by Greg Leitschuh
Have you ever wanted to find another job? It seems common these days that many people are changing jobs and careers midway through life. It's interesting to note that quite a few people would say that it's not a matter of money but a desire to do something more interesting or challenging. Furthermore, more people are willing to work for less money if they are able to find work that is rewarding and fulfilling. As most of us will spend the majority of our waking hours at work, we certainly would like to have a job that we enjoy. On the other hand, we've all read articles and surveys about many in the work force that are in jobs they don't particularly like. How about you? Are you enjoying your work, and if not, why?
A problem that faces many people these days is working at a job that is unpleasant. Sometimes this is due to the work itself being either routine or stressful or else we are unable to get along with our boss or colleagues. Many of us feel trapped in our work situation. We are fearful to change jobs because, at present, we may be paid well or unable to find another job. For others, we are not adventurous enough to launch out into the unknown and take a chance at finding something new. One fact that all of us will face is that most jobs, regardless of whether we enjoy them or not, soon become routine as we become familiar with them. Deep down, we all would probably admit that although our jobs were not meant to be completely fulfilling. We should at least find satisfaction in our work no matter how mundane it is and regardless of our working environment.
Perhaps another issue that many of us give little thought to is the purpose of work. Why work? It seems that from the earliest days of humanity, mankind has had work to do. From early primitive times, we have had to toil for the bare necessities of obtaining food and shelter to stay alive. In our present day, work has become totally different. Many of us do little physical work and even our motivation for it has changed. The reason for working has gone beyond providing the basics of food, shelter and clothing. Many are now working to earn extra money for leisure activities and luxury goods. Although many have more than enough money and are working less hours than ever, why is it that there is still dissatisfaction with our jobs?
Motivation and Attitude
One reason for discontent in our work is motivation. If we see it as simply an activity that provides money, we are missing an opportunity. Work is meant to be rewarding. You probably remember times when you felt satisfaction from completing a task no matter how difficult or boring it was. Whenever we put our minds to something, we experience a sense of accomplishment which brings delight into our job. There is an old proverbial maxim (see footnote) which exhorts us to do things to the best of our ability. If we set our wills to do the best we can with the job we have, we find satisfaction and reward in doing it well -- whether anyone notices us or not -- or whether the task is difficult or routine.
Closely related to motivation is another important aspect of work that few of us have thought about -- our attitude. Meaningful employment does not come from working in a pleasant environment but from our attitude. It has been said that 'life is a state of mind'. Two people can be doing the same job under the same conditions while one is happy and the other miserable. Our attitude towards work as well as life colours the way we perceive things. If our attitude is right, work becomes light and joyful. If we have a bad attitude we become bitter and depressed. Out of a desire to do a thing well, we find fulfilment and come closer to discovering the true meaning of work. A job well done brings order into this world as well as fulfilment to our lives.
Security and Work
Although it's possible to find satisfaction and fulfilment in our jobs by practising these truths, we will never find lasting security. If work is meant mainly to provide us with some sort of security, we will never find it. True security was never meant to come from our jobs. Losing a job that we enjoy and our means of earning a living has driven many to despair. We have no assurance of permanent work these days. I believe there is a security that goes beyond what our jobs could ever give us and brings peace and rest into our lives as nothing else can. Real security can only come from a belief that there is a God who is in control and has a plan for each of our lives. If we come to know Him and His ways, we'll have found a security that is better than the most rewarding or satisfying work.
1. Ecclesiastes 9:10 "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, or thought or knowledge, or wisdom in the grave, to which you are going."
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