymen are associated mainly with building trades, but the term is useful to show another level on our career paths. Dictionary.com defines journeyman like this:
- a person who has served an apprenticeship at a trade or handicraft and is certified to work at it assisting or under another person.
- any experienced, competent but routine worker or performer.
So a journeyman is a fully trained craftsman who labors under a master as they perfect their craft.
In church ministry, I rose quickly to journeyman status. That’s really how it works in a denomination with a Bible College: you graduate fully trained. Fresh out of North Central, I worked as a youth pastor in Stevens Point/Plover, WI. Then even when I went back to school for music, I hit the workforce as a journeyman with my bachelor’s degree in music.
This explains much of the tension and frustration I feel in the workforce now. Without specific certification (until recently) or college training in my field, I have been locked into apprentice status. That’s humbling both in terms of working with management and in terms of the paycheck.
The transition to journeyman happens all the time. I always cheer when I see people going back to school or receiving certifications. They’re doing well for themselves and their families.
It’s so interesting looking back that I was never ordained as a minister. In the Assemblies of God, I requested an ordination application but had just missed that year’s deadline. The next year moved me along somewhere else. And then as a Vineyard minister, I requested entrance to the ordination process. It developed slowly and then I was on another path. It appears mastery would happen elsewhere.
Journeymen familiarly are tradesmen: electricians, masons, plumbers and carpenters. In the corporation, journeymen are managers, directors and the more junior of the executives. They are pastors and evangelists (quite literally), tenured teachers and adjunct professors. They are serviceable professional athletes and musicians.
These are good jobs, career jobs. These are single earner household jobs. The key to the journeyman career path is to grow into your skills and then grow in your skills. Technology is changing how we craft most everything. Young bucks and does coming up through the ranks will push your credibility if you aren't growing as a craftsman.
Hone your craft and never stop growing. It might even lead to mastery.