We spend the majority of our time–our most precious resource–working. And yet many people live for the weekends, feel unfulfilled in their work, and go to bed at night wondering, “What did I really accomplish today that actually?matters?”
I don’t believe work has to be like this.
What if you could have work that matters and that you love, without (probably) changing jobs?
For a Better Job, Ask These Three Questions
1. “Where Can I Best Serve?”
If we are honest, most of us end up in the jobs we have because our first question is “How can I get earn the most respect and the most money?” That question won’t lead you to fulfillment in your work. Instead, you’ll be working for yourself–a sure way to gain the whole world while losing your own soul.
It may be the case that asking the question “Where Can I Best Serve?” will lead you to change jobs. You may be in finance and you ought to be a chef, or you may be a musician and you ought to be a school principal. It may be that you are in the field you are in not because it bests fits your gifts, but because you thought it would get you the most money or most please your parents.
But, it may be that you just need to change your mindset and not your job. You can serve others in almost any field:
- Football coaches serve by helping their players learn how to play as a team;
- Litigators serve by helping their clients work through the difficult, scary, but necessary facts of business in America;
- Entrepreneurs serve by creating products and services that meet needs in society.
Blessed By Nest
I bought and installed the Nest learning thermostat at home about a year ago. It sounds funny to say it, but the whole experience was a blessing to me. Someone clearly thought through every aspect of the product: the thermostat, the packaging, and the instructions. Some entrepreneur conceived of the idea, and that idea met a need I had in my living room.
One thing I know for sure: God created you to serve the world. You may be in the wrong career, or it may be that you’ve been thinking of serving your bank account rather than the world. The first step to work that matters is to consciously think of work as a means to serve others.
2. “Am I Willing To Get Fired?”
Work matters, but it’s not what’s most important. If you hold your work too tightly, it will restrict your life and your integrity. You’ll care more about meeting the numbers than about meeting your husband for dinner or meeting your wife’s needs or meeting your kids at their soccer games. But, if you’re willing to hold your work in an open hand, paradoxically, work will matter more to you in the ways that matter. Be willing to lose your job. And be grateful to have it.
3. “Who Can I Bless Today?”
If you are feeding hungry children, it’s obvious how you can bless someone today. But, we can bless others in lots of other, more mundane ways. For example, you can bless others through:
- Running a meeting with competence and efficiency;
- Caring about the person on the other end of the sales call as more than a potential commission;
- Deliberately trying to help your boss succeed (even if your boss isn’t your favorite person).
If you see your everyday work responsibilities as a way of intentionally blessing others, your work will take on a whole new understanding.
Your Work Is Your Ministry
I’m in the pastoral ministry, but the people in my church are called into ministry, too. Their ministry might involved fixing cars or selling mortgages or investing in start-ups, but it’s ministry. My job is specialized: to equip the folks in my church to be better ministers. But, there is no Christian who isn’t called to ministry.
On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the work you are doing?
What needs to change for you to see your work as your ministry?
(We’re talking about topics like this–topics that matter to men–at 7, a men’s gathering at Munger Place Church every Friday morning at 7:00 AM, September 26-November 7. More info here. Either you are a man, or you know one–either way, we’d love to have you.)