America is undergoing a tectonic shift in attitudes toward work. When European immigrants first came to the shores of North America seeking religious freedom, their view of work was Biblical. They saw work as a gift from God that allowed them to provide for their families and improve the quality of their lives. Consequently, they viewed work as a good thing that should be done well and in ways that honor God. In other words, they were steeped in the Christian work ethic.
Because Americans exemplified the Christian work ethic, our country eventually became the most productive and prosperous nation on earth. Average Americans came to enjoy more material wealth than the people of any other country. That’s the good news. The bad news is that over time Americans began to be taught a fantasyland attitude that claims work should be fun.
A rapidly growing cultural phenomenon in America is an attitude toward work claiming if your job isn’t fun, get another job. This attitude, in turn, has created the phenomenon known as ghost employees—employees who simply vanish when their jobs aren’t fun. They don’t give notice, they don’t formally quit, they just walk out and don’t come back.
I would like to meet the huckster who started the work must be fun craze that is sweeping America. That individual is a charlatan. Let me state from that outset, it is great to have a job you enjoy and no one should be condemned for leaving one job for a better one in this regard. Having said this, it is important to understand that the best job in the world is not always fun. Here are some facts young people in America should be taught about work: 1) If your job was always fun, we would call it play not work, 2) Jobs aren’t always fun, which is why you are paid to do them, and 3) People don’t pay you to have fun, they pay you to do jobs they don’t want to do or cannot do.
For example, it is probably not fun for an electrician to climb around in your attic in temperatures of more than 100 degrees rewiring your house. This is why he can charge you $75 per hour or more to do that job. It’s probably not fun for a plumber to climb around under your house knocking away spider webs and watching for snakes to install a new drain pipe. That is why he can charge you $75 per hour or more to do that job. Jobs such as these aren’t always fun, but they are always important and they allow those who do them to make a good living.
Expecting jobs to always be fun is hedonism. A hedonist is an individual focused solely on self-indulgent pleasure. Jobs are not good because they are fun and are not bad because they aren’t fun. Jobs are good because they make a contribution to a greater good and allow you to provide for yourself and your family. Fortunately, God has a cure for this hedonistic attitude toward work. It’s the Christian work ethic.
In today’s increasingly hedonistic society, employers cry out for people who will work hard, work smart, and do the jobs that aren’t always fun. They need people who are honest, responsible, dependable, diligent, and industrious team players who solve problems instead of causing them, prevent conflict instead of instigating it, find ways to get the job done right, on time, and within budget, and persevere when the job isn’t fun. In other words, they need employees who exemplify the Christian work ethic.
Applying the Christian work ethic faithfully and consistently will help you excel at work and make contributions that are more important than having fun. But going one step further and role modeling your work ethic for fun-seeking coworkers might do even more for your career. It will help you gain the influence necessary to assist less motivated coworkers in becoming high-performing employees who make your organization more competitive. People who can improve the performance of their coworkers are valuable assets to employers. Being this kind of asset will go a long way toward enhancing your career. Be part of God’s cure for the growing hedonistic attitude toward work; exemplify the Christian work ethic.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com