Like so many others out there, I daily search for meaning in my desk job.
I don’t pastor a Church, teach at a seminary or Bible college, or work at a para-church organization. Rather I spend my 9am-5pm hours each day working in the for-profit corporate world, in a non-faith based company, selling and providing an a-moral service. How does my faith play into this? The Bible is clear that my work is to be honoring to the Lord (Col 3:17, 1 Cor 10:31), but what does that look like in the corporate business world?
Chewing on this daily dilemma, I have developed a few goals for each work day I spend behind the desk (there likely should be more, and/or different ones as well. However this is a the beginning of a journey for me of what it means to live faithfully in the workplace).
1. Create an Economic Advantage for all involved
A for-profit business has the unique opportunity of leveraging financial capital in people’s favor. I seek to view each aspect of my day as creating a financial advantage for everyone I come into contact with.
That means my co-workers, because if our company is profitable then the people sitting around me get paid, and we are more likely to hire additional employees.
The financial reach and blessing of the company extends to vendors and contractors that work with us. Earlier this week I got to call a vendor we work with and send him a large job. He was excited for the opportunity and thanked me. My response: “You do great work, I am happy to give you business.”
The economic advantage also touches the clients who pay to use our service/product. I want them to see working with my company as gaining the best possible value for their money. It doesn’t always mean we are the cheapest, but hopefully we are the most efficient, the easiest to work with, and produce the best product. That makes working with us a financially savvy move for a client.
2. Provide an amazing service experience
I want to be a servant who provides amazing service. Those around me, those on the phone, those in the field, those in my inbox. I have an opportunity to demonstrate Christ-like service to dozens of people each week. They could get a chance to see what excellence, diligence, care, respect, and humility through customer service.
All different kinds of work includes meeting others needs through some form of service. Great service is beyond just a good business strategy, it’s a godly one.
3. Identify and verbalize the strengths of others.
My name is not the one that matters. I am not trying to build my brand but I am about making the name of Jesus great. I want to look for the ways that God has uniquely designed and gifted those around me. Rather than seeing my co-oworkers as competition for the next promotion, I want to highlight and affirm their talents and success. My purpose is to praise God for his grace toward people, whether that person does or does not recognize where their gifts have come from.
4. Take responsibility for mistakes.
I recognize that none of us are perfect. We can make mistakes in an e-mail, misquote an invoice or project, get lazy and not complete an appointed task. How we respond when we make mistakes in the workplace can be a bold statement for our faith. Blame-shifting and ignoring the significance of a mistake are rampant in most offices, where each employees goal is to get a step ahead of the next guy. A Christian can demonstrate the humility to say “it was my fault” and “I apologize for letting you down”. Those words can ring huge in an office that is stuck ladder climbing.
Just yesterday a glaring error of mine came to light. I had made a blatant mistake and it had frustrated the client and caused delays. Internally, when people asked what happened, I had to lean into the embarrassment and own it. Externally, I had to confess to the client that this was a flat out miss and we blew it.
This doesn’t solve all of the struggles I have in the secular work place, but its a start. Even if I can’t lead a Bible study in the lunch room everyday, or lead a client to Christ, I can demonstrate my faith through these ways every single day.
How do you find meaning in your 9-5?