I love my job. Yes, I’m only three months into my new role in church communications, but I’m beginning to scratch the surface of passions I began exploring not too long ago in video production, storytelling, and helping churches communicate their message clearly and effectively. I’m finding purpose and freedom to learn, grow,and be creative in my new role. But, the longer I live in the “real world” of jobs, careers, and long workweeks, I’m finding find that more and more people just don’t relate to the lyrics of a well-known country song, “Doin’ what I love and lovin’ what I do.”
Not to be a downer, but it’s no secret that a lot of people don’t love their work. From cubicle jobs to the corporate positions climbing the ladder, many dread the workweek. In fact, some studies suggest that Monday isn’t the most depressing time of the week anymore. It’s Sunday afternoon – the time where most of us begin to think about how Monday is about to come knocking.
The Barna Group has done some recent studies on people and their careers. I, personally, found the results to be interesting:
• Only 1/3 of Christians feel called to their work.
• 35 percent of Christians feel called to a different kind of work (nearly 50 percent with Christian Millennials).
• 75 percent of all adults are searching for ways to live a more meaningful life.
Christian or not, many of us seem to be caught in a vocational crisis.
We all crave meaning and significance, but our jobs or careers can fall incredibly short of providing that. Millions of people go to work miserable and unfulfilled, some because it’s “good money,” and others because they feel trapped. That’s not to say they haven’t found happiness elsewhere in their lives; but what they get paid to do may bring more resentment than fulfillment. They feel stuck, and dreams and passions have been temporarily, some permanently, put on the back burner.
While I’ve yet to find any passages in the Bible where Jesus commands us to “find the perfect career” or “chase that dream job,” how we steward our time, energy, emotions, and skills through our work is still a big part of our story. God has given us all gifts, abilities, and dreams, and how we use them matters. Our work – regardless of what it is – should leave us saying, “I’m fulfilled by what I do.”
How we land at that point where we hate our job or are searching for meaning in our work may have been a complicated process, but could the solution be much simpler that we think? What would you find if you asked yourself, “What is it that I enjoy doing? What am I good at? What gets me out of bed in the morning?”
What do you love? What are you passionate about? If money or fear were powerless over your decisions, what would you do for a living? This isn’t a “bucket list” question where you have 24 hours left to live; rather a challenge to look past your current circumstances and begin thinking about what you love and have a passion for. Do you love photography? Explore it beyond just a hobby. Are you a mom with a passion for organic foods? Try launching an organic baby food business. Love to write? Then, write! I’m not suggesting we all quit our day jobs to pursue a dream that won’t supply income right away. But if you don’t take a step toward what you love today, then when will you?
• Colin Noonan works in Church Communications for the United Methodist Church. Continue to conversation with him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @cnoonan3.