What’s in your briefcase?

Randy Hain asks this thoughtful question as the premise of his new book, The Catholic Briefcase. Instead of simply answering, “a fountain pen, a motivational book, a calculator and important papers,” readers should consider those intangible qualities they bring with them every day to the office- their virtues and most importantly their Catholic faith. (Mechanics, carpenters and other tradesmen never fear-this book is easily adaptable to your toolbox as well!)

Hain asks, in his opening chapter, a question that is relevant to every Catholic who works for a living – How can one possibly separate his spiritual life from his physical body and what it does for a living?  Then he answers: One can’t and shouldn’t separate the two. However, as Hain points out, bringing faith to the workplace is not what a lot of people might think it is.

“In my professional life,” Hain writes, “I encounter scores of business men and women who incorrectly perceive faith at work as leading bible studies in the break room over lunch or loudly evangelizing coworkers.  It rarely occurs to us to think about our own faith journeys, the example we set for others and the Christ-inspired joy we should radiate as the most effective ways to share our faith. Letting others see Jesus Christ in us is a powerful form of witness that will draw in others who want what we have in our lives.”

With that, Hain opens The Catholic Briefcase to reveal important tools for success in work on earth and a path clearly set toward heaven. He notes, “We live in difficult, trying times.  Families are under attack, our children are at risk, many people are blind to the need to respect and value all life and atheists are among the fastest growing groups in the world.  We have an opportunity, especially in the workplace, to be beacons of light and good examples of Christ’s redeeming love.  We will be judged in Heaven one day on the fruits of our apostolate and we hope to hear our Lord say the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

In The Catholic Briefcase, Hain defines what living one’s faith in the workplace is and then addresses some real and perceived obstacles that individuals may face. He offers tangible solutions for overcoming these challenges and he also offers compelling, real-life examples. In The Catholic Briefcase readers will learn:

  • The role of networking in a Catholic business person’s life.
  • How to create respites of time, which are necessary for prayer and focus.
  • The four stages of a prayer journey and how to make the most of each one.
  • Five powerful words that will serve as a catalyst for helping others and ultimately the reader himself the way early Christian predecessors did.
  • Ten actions to demonstrate love – (yes you read that right) in the workplace.
  • Practical ideas for integrating Catholic stewardship into one’s work life.
  • Five ways to overcome fear of what others may think.
  • How to be courageous, humble, devoted and joyful in the workplace.
  • How to “start with the end” to achieve maximum success in work, life and faith.

Some chapters in The Catholic Briefcase begin with stories of real Catholic business people who are living their faith, and offer snippets of their everyday lives. Readers quickly relate to Jennifer B., a young professional who worked for Merrill Lynch, Terry T., who is Vice President of Customer Experience for a national company that delivers integrated packages of communications and IT services to thousands of small businesses throughout the U.S., and David M., senior leader of a company that provides software and services to consumer lending organizations throughout North America and the United Kingdom, among others.  These successful leaders have learned how to be fully integrated Catholics despite hectic business meetings, crazy schedules and pursuit of excellence in their business endeavors. Readers glean tips from these exemplary people, and easily find that their tricks for living a faithful life can easily be adapted to fit into the readers’ own circumstances.

In The Catholic Briefcase, readers will consider the difference between a job and a vocation and learn how to enjoy quality time with loved ones during off-work hours, which can actually increase productivity at work. They will find an appendix of helpful resource links and websites, recommended reading for further exploration and study, carefully selected quotes from Church documents and saints, and a daily examen to help them evaluate their own circumstances, strengths and weaknesses.  The Catholic Briefcase also offers a special section for those currently searching for a job, and offers practical suggestions related to employment seeking.

The Catholic Briefcase author, Randy Hain, is managing partner of a successful executive search firm in Atlanta, and the information and ideas he offers in this businessman (and woman’s) treasure trove is consequently on-target, highly practical and relevant. Relying on years of experience in the professional world, and a broad base of knowledge about many different careers, he reveals strategies to grow in and share the faith while on the job. His style is conversational and easy-to-read.

Many books have been written about business. Numerous have been written about the Christian Catholic faith. Few books, however, combine the two topics as well as Hain’s debut book, which comes fully foot-noted and with questions at the end of each chapter for group discussion.  Recent statistics indicate that the number of Catholics in the world is up from 2009 to 1.18 billion. [i] It’s high time that a book like this is written for working people who want to live a fully faith-filled life.

The Catholic Briefcase is a five star book for those who want to take their faith and evangelization to the next level. Pop it in your own briefcase on your personal road to success and in living as a disciple of Christ in the working world. It will get you looking at things from an eternal perspective and just might initiate a positive transformation in both your career… and your life.

[i] http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-02-23-catholic_vatican_22_ST_N.htm

Randy Hain is the author of “The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work” which was released by Liguori Publications on November 23rd.  The Catholic Briefcase is readily available on Amazon, B&N online and local Catholic bookstores.

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