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“Who here is working in the career they were educated for?”
A few years ago I was teaching a group of young adults and I posed the above question. To my amazement only about a quarter of the people in the room raised their hands. Most people in that room were working in careers that didn’t match their education. Why?
I asked them. Here were the common answers.
“I learned my degree (job) didn’t pay enough.”
“After a few years of doing it I realized I don’t like the work.”
“I had to start at the bottom. It’s too competitive.”
Finally, “Pastor Mike, they were asking me to do things I felt weren’t right.”
I know fear and regret around work is a big deal for young adults and now that I am getting ready to launch one out of my own home I thought I would share what I counsel in ministry and in my house.
First, don’t forget the world is cursed. Work is toil (Genesis 3:17-19). If you are expecting to find a job that only produces what fulfills and satisfies, you will be greatly disappointed. The most fulfilled version of your work will come when Christ has redeemed the world (Revelation 21:3-5).
Expect work to be well…work. Expect work to be a reward when God has redeemed it.
It’s true. In this world you will have misaimed desires that God shouldn’t allow to be fulfilled but you don’t understand why. You will have rightly aimed desires that won’t be fulfilled because of sin. You live in a world of rot, theft and disloyalty. Only in Christ do we have the promise of work becoming true fulfillment and joy.
With this in mind I have four “spheres” (or reflective questions) to consider when making a career choice.
1. What do you want to do?
Take a moment and write out what you enjoy doing.
2. What are you good at?
It’s really import to honestly consider your God-given skill set. Yes, education and practice can do wonders but raw capacity does matter. Consider it. To ignore this completely is to deny the creative uniqueness of God. How did He equip you naturally?
3. What has earning power?
This is often ignored because all know deep down it’s a messed up system and is unfair. Some of the most important jobs in this world have little or no earning power. Think of all the creative arts! Yes, the .001% are wealthy but the vast majority are broke. It is unfair but it is reality. Consider the likelihood of actual income.
4. Does it honor God?
This is the “trump card” for Christians. If you find yourself able to accomplish the first three but the fourth is clearly out of alignment, you are placing your eternal state behind your temporal needs and wants. What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul? (Mark 8:36)
A few other things to consider.
In our modern world we have virtually done away with hobbies. For those that don’t know, hobbies were work that your grandparents did that they enjoyed but didn’t foot the bill. We, understandably, want our hobbies to be our career. This desire is good but most often unrealistic and when it doesn’t work out you’re broke and bitter. Many of you may find a much more fulfilling life and family by picking something with good earning power that you kind of enjoy AND having a hobby like art or playing an instrument. If the hobby takes off? Awesome! Run with it, but if it doesn’t you can still have a “good” life. Get a hobby.
You don’t have to have the same job your whole life. So many young adults experience failure to launch because they were afraid of getting “it” wrong. You will get it wrong, at least parts of it. Don’t let your fear of not seeing your future clearly prevent you from moving into a wise future at all. If you want to change jobs or hobbies along the way, go for it. Just consider the 4 spheres again.
I want to bring this up again. We have become a culture that shames people that talk about money. That’s so wrong! Jesus talked about money and material things a lot. In fact, money and what to do with material things is mentioned more than 800 times in scripture. It’s the second most referred to topic! Know, life isn’t fair, not all important jobs pay well and being blind to that reality is a bad move. Please consider earning potential.
What else would you consider when looking for a job?
I also did a series where we built a right theology of work.
There are sermons and lecture notes at the following links. All FREE!
Session One: Work in a Perfect World: https://www.encountertrinity.com/messages/archive/?page=3#beyond-the-daily-grind
Session Two: Work in a Perfect World Part 2: https://www.encountertrinity.com/sermon/work-in-a-perfect-world-part-2/
Session Three: Work in a Fallen World: https://www.encountertrinity.com/sermon/work-in-a-fallen-world/