Demanding too much from work

With as much growth as there’s been in the realms of HR and organizational behavior, it’s amazing to me that we all still view the implicit contract between employee and employer so one-dimensionally. Every one of these employment relationships includes a set of performance expectations. Some are spelled out in contracts; others are implicit. When we look for a new job, we spend time exploring and evaluating what the company will ask of us – hours, attitude, on the job training, vacation scheduling – yet oddly enough, we rarely stop and ask ourselves what we’re demanding of our jobs.

“Am I asking this job to help make me feel significant?  Am I asking this job to fund material aspirations that are neither Godly nor realistic? Am I asking this job to provide me with working relationships that will substitute for personal relationships that don’t exist elsewhere in my life? Am I asking for this job to provide me the validation I require but don’t receive elsewhere?”

It’s no wonder, really, why virtually everyone I know seems unfulfilled with their jobs. Can any job meet these demands? As we work more and more, it’s easy to create in our minds latent expectations of what our jobs should offer us, but most won’t live up to the challenge. Fortunately, they really don’t need to for those of us that are followers of Christ.

The real answers to these questions lie, of course, in our relationship with God. Paul spells this whole thing out in Ephesians 1 (check it out if you haven’t lately!), when he reminds us that God chose each of us as his children before the Earth was formed, and in that relationship lies tremendous (and often untapped) power for our lives.

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Eph 1:18-19)

It’s probably time to give our jobs a break, and instead ask more – much more – of our spiritual lives and the untapped power offered to us through the Holy Spirit.

One Response

  1. Ryan – Good post. We do this in our marriages as well. We often look for our spouse to meet needs that only God can meet.

    – Tony

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