Work is not about doing what you want to do; work is about serving others." Daniel Lapin
Like many words, ‘work’ means different things to different people. To some of us, the word ‘work’ represents drudgery, the prison that keeps us doing the daily grind out of a sense of obligation or to collect a paycheck that allows us to survive at our current standard of living for another few weeks.
For others, ‘work’ is a positive word that coveys life purpose, and work reflects positive aspects of our identity. Or, perhaps, work at any given time is an enjoyable means to a certain end.
For all of us, though, work can and should be the way we serve others using our gifts and talents. In exchange for doing this well, our customer gives us something tangible of value. Our customer can be a client (who pays us or our business with a credit card or check, for example), or our customer can be our employer (who pays us with a paycheck and fringe benefits).
- If you are unable to serve others in your current work situation, one of these predicaments may ring true:
- You are working in a situation that does not make use of your gifts, talents, personality, and interests; and thus you may be bored or overwhelmed.
You are working in an environment with a negative or immoral culture, or one in which the schedule is interfering with your health and/or responsibilities to family.
You are working with a poor attitude and are approaching your job with laziness, selfishness, or a negative mindset.
- Once you break it down like this, it’s fairly easy to transform your work experience using one of the following strategies:
- Change your workflow. Amend your tasks, responsibilities, or business in such a way that allows you to work within your gifts, talents, personality, and interests. Often, this does not require a complete overhaul but a tweaking of how you spend most of your time. If you are employed, ask your employer or supervisor for permission to do your work differently or even change departments. Be sure to come prepared with details and support for how this will be advantageous for the company. If you own your business, brainstorm ways to bring your work tasks more in line with your temperament and gifting. This may involve delegating tasks that are not your forte so you can focus on what you are best at and passionate about.
- If there is a moral dilemma or a situation where your work schedule interferes with your health or family life, you may need to change jobs or businesses. This is rare, but it does happen. Don’t be afraid to do the right thing when your health, family, or integrity depends upon it. Plan how to make this move so you are not left without income; or if you have to leave without a plan B in place, trust God to take care of you and your family during your transition. Doing the right thing for you and your family is always better than doing the wrong thing, even if you have to skip several paychecks. I’ve done this before, and I won’t say it’s easy, but I have never regretted my decision.
- Almost everyone could stand improving their attitude about work, but if this is a primary issue for you, take it seriously. Less-than-stellar behaviors at work and in business will stand between you and a lot of good things like raises, promotions, relationships, and work satisfaction. Bad behavior might even get you fired. The customer may not always be right, but the customer deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. And that goes for peers, supervisors, and bosses, too.
Contrary to what politicians would have you believe, a job is not a right. Work, whether you are employed or self-employed, is actually a responsibility and a blessing. You earn the job, and you are edified by the process. Work is a spiritual discipline that serves others, either directly or indirectly. Work is the way we express our love for fellow humanity and support our families at the same time.
If your work gig doesn’t feel like a blessing to yourself, humanity, and family, then you might need to make a change. Don’t let it scare you. Some parts of your transition might be challenging, but isn’t everything that’s good? (Okay, chocolate is pretty easy, but most other good things require effort.)
And who knows? You might even wind up doing something you love, being appreciated by people you never dreamed of serving, and experiencing the kind of success you never imagined.
What’s holding you back from serving others excellently in your work?