It’s difficult to believe, but January is almost over and the year is in full swing. There is a new President in the White House, the spring semester of school is back in session and businesses have generally approved their budgets for the year. And it’s that time of year when people start thinking about their jobs and what they are going to do with their lives this year.
The kids have already started their lessons, after school activities and people are already thinking about spring break. But more and more I am hearing about job discontent and I am receiving an increased number of calls asking for help to explore options in the corporate world. These folks aren’t alone – as the year rolls along I am also giving more serious consideration to what this year will look like for me…
In one of my ministry areas, pastors and others I have worked with are trying to decide if they want to stay in the ministry world or try and make the transition to the corporate workplace. It seems that people are suffering from “greener grass” – thinking that they would have an easier time doing something else than what they are currently working on. While that may be true in some cases, a person’s highest worth in the marketplace is usually tied to what they are already doing; and expanding those responsibilities. To switch careers, other than as a result of a leading by the Holy Spirit, generally results in a lower wage and position that most folks aren’t ready for.
I’ve been down both paths – expanding my sphere of influence in the the “for profit” arena and then putting down roots in the ministry world where I had to start over – and it isn’t easy. While I have performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies and done countless sessions of pre-marital counseling, the ministry world isn’t for the faint of heart; very long hours, usually including week-ends and lack of recognition for difficult tasks.
The public doesn’t really understand what those in ministry really go through – and the pay isn’t all that good. On the other hand, standards for success and competition are generally higher in corporate America – and the workplace isn’t nearly as forgiving. So it all depends on what you want out of life and what you are willing to do to achieve “success” – however you define it.
Speaking from decades of experience helping people with career transition, there are several things that I can share that may be of assistance. First of all, the grass is rarely greener somewhere else. It’s just that you know the problems with your own situation and haven’t yet discovered the issues with another job. Next, the average length of time in job is less than 39 months nowadays and that means that people aren’t as loyal as they used to be. That goes for employers as well – so it is more easily justified to look for other work. Younger generations, in particular, have become increasingly restless and don’t have the patience to wait things out until they get better – and that leads to job movement as well.
And probably the biggest thing that I run across is that folks think they will escalate their earnings forever, regardless of how much they already make – and that isn’t realistic. Some employees have been blessed to have been paid far more than they are worth – and they should be grateful that they have been able to provide for their families. And if that situation should happen to end, then move on and do the best that you can do without holding out for some unrealistic opportunity to land on your doorstep again.
Above all, if you are thinking about a change, my biggest encouragement for you is to pray. That’s right – God already knows the next assignment He has in store for you. And it’s the perfect fit for whatever He wants you to learn next. Sure, it may not be something that you thought of, or even would like to do, but I guarantee you that God’s future for you is far better than any future you can dream up on your own. Since God doesn’t waste anything, the things you have learned in the past will be used in one way or another on your next mission.
Church based career transition programs around the country turn to the Bible for inspiration and we can find hundreds of verses on the subject of work. The verse for this evening has been used as a foundational verse for many of these ministries and is from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” My encouragement this evening is that God already has the grand scheme of your life mapped out – and now it’s up to you to get from where you are to where God wants you to be. My prayer is that you will consider the things you have done in your life and how God may choose to use those things for your benefit and the benefit of His kingdom here on earth. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…