A recent study showed that nearly two out of every three Americans were unhappy at work. It sounds like a lot of us could stand to hear what the Bible has to say about finding joy on the job.
Are you one of the nearly fifty million Americans presently frustrated with your job? If so, you need to know that God doesn’t mean for it to be that way. God created the concept of work. In the book of Genesis, we find that one of the first things God did after creating mankind was to give them important work assignments.
The first key to finding happiness on the job is recognizing that God designed work to bring you fulfillment, provision, and increase. Simply walking away from the world of work is not a biblical answer.
Furthermore, if you’re unhappy where you work, changing jobs probably isn’t your answer either.
So what do you do if your job is making you miserable? For most people, the answer is simple. Find another job. There’s just one problem with that easy answer. The vast majority of people who change jobs for the wrong reasons are just as unhappy in their new jobs as they were in the old.
That’s because the source of their frustration is not external. It’s inside them.
Work for the Right Boss
Would your work habits change significantly if your employer were almighty God, the creator of the universe? Having God for a boss may strike you as being a strange concept. But according to the Bible, that’s precisely how we are to approach our jobs.
In the book of Ephesians, chapter five, we read: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.”
If God were your boss, would you give only a half-hearted effort? Would you lie, cheat, or steal on the job? Would you criticize or belittle the boss or your coworkers?
Probably not. If you’ll bring that kind of work ethic to your job, you’ll soon find that your relationships are more pleasant and your work more rewarding.
Some people think the educational process ended the day they graduated from school. Others make learning a lifelong quest. Guess which group tends to experience more happiness and success on the job?
If you want to be happier in your present job and increase your chances of getting a better one, make a commitment to learn everything you can about it. Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will increase learning.”
People who are chronically unhappy on the job tend to be those who get by doing just the bare minimum. They never pursue additional education or try to learn more about their field.
If you want happiness and promotion on the job, follow the Bible’s advice: grow in knowledge about your position.
Nobody likes to be criticized. It’s never pleasant to be on the receiving end of critical remarks. But it’s doubly painful when those remarks come from the boss. People who are consistently happy at work tend to have a common characteristic: they use criticism to their advantage. Instead of getting offended at criticism, they use it as an opportunity to examine and improve themselves.
This is what the Bible means in Proverbs 13:18 when it says: “He who ignores instruction comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.”
Respond positively to criticism and you will be a long way toward finding happiness on the job.
Of course, this runs totally counter to the way most people in the world of work operate today. The unwritten rule of modern office politics seems to be, “Never admit a mistake. Always blame someone else.”
But becoming known around the office as a person who is willing to own up to mistakes instead of pointing the finger at others will give you credibility and earn you the respect and trust of those with whom you work.
Couple that trait with teachability and a tendency to work “as unto the Lord,” and you can’t help but be happier on the job. But don’t be surprised if you quickly lose that job… because of a big promotion!