If you don’t like your job then why are you doing it? Life is too short to stay tied down to a weekly grind that makes you absolutely miserable. So, if you hate your job you’d better change your career or change your attitude.
Don’t get me wrong. Every job, ministry, and career will have its unpleasant tasks. The movie star has to be at Make-Up by 3:00 am. The politician has to beg for money. And the doctor has to endure the constant barrage of statements like, “Take a look at this rash. Do ya think it’s catchy?” A diligent soul will endure the pains to obtain the gains.
Yet the previously stated truth is still valid, you should enjoy your work. So, if changing your job is not going to happen then I suggest you change your perspective.
In today’s Blog Post I’m giving three tips on how you can remain positive, upbeat, and happy in the career field you’ve chosen.
1. Serve where needed; Thrive where gifted
Almost everyone shirks. I’ve had jobs in kitchens, barns, gardens, and offices and I’ve found one thing to be universal in the workforce. Too many seem to shirk responsibility. How many times have you heard someone say, “But that’s not my job?” These are the shirkers, the work avoiders, the labor evaders, the responsibility dodgers. And these are the same ones who will never succeed. They aren’t willing to serve because they are either to prideful, lazy, or both. You can be the exceptional exception.
After 12 years in my current position Heather and I now have a staff of 11 who assist us in our pastoral ministry. They do so much for us that we, at the first, had to do all alone. As the leaders of a church plant (start-up) Heather and I had to prepare the fiscal budgets, plan the worship services, schedule the outreach events, lead the youth activities, and take the children to camp. I was the office receptionist, administrative record keeper, and head-envelope-stuffer. All the while I prepared my sermons, counseled the flock, and developed vision for the church. I served faithfully where I was needed until God allowed me to thrive were I am gifted. Here’s the hard truth. God will never allow you to thrive where gifted until you learn to serve where needed.
I now, at work, spend very little time doing things I find unpleasant. Why? – because I spent years embracing the role of servant, doing everything and anything I could to advance our ministry. When the opportunity came to hire staff I chose to lead in my strengths and staff in my weaknesses. I wanted to find someone who loved what I loathed, who found fascinating what I found frustrating. I didn’t want to hire another me. I already had a me. I now find myself surrounded by highly competent professionals who thrive in their areas of expertise and, when needed, humbly serve in areas yet to be staffed. All of this has cut my job description from hundreds of responsibilities to only 4: Vision Casting, Prayer, Pastoral Counseling, & Sermon Study. I’m now able to thrive where I’m gifted because I served where I was needed.
David the King was first a simple shepherd boy. Before Moses led millions of souls he ministered to dozens of sheep. Even the Son of God knelt to wash the disciple’s feet.
2. Rest is Essential
When I’m tired everything is off. I love to pray, study, counsel, and dream for our ministries. But even these joys can become chores when I’m unrested. Here is a crazy idea… you may not hate your job – you may just be tired. When I was in college and seminary it was popular to tell students how little sleep they needed and how early successful people got up in the morning. “I only sleep 4 hours every night!” “Let me tell you about Dr. Reverend Dukenheimer who got up every morning at 2:00am to pray.” “If you’re not tired, you’re not successful.” This and other nonsense really played with my sense of wellbeing. But then I remembered that even Jesus grew tired and slept in the bow of the ship.
Personally I insist on 7-8 hours of sleep every single night. Please don’t try to impress me by telling me how little sleep you need. I agree with you… you’re a superhero. But I’m mortal and need to sleep. And there is no way I’m gonna let myself burnout while I’m young. I’m thinking of this thing like a marathon and not a sprint. I may be slow and steady in these early years but I’ve got nothing to prove here. Yes, others will accomplish more in the wee hours of the morning while I’m tucked away in my cool sheets and warm covers but I simply don’t care. I’ve been at this long enough to have already seen some over-achieving hares on the side of the road as I continue to plod along in my manageable, tortoise-like pace.
I take time for my family and I take time for me. This includes busy family days where I’m going to my son’s baseball game, swimming with my girls, and going to dinner with my wife. But this also includes taking in a movie, reading Steinbeck, or just going to the gym. These moments of recreation genuinely re-create my body and soul.
3. Priorities are the Only Way
We must learn to prioritize by putting the big rocks in first. At work this means to succeed 1st in the areas that drive my career. For example, I love to write this blog. But no one pays me to write this blog. It’s more of a hobby than a ministry at this point. Why then would I put more effort into this post than I do into Sunday’s sermon? I love to travel and preach in other churches. But this is not my calling. God has called me to focus on my local church and stand in front of my flock from week to week.
What are you getting paid to do? Do that! What is your actual job description? Focus almost completely on that! When precedence is given to your few key responsibilities they will begin to flourish and grow like never before. You will be recognized as outstanding in your field because you have begun to give primary attention to your most important responsibilities.
This is when the real fun begins. Suddenly you find yourself enjoying every moment. You’re able to close the deal faster, design with more creativity, or plan with more specificity. You’ll find deeper joy in your work because you are focused on what you enjoy and succeeding in your focus.
(There are 10 Core Principles for ministry teamwork that our church staff has adopted. These 10 have helped our staff through our most excited days and challenging setbacks. I’ve already shared the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th principles in previous posts. Here shared our 5th – which is Enjoy Your Work.)
This post may be an encouragement to one of your friends. Please SHARE, Retweet, or Pin. Thanks