What to Do if You Hate Your Job

Jonathan Pokluda | 02.03.16

In our “Adulting” series, we’ve been talking about what it means to be an adult in your 20’s and 30’s. What’s one of the biggest parts of being an adult? Having a job and keeping it. Maybe even one you hate.

A few years ago, a movie came out called The Informant!, starring Matt Damon. It is based on the true story of Mark Whitacre. Mark Whitacre worked for a company, ADM, where the largest price-fixing scandal in American history was going on. Whitacre was asked by the FBI to help them investigate the scandal. Follow me here: one day he works for ADM, and the next day he works at ADM for the FBI—undercover.

One day he is just doing the everyday mundane tasks of his job—looking at Excel spreadsheets, answering emails, whatever—and the next day he’s helping the FBI bust one of the largest scandals in the history of corporate America. Do you think he woke up more excited? Do you think his work felt boring anymore?

What changed? Only his perspective. One day he was just on the job; the next day he was on a MISSION.

You are on a mission. Acts 17:25-26 says that the places and time you live are ordained by God. Ephesians 2:10 says that there are some good things He wants to accomplish through your life. Colossians 4:2-6 calls us to make the most of every opportunity, and Titus 2:10 says that the reason we work is to make the teachings of Jesus attractive.

Were you on mission you went to work today? Did you make the teachings of Jesus attractive by the way you worked, and did you share the love and teachings of Jesus with those you work with?

It’s Not “Love It or Leave It”

Do you hate your job? Good. Then you won’t be tempted to give your life to it. Who said you were supposed to love it? Did your great-grandfather love his job? Mine was a farmer. He was a farmer because his dad was a farmer, and his dad’s dad was a farmer. At one point in history, most everyone worked as farmers, but it wasn’t because everyone loved it; it was because everyone needed to eat.

Our pursuit of happiness in the modern workspace has actually caused more discontentment and depression. Everyone is looking for their “calling,” and few feel like they’ve found it. Let me tell you what your calling is: to work hard, with excellence, no matter what you’re doing, so that the teachings of your Savior are attractive.

That’s essentially the message of Colossians 3:22-24, which is advice given to slaves. I’m pretty sure most slaves didn’t love their jobs.

If You Hate Your Job

So what should you do if you hate your job? Consider four things:

  1. Are you thankful for it? You know what is worse than hating your job? Hating the fact that you don’t have a job. Being thankfulfor what you do have is a huge step towards happiness. And even if you are asking God for help in finding a new job, the Bible says in Philippians 4:6 that you are supposed to have an attitude of thanksgiving when you’re asking Him.

  2. Are you good at it? Is your job something that you can do well? If so, are you doing it well? If not, why not? What would have to change for you to be able to do it well? If you are simply not capable of doing it well, then you should start looking for something that you can do with excellence.

  3. Are you giving it all you can? What would improvement look like? This is a great question for other people to answer for you. Ask them today, starting with your boss. “How can I be a better employee?” What’s an area that you can grow in today?

  4. Are you making an eternal impact? If not, it is time to start. What’s that—you can’t? Why not? What would it look like for you to start loving others around you and attracting them to Jesus?

I had the opportunity to talk with Mark Whitacre, the real-life subject of The Informant! I asked him what it was like working on mission for the FBI. He said it was exciting, but not nearly as exciting as his “on mission” work today. He is a Christian now. He trusted Christ in prison (yeah, turns out he was involved in some illegal activity). He told me how he travels now for his job, and everywhere he goes he tries to tell people about Jesus.

You are on mission. Not working for the FBI, but for the Creator of the universe. Your vision for your job might be way too small. I would encourage you to consider why God has you there, and what He wants to do through you.

If you hate your job, get a new one—working on mission, in the same place, for the Controller of the cosmos.

What’s your job, and how are you living on mission at it?

– JP

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