“If you had the opportunity to do anything you wanted to do, and money (financial compensation) was not an issue, would you still do what you are doing right now?”
When a good friend asked me this question years ago, it caught me by surprise. I paused as I considered how to respond. Finally, I admitted that I would not. I would be doing something different. This conversation started a process that resulted in dramatic career changes that opened doors to opportunities I could never have imagined.
So I found it interesting recently when I read a blog post by a writer another friend had recommended. The blogger, Seth Godin, is a marketing consultant, entrepreneur, and public speaker. He cited the importance of making wise, rewarding use of our time, talents and energy, echoing my thoughts years before when I was asked the momentous question. Godin wrote:
“Every day you invest a little bit of yourself into your work, and one of the biggest choices available to you is where you’ll be making that investment. That project you are working on – or that boss you report to: Is it worth it?
“Investing in the wrong place for a week or a month will not kill you. But spending 10 years contributing to something you do not care about, or working with someone who does not care about you – you can do better.”
Admittedly, in today’s uncertain and often limited employment market, changing jobs is not something to be taken lightly. The adage, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” can apply to major career decisions. I have always reasoned it makes sense to find the next job before leaving the last one.
However, as Godin pointed out, this does not justify squandering substantial portions of our working life performing functions and carrying out responsibilities that seem pointless or unrewarding.
In the organization I work with, we talk with business and professional leaders about “pursuing their passion,” whether within the context of their work or, if necessary, outside of it. When we have the opportunity to do work and engage in activities we feel passionate about, which also provide personal fulfillment, we find contentment, become more productive, and enjoy life.
Contrary to popular notions, work is not a “necessary evil.” God established work and designated mankind to be caretakers of His creation. In fact, the Bible describes God as a worker. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:2-3). As God did, pursue your passion – and then rest.
Work, of course, is not easy. But it becomes much easier – and more enjoyable – with the right motivation. So the Bible says we should ask God to “…establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17). Ultimately, work is God’s idea, so it’s best to do what He wants of us – and to do it His way.
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.
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1. Suppose someone asked you the question, “If you had the opportunity to do anything you wanted to do, and money (financial compensation) was not an issue, would you still do what you are doing right now?” How would you answer?
2. If you answered you would continue doing what you presently are doing, what are the aspects of your work that you particularly enjoy and find rewarding?
3. However, if you would answer that if given the opportunity, you would do something different, what do you intend to do about that?
4. What do you feel is the significance of the Bible’s assertion that God created work, that He is a worker, and that our work should be done primarily to please and honor Him? Do you believe that? Why or why not?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 12:11, 14:23, 21:5, 22:29, 27:18; Ecclesiastes 2:22-26; Colossians 3:17