"Big Four" Highlights


 

Bring Your Faith to Work

A talk with author of new book on balancing work and home

After a dramatic conversion experience and entering the Catholic Church in 2006, Randy Hain decided to put aside his workaholic ways and balance home life and work. He also decided not to leave his new faith at the office doorway.

In his newly published book, The Catholic Briefcase, Hain draws on his own experience and the expertise of others to guide men in balancing faith and work.

Hain, 45, is the Managing Partner of Bell Oaks Executive Search, a national recruiting firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. He and his wife, Sandra, are married for 17 years and have two sons, ages 14 and 10. Fathers for Good spoke to him about his book, his work and his life of faith.

Fathers for Good: Work Life-Family Balance is becoming a growing topic for men. What is your view?

Hain: I think one of the main reasons people, especially men, struggle with work/family balance is because they have their priorities out of order. One of the key reasons they often have their priorities out of order is they seldom integrate their faith with their work. If we are living out our Catholic faith in all aspects of our lives (as we are called to do), we know that Christ comes first, followed by family and then work.

Too often I see the ongoing struggle in Catholic business people with balancing family and work and our Lord is at best a passing thought. Before I converted to the Catholic Church in 2006, I tried to balance work and family (I had no faith life) and I am ashamed to admit that work often came first. Since my conversion, I have been blessed with a more integrated and balanced life and my priorities are more consistently in order. I have been involved in faith@work ministries for the last five years and have written a number of articles on this often ignored area of our faith journeys. My desire to help my fellow Catholics lead integrated and balanced lives is one of the biggest reasons why I wrote the book.

FFG: Tell us about that the choices you have made in your own life.

Hain: I went through a profound personal conversion in October of 2005 after spending the summer with my wife studying the Catholic faith and meeting with our parish priests as we discerned about joining the Church. I woke up one Sunday in October 2005 feeling lost. I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going. To give you a quick summary, when we arrived at Mass I was sweating, shaking and I was white as a sheet. My wife thought I was having a heart attack. As the Mass began, I remember praying in my mind to Jesus and asking him to lead me. I surrendered and gave up control for the first time in my life. I have never thought or said those words before.

I share that experience with you because prior to that moment, I thought I had all the answers and was in charge of my life. I knew after thinking those words that I needed to put my pride aside and give up control to Christ. After this experience and recognizing that I had committed to put our Lord first in all areas of my life, I began to visualize an “integrated life” where my faith, work and family lives came together, centered in Christ. My commitment to ongoing, daily surrender, quality time with my family, being more intentional about living out my faith at work, daily prayer, weekly eucharistic adoration, writing, speaking and Church ministry work all came out of that initial surrender to Christ.

FFG: What do you want readers to take away from the book?

Hain: I want readers to reflect carefully on the practical lessons offered by the Church and Scripture, the examples of other Catholic business people featured in the book and actions steps offered in each chapter to take the first steps towards leading an integrated life. The book meets you wherever you are on your faith journey and dispels the myth that “faith at work” is about leading a Bible study at lunch or loudly evangelizing co-workers. It is much more simple and practical.

Simply reflecting joy and setting a good example for others can be the first step towards a fuller, richer life where your Catholic faith informs your daily actions in the workplace. We can’t be two-thirds Catholic and ignore the fact that most of us will spend over a one-third of our lives in the workplace. This is an area of our lives that absolutely requires a Catholic perspective and influence.

FFG: What is the first step you recommend for getting in the work-home balance?

Hain: Pray for discernment about where you are in your walk of faith. Start with what you have and grow from there. Maybe the Jesuit Daily Examen is the best first step towards daily prayer for you and I provide a way to do that in the book. Learn to have limits and get your priorities in order. Don’t let technology (smartphones especially) intrude into your family time and recognize that we don’t need to respond to every message and call immediately.

Better work-life balance often starts with saying no to certain things that are invading what needs to be reserved for family time. Make dinner time with family sacred. Most of all, recognize that our vocation is first and foremost to get our families heaven. If work is our priority, we are failing at our vocation.

The Catholic Briefcase is available from Liguori Publications.