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Life Imperfect

5 Things I learned at a Difficult Job

The Backstory:

I have struggled these last few months. In a job that I felt I didn’t belong. Praying to God for a chance at a new position. A position where I can help people and feel like I can do God’s work. I felt stuck in this difficult job. I have struggled feeling depressed and anxious and trying to focus on what God wants from me, what He wants me to do in this world.  There is where my word of the year comes in, Known.  I truly believe that this year, my focus should be on myself, and how I am known by God.  But that still leaves this job in the mix.

The Job:

This job is a very fast paced, high dollar, client facing, team effort extreme, don’t stop until your dead type atmosphere. You feel you are at the controls of the C-suite (CEO, CFO, CSO, etc) and unless you are a director (I am not) then you also feel as though you don’t have much impact on the way of life around the workplace.  Well, this is clearly just an opinion and who knows, maybe I am crazy and everything at this workplace is wonderful and I am living in my own little miserable bubble. Maybe it’s not you, it’s me kinda thing.

My Inner (now outer) Dialogue:

Let me tell you where I struggle. I want to help, I have a desire to make things better for those around me, and I want to strategize, streamline, and overall make process and procedure changes that would make everyone’s lives easier. 

But, I also struggle knowing that I am not perfect.

I know that God already knows this. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He knows my successes and failures, and yet He still loves me. But why did He give me all of these talents and strengths, all of the vision and passion, but put me in a place where I can’t use any of them?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4 NIV

Of course, I can’t just blame Him for putting me there. I was impatient. I’ve been waiting for the job, I am FINALLY about to start, for over a year and a half. But, I did not want to wait for it.  I wanted a change, I wanted to learn something new. So I didn’t wait, I accepted this job and well…..I did learn something new, and thank you God for your sense of humor.

But, Why? Knowing that we are imperfect?

Why does God extend us this grace? Why does he still want me, knowing I have purposefully ignored something he has said? Why do I have so much value to Him?

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – 1 Peter 5:10 NIV

I do believe this job has been a test, and not just a test, but a learning situation. I like to refer to it as a really bad social experiment I didn’t know I signed up for…but still a learning experience nonetheless.

So, what have I learned about myself?

1.  No matter what, I do not have to sacrifice my values for my job.

Just because my coworkers do not hold the same values as I do, and because they are only thinking about themselves and where they will be in 5 years, does not mean that I have to think that way too. I can choose to think of others. I can choose to believe that following what God wants me to be in this job will take me further than trying to do it on my own, or doing it the way everyone else does.

2.  I do not have to hide my Christianity.

I do not have to be scared to tell people that I am a Christian. But not only am I a Christian, I listen to Christian music, I go to church every Sunday. I read the Bible, read Christian books, listen to Christian podcasts, and go to Christian concerts. Why do I have to hide all those things to make other people comfortable? TRUTH: I don’t. I can tell my boss that I celebrate a month of sabbath where I do not work any overtime the month of July. I can tell my boss that I will not work on Sundays (unless I feel God has led me there). I can also tell my boss that I will not be eating normal lunches because I will be participating in a fast with my church every January. Why am I hiding these things? Will sharing these things with others really make them think less of me? I don’t think so, if anything they will admire my commitment to my beliefs. They may not agree with me, they don’t have to, but they will know what I believe, and I will not hide it. My conviction, may not be their conviction. If they feel worse about themselves because they are comparing their life to mine, then we need to talk. Come to church with me and come see why I choose to live my life this way. Your life is your choice. If you feel bad about your life, then come and let me pray and show you love. The two things my faith and beliefs will give you is grace and love.

3. It is OK to care more than other people.

I have learned that I care, a lot, about other people. I see people having a bad day and I want to fix it for them. It isn’t always a good quality to have, and honestly, it is quite exhausting. But if for one second, my love and joy can make you forget that bad day, then I’m going to try. I also care about my job and my coworkers and I make an effort everyday to try and improve the life of those around. I want to make my team happy and make their life easier. I will not apologize for that. In a team atmosphere, as long as my job gets done, why would I not put my talents to use for the greater good? Just because someone thinks I care too much? No. Not happening. No thank you. Next.

4. It is OK to be a team player, even when it is not ideal.

I have been working with a new person on the job. This person is new and much older than the rest of the team. While she is very experienced, she is struggling to learn the ins and outs of this job. Which just to be frank, is a lot of information and would take any normal person a year to become comfortable. Well, according to #3, I care about people, and do not want anyone to fail. So, I decided to help her as much as I could. Some of the team members thought it would be better to let her fail so that then maybe we would get a new person that might pick things up a lot faster. Well, that is not how my brain works, and I am not about to change that now. She needs help and I can give it. The team may not agree. They may see this as Mount Everest and think this is too much of an uphill battle. I see a person, a human being, just like myself, that wants a job, wants to do a good job, and wants to learn. Well those are the only qualities you really need to be a good employee so in my brain, I am like, why not give her a shot and see how this goes. Well 6 months later, she is still here, improving everyday and is very thankful for all the help I was able to provide her in her first few months on the job. My boss did not like the amount of help that I gave her believing that I had to sacrifice my learning experience and lose a promotion because of the amount of time I had to put forth to help. Honestly, go back and read #1 or #3 if you think that I am going to allow that to happen.

5. I do not have to LOVE my job, even though that would be easier.

I have never loathed a job before. I don’t loathe this job, at least not always, but I LOVE the people. This is a huge group of hardworking, smart, driven people that can get some stuff done quickly. I do not have to love the job to be good at it and I do not have to love the job to do a good job.

I can be successful, using all these things, all the qualities given to me by our Lord and Savior.

I can do this job, while caring about the people around me.

Just because the job may not be my favorite, does not mean there is nothing to learn. While this job, may be frustrating and draining, I am leaving knowing I did my best, that I worked, not only for myself, but for the success of others, and for what God wanted me to be. And for that I am proud.

Tell me about your similar experience being stuck in a diffcult job, what did you learn?

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