Ask Salt&Light: How do I start my career on the right footing?
Gerald Tan // June 24, 2019, 4:33 pm
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash.
I have just started working. Would you be able to give me some key pointers about how I can be an effective contributor at work as a Christian.
Lim A W, 24, management associate
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
As Christians, we are reminded that we need to be a good example to those around us in all areas of our lives.
For most people, that is easier said than done, especially in our workplaces. Here are three tips to help you start your career in the right direction.
Know the purpose of your work
Are you working just to earn a living or is there a greater purpose to your work?
Romans 12:2 reminds us that our identity is not to be conformed to this world.
In the book Every Good Endeavour, author Timothy Keller reminds us that work is a form of worship to God. We are called to serve God through our work, regardless of where we are working or what we are tasked to do.
In the Bible, Romans 12:2 also reminds us that our identity is not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the constant renewal of our minds so that we can do what is pleasing to God.
Therefore it is important for us to be God-centric and to serve Him through our work. When we approach our work from this perspective, it adds meaning and purpose to our jobs beyond just earning a living and it also guides us in our everyday work behaviour and decisions.
Gain self awareness
Each of us has natural talents and abilities as well as learnt skills that we can use in our work to serve God.
Being aware of them allows us to know what forms of work we can be effective in. It also helps us manage expectations we place on ourselves when we compare or are compared to others at the workplace.
A simple way to gain self awareness is to reflect on your VIPS: Values (your beliefs), Interests (your interests), Personality (how you tend to behave and react) and Skills (your talents).
Self awareness is not gained overnight. It is a process of regular self reflection about our VIPS, through the situations we face and the choices we make.
Loving thy neighbour
Actions speaks louder than words and, as Christians, we know this as the “love thy neighbour” (Mark 12:31) commandment.
Our purpose in God transforms our workplace interactions from purely professional relationships into acts of love and kindness.
“Loving thy neighbour” should be the basis for your actions at the workplace.
It transforms our workplace interactions from purely professional relationship into acts of love and kindness such as supporting a colleague who is struggling with work, keeping your cool under stressful situations, forgiving an uncooperative colleague, giving words of affirmation to colleagues and bosses.
Showing acts of love and kindness is easier said than done at workplaces.
Office politics, work conflicts, work style clashes; leader- follower issues are just some situations where “loving thy neighbour” applies too.
Therefore it is important for us to seek God for guidance and wisdom in managing difficult situations and be willing to yield to what is considered pleasing to Him. You may also learn from other trusted fellow Christians who have been longer in the workplace and find out how they coped with their situation.
Starting your career on the right footing is important, so hopefully these three steps will get you started well.
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