I read on Laura Vanderkam’s blog recently about what makes employees really happy in their job. Like me, you might be inclined to think it would be things like a pay raise, various perks in the work place, flexibility of work hours, etc. But in a study done where hundreds of employees at various companies kept work diaries in which they described their activities and rated their workdays based on criteria such as how they felt and how productive they were, the analysts ended up with over 12,000 diary entries to study and make conclusions about what really matters to employees.
Vanderkam writes, “They found that the 1000 best days — those with the highest scores — were overwhelmingly characterized by what they call ‘progress.’ People met a goal. They achieved little wins. They got something to work right. They felt farther ahead at the end of the day than they were at the beginning.”
I wasn’t surprised to read those results, as I personally feel exactly the same way. That’s what makes me happy “on the job,” too. Whether I’m working in my real estate business, in ministry, or in my home, making progress, achieving goals, figuring out a solution to a problem and solving it—these are, indeed, the things that make for “a good day on the job.”
To enjoy your work is a gift from God. If you feel trapped in a job that you do not like, you might try spicing it up by looking for ways to be more productive and creative. Even if your job is rote repetition, and you think there is no way to insert any creativity into it, you could look for ways to streamline a process, or a way to simplify the reporting, or a way to improve the environment, etc. In other words, find some way to exercise your creativity muscle and to become more productive (just finding something that matches this criteria is using your creativity muscle). Instead of hoping for “a good day” in which you can achieve a little win, get further ahead, or make something work, focus on setting up your circumstances so you can assure that this will happen. Be proactive rather than reactive.
Remember this: God instituted work even in the Garden of Eden. Adam was given assignments—hefty ones—and was expected to subdue and have dominion. Work has always been a part of man’s existence. It is an honorable expression of God within us. Therefore, it would be a violation to just “put in our hours,” to do the very least we can get by with and to live for vacation days.
Paul wrote that we should obey our earthly masters (employers) not only when their eye is on us and to win their favor, “but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
In this brief, but powerful, directive, there are four principles that we can apply on the job.
1.We are to be self-motivated, not boss-motivated.
We should never have to be prodded and cajoled into getting our work done. And we should be just as hard a worker whether we are being watched, evaluated or left totally to ourselves.
2.We are to acknowledge God as our real “boss.”
This principle gives dignity to all work. God is ultimately the one we are seeking to please.
3.We are to be enthusiastic, whole-hearted, excellent employees.
Remember the revelation in the study mentioned above: productivity, progress, little wins are what make for good days on the job. If these descriptors don’t exist in your work situation, then try to engineer a way that they will. Be proactive; use your creativity muscle.
If these possibilities are built into your job situation, then leverage them to the hilt. Such an attitude will be a win-win. Both you and your employer will benefit.
4.There will be a divine payday.
As I’ve stated in various posts, in various ways, we can’t segment our lives into neat little compartments. Each “part” affects all the others. Our spirits, souls, and bodies affect and influence one another. Our spiritual, professional, social and mental lives “bleed over” into one another, as well. And every part, every component, is observed by our heavenly Father—Who is also our heavenly Boss. He is always watching, so we best be on our best behavior all the time.
I would be very interested in hearing some ideas of how to inject creativity and productivity into a dull job. Your comments could be someone else’s game-changer!