Getting Your Career Right
As a man, having a meaningful career is important to our self-esteem and our traditional role as breadwinners for our families. A meaningful job gives us value, and the knowledge that we are contributing and supporting our loved ones, community and society in a positive and constructive way.
It’s important to focus on getting our career right, as for the majority of us, we will spend more time during our working years with our colleagues from work, than we will with our wives, children and friends.
Many Christians have no plans, goals or focus for the future, and spend more time planning their next overseas holiday or buying a second-hand car, than thinking about the plan that God has for their career and lives. However if we really want to move ahead to where God wants to take us, we need to take seriously our next ten years, not just the next ten days.
God really WANTS us to enjoy our work
God really WANTS us to enjoy our work, not slave for five days, so we can take two days off as a reward. As Ecclesiastes 3:22 says, “So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot.”
Sadly, many of us see our job as that thing we have to do so we can serve God in the areas that matter, like church, worship leading or other part-time ministry we might be involved in. While being actively hands-on in your church is really important, remember that for the majority of people in New Zealand, we are the only gospel they will see when we are at work as mechanics, dentists or teachers.
Therefore it’s really important that we take a good long look at our career, so we can be employed in the role God wants us to be in, not just a random position that popped up six months ago when we just happened to be looking.
I find it crazy that most people make their career choices based on what jobs are available right now on trademe or seek.co.nz, rather than thinking what their medium and long-terms plans are career wise. However by having a goal to head towards (even if it’s a rough one), you automatically receive a compass setting that you can start to measure your progress towards. As Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty.”
My future career
A great question to give yourself some clarity about God’s plan for your future is “What do I want to do for my career by 2032?”
It’s really important to stop thinking about your next job, and instead focus on your career.
Firstly pray and ask for God's wisdom in where you should head in the future. As Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Really expect God to speak to you and open your eyes to His will.
After you have done this, start to think about and write down answers to the following questions:
- What types of jobs do I enjoy?
- What am I passionate about?
- What are my natural gifts and skills?
- What has God “put in my hand”?
After you have some good ideas from here, start to think about:
- How can I start moving towards these type of jobs in the short-term?
- Do I need to do some more study?
- What contacts can I make and networks can I create?
My future me
Once you are starting to get a good handle on this question, ask yourself another one – “Who do I want to be in 2032?”
This question is a lot deeper and is focused more on our character, rather than our skills. Ask yourself about who you want to be as a husband, father, friend and employee in the future. Specific questions include:
- Who are the people that matter most in my life?
- Am I making wise choices for my long-term health?
- Am I making wise choices for my long-term financial security?
- What types of things matter to me and will I stand for?
- What are healthy interests and hobbies I can develop for the future?
Get a long-term vision
As Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. Having no sense of direction can mean we waste too much time going in directions that God is not calling us into.
Praying and seeking God for a vision and goals for your career and life is vital, and as we move forward in 2023, I encourage you to start prayerfully thinking about these two questions, asking God for His guidance and wisdom in your steps.
Tom O’Neil has spoken at PK events and formerly served on the PK Board. Tom is a life coach, career specialist and Managing Director of CV.CO.NZ