January 16, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy Remember how excited you were the day you got your current job? Maybe it represented the realization of a dream. Or the end of a lengthy job search after being out of work. Or finally receiving an anticipated promotion. Or it offered the opportunity to pursue your passion, and utilize skills and gifts in ways you never could before.
However, now you – or someone you know – have become restless and discontent. The job you once cherished has lost its luster; it has become boring, ordinary, routine. You feel you can no longer tolerate such an uninspiring assignment. The time has come for a change. Isn’t it interesting how a job that once enthused you so much that you could not wait for the start of a new day can become mundane, tedious, even detestable? It is like “falling in love,” becoming so fascinated with someone you cannot think of anything else, and then weeks, months or years later finding yourself wondering, “What was so special about him (or her)?”
We can grow out of jobs, finding them no longer challenging or as rewarding as they once were. Perhaps we have developed new skills and are ready for greater responsibilities. Circumstances that seemed so appealing at first may have changed. However, sometimes this is simply a case of the newness, the novelty, having worn off, making a once very good job seem like a prison sentence.
A time-worn adage tells us, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” But sometimes, just because a job has become familiar, that does not mean it is time to leave. As the essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and adore.” Just as we can lose our sense of wonderment in looking at the stars because they appear each night, we also can “fall out of love” with a job simply because we have become accustomed to it and its demands.
Even though the excitement may have worn off, we might rediscover the extraordinary in the ordinary. Perhaps God has you where you are for a reason. Here are some thoughts to consider from the Bible:
Maybe a new attitude, not a new job, is needed. If we could adopt a new perspective on our work, we might be able to approach it with more enthusiasm. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:10-12).
Sticking with it to the finish. We need to maintain a clear sense of our calling, recognizing God has placed us in our present job and may not be ready for us to move on. The apostle Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Remembering the One we represent. As representatives of Jesus Christ, how we approach and perform our work – even to the very last day – reflects on Him and our faith in Him. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
© 2017. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. He has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.
- What is your attitude toward the job you have right now? Does it excite, motivate and inspire you as it once did? If not, what has changed?
- Have you ever experienced, as poet Emerson suggested, a loss of enthusiasm – whether for the stars overhead, a job, a person, or something else – simply because of familiarity? If so, what has that experience been like for you?
- Do you agree that zeal for a job can be rekindled simply by being able to adopt a new attitude or perspective toward it? Why or why not?
- Can you think of an example of a time when God enabled you to rediscover the extraordinary out of something that had become ordinary and unexciting? Explain your answer.
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: 1 Chronicles 28:20;
Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:3; Colossians 3:17, 23-24; Revelation 21:5-6