I had a discussion with some friends some days ago about how our jobs may be keeping us from doing the things we are very passionate about. It became clear to us that sometimes all that a job does for you is to keep you from working. Does that not sound interesting? Is there a difference between your job and your work?
Have you ever heard speakers say if you look forward to Friday in your current workplace, you need to find a new job? I have read many stories of people who left their jobs because they felt it was not expressing their passions. The story of a young man who resigned from his six figures paying job to pursue his dreams readily comes to mind. He soon found out that life was not as easy as he thought and that people who stay stuck in an unfulfilling job do so for good reason which is that it puts food on their table and helps them keep body and soul together.
So, I’ll like to share some thoughts on this issue. If you feel stuck in your current job, I hope these thoughts help you find clarity and begin to live fully and well.
UNDERSTANDING THE WORK-JOB DICHOTOMY
There is a difference between your job and your work. Some of us are blessed to find both in one preoccupation. Your job is what you do to keep you busy and meet your physical needs. Apostle Paul suggested that anyone who used to steal before they got saved, should go get a job so they can earn a living to be able to serve others. Paul himself was a tentmaker. So, your job is how you earn your survival. Your work on the other hand is the God-intended medium by which you were planned to live fully and maximise your life. Your work is how you interact with your domain of impact and advance God’s Kingdom on earth. The purpose of your job is so you can earn. The purpose of your work is so you can live.
EARNING OR LIVING: WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT?
I have established that there is a difference between your job and your work. Your job gives you a source of earning, your work gives you a source of living. Now, many people never get to decide which is more important to them. The society already configures us to run after earning rather than living. Do you eat to live or live to eat? Why do we eat if not to have strength to live and live well? Why should you earn at all if that would not help you sustain a meaningful existence? So, you see, you were planned to live fully not just survive. You were made for more. And in the final analysis, the more you were created for isn’t first a function of how much you earn but how well you live.
FINDING THE MEETING POINT
I believe one of the keys to a fulfilling life is to find the meeting point between how you earn for survival and how you really live. One, your job may be flexible enough to accommodate your engagement with your life work. In this case, your job may serve as financier for your life assignment. This was the case for Apostle Paul. As a tentmaker, he was able to earn enough to sustain his missionary activities in addition to donations and contributions from other co-workers in the ministry. Two, your job may be an expression of your work. I am a lawyer. My legal practice puts food on my table. However, it does more than that. I believe God has called me to eradicate crime from our society by bringing the message of purpose into the criminal justice system of our society. Three, your work can become your job. There is a way you can monetize your work so that it does more than expressing your passions, it also becomes a source of income. The idea of course isn’t to make your pursuit of purpose about your making money, but as you do purpose, you create value people can pay for and as they do so, you earn.
I believe it is because most people do not understand the work-job dichotomy that they are stuck and unhappy in their jobs. That is why we have people who earn so much but are so unhappy. They feel stuck in between the need to make ends meet and live fulfilling lives. But this does not have to be the case. If you first of all believe that your life serves a purpose greater than what you earn, then you can find the courage to admit the meeting point. Before you leave your job in the pursuit of your dreams, you must be sure to make plans for your transition because you understand that you have to be alive to live. Whether or not you look forward to every Friday of the week really isn’t as important as whether you are truly deriving the satisfaction you were planned to derive from your life and whether, you are living in such a way that society can be overflowing in gratitude to God for your existence.
Blessed? Let me hear your thoughts in the comment section.
You matter to me always.