If you hate your job
Conversations with a young mechanic who finds his job unfulfilling: he wants to become a fire fighter, but it's not happening. He's distracted on the job, thinking of what else he could do.
Internet statistics on job satisfaction: Under age 25 – only 39% satisfied; even the 45-54 age group – 45% satisfied; 4 out of 5 people aren't working at their dream job.
“I hate my job” – Reasons: stress makes sick to stomach; lack of autonomy or flexibility; a corporate culture in conflict with personal values (dishonestly, greed, hypocrisy); a feeling of serving time in a menial job, or one that is a stepping stone to a desirable job; feeling trapped
(can’t find another job, but need the money or the medical coverage); a difficult boss (angry, unpredictable, demanding, unreasonable). Even housewives, retirees, and students – dull, boring, repetitive, pointless, lonely work; being disrespected, underappreciated, treated unfairly.
“10 things to do when you really, really hate your job”, found on the Internet at <http://www.careerknowhow.com/guidance/hateyourjob.htm>, provides good advice from a secular point of view, but some of the points contain Scriptural truth. What ten things would the Bible advise us to do if we really, really hate our job? The major heading with 10 subheadings is "Change Bosses!"
Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
This section, Colossians 3:22-24, was addressed to slaves – few people would feel more trapped in their jobs! What is the meaning of “work for the Lord"? Historically, a Christian "vocation” was religious work (priests, ministers, monks, nuns). Martin Luther taught that Scripturally, everyone’s work can be considered a proper vocation. Christians should be Christ to one another – “Why, a man could cobble shoes to the greater glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
This verse follows a whole section on the resurrection of Christ – God is victorious – He defeated our worst enemy, death – His plan will prevail – If you want to be on the winning team, work for the Lord!
10 things to do if you hate your job and you want to work for the Lord – whether paid, retired, student, housewife, etc.
- Do your best for the Lord – He deserves it, and there are great rewards.
Colossians 3:22-24 – Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
A housecleaner changed her routine to remind herself that she was working for God, watching "from above", by dusting the tops of the doors for Him.
- Think from God’s perspective – what is His will for your life? – pray for His guidance.
- In the meantime, while waiting for His will to be revealed, know that His will is for us to look for things to be thankful for. Focus on the positive things, not the negative.
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 – Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Depressed people experiment
- Focus on the skills you are learning, how you are growing personally, how you are learning how to deal with difficult people. They are found everywhere – you can’t escape them – so if you think that by changing jobs (or even churches) you'll be free of difficult people, just know that God will put new difficult people in your way until you learn to love them in Christ.
- Consider what God is doing in your life – His agenda is to develop us so that we look more like Jesus.
Romans 8: 28-29 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
- Think of a difficult job as an opportunity to develop the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Note particularly "patience", akin to "endurance". While God arranges the circumstances for the next stage of our lives, timing and intervals are required. Trust His timing – be patient! We cannot pray, "Lord, give me patience, right now!" We develop the fruit of the Spirit in specific circumstances that require them to be exercised, not in non-stressful circumstances.
- Think of yourself as God’s lighthouse – wherever you are (stuck).
Matthew 5:13-14 – You are the salt of the earth. …. You are the light of the world.
Salt is a preservative. The world needs its moral standards preserved – we need to shine a light on God's eternal standards, for everyone to see.
- If the corporate culture is dishonest, are you being honest? We've got to live with ourselves. Are we putting in an honest day’s work, or are we slackers, thinking "they owe it to me"? We should do what we can to raise the moral bar, change the climate.
1 Thessalonians 5: 14-15 – And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
- Do exemplary work. If you do a good job “as for the Lord”, and you are criticized out of jealousy, or because you are showing others up as slackers, then apply the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5:10-12 – Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.
But make sure you are not being "persecuted" for doing a shoddy job or being a slacker.
- If all else fails, remember that nothing lasts forever. In five years, you will look back on this time, and it will seem like it passed in the blink of an eye – “And it came … to pass”. Black slaves in the deep south relieved their drudgery by singing spirituals, songs about the joy they had to look forward to in heaven.