Monday, October 11, 2010

Finding meaning with your job

By Theresa Montminy
Chancellor

Recent surveys indicate unprecedented dissatisfaction at work. With the unemployment rate at an all time high, as many as 80% of employees at any given time are looking for a new job. How do we find peace in a world when we are struggling and dissatisfied in what we do on a daily basis? Maybe we need to determine why we are unhappy ~ do we really need more money? Is the location where we work really problematic? Are our coworkers or our bosses really so unreasonable? Perhaps the discontent isn’t a matter of location or benefits. Could it be a matter of meaningful work? If we don’t find meaning in our work, we find motivation difficult. Lack of motivation gets us behind in our work, which leads to stress, which leads to less motivation. It’s a vicious cycle! How do we make peace with the fact that jobs are hard to find in this fragile economy?


It is important to remember that God created work. Somehow, we got the im¬pression that it’s a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, but God had the couple tend¬ing the Garden of Eden long before they were tempted and cast out. Work became more difficult after original sin, but work had already been ordained. God means for His people to be productive and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. He wants us to find peace in serving Him through our ordinary tasks. He wants us to be content in what we do, whether it’s at home with the children, in an office with coworkers, or laboring in the fields. Our work reflects His desire to fill our lives with hope!


Even when we know God’s plan, we often miss out on His ultimate purposes. The surveys that indicate massive job dissatisfaction invariably has Catholics among the respondents. Believers can be as dissatisfied as non-believers in our world.


How can we be more content in our work? There are two simple steps to mean¬ingful labor:
  1. Work “as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” If we who love Jesus have it firmly fixed in our minds that our labor somehow honors Him, we will be more interested in our labor.
  2. Pray, it’s acceptable to pray for a new job or role, but it’s even better to ask God to build meaning into your current work until His timing for something new is right. He can show you how your work relationships honor Him, or how your godly service reflects His character.


But most of all, let your work reflect your desire to serve Him. Let it demonstrate your desire to do your best and be your best. In these difficult economic times, many are struggling to find work. Find joy in knowing that you have been blessed with your labor. It is at times like this that we must find satisfaction in what we do because all work is a gift that God longs to give us in a world longing for peace.


I welcome your thoughts and comments on how you fill people’s lives with hope by “Making Peace” in our world. Please address your comments by electronic mail to officeofthechancellor@sbdiocese.org.

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