It’s fun to talk about God’s calling when we are talking about a career we love or even our future dreams. But what about when you don’t like your job? What is there to talk about when you are stuck in a job you hate, that seems menial, or that you makes you want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork.
Does the doctrine of vocation still apply?
Can you be called to a place that makes you miserable?
God can and God does call us to work in places that might not be the best places of employment. Does that mean we should put up with being treated horrible or that we shouldn’t consider employment elsewhere? By no means! But it does mean that until we find a different job, we are called to the one we are at.
In Genesis we learn that after the fall, the earliest vocations of man and woman become difficult.
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken.” - Genesis 3:17-19
Work was created as a good thing. God gives Adam and Eve callings even before sin enters the world. But once sin enters the picture things change. There isn’t a job in the world that is stress-free. Even the best job in the world will be accompanied by days of pain and toil.
This is evidence of the broken world that we live in.
What Do I Do if I’m Called To a Job I Hate?
So you didn’t get that dream job that your fancy college-degree and a butt-load of debt promised to get you. What does that mean for God’s calling in your life? Do you have one? Is it not what you thought it would be? While you may not like your job and it may not be what you hoped it might be, there are some helpful things to consider when the calling you have today is not the calling you hope to have someday.
There is a myth floating around these days that has some folks feeling down—particularly those twenty or thirtysomethings who expected to find themselves settled in a job that makes them wake with the dawn and leap out bed grinning because their work completes them. - Read more
Your job isn’t your only vocation.
Your job is a calling from God. And it is a place that God’s desires to work with and through you. But if that job does not utilize all your gifts and passions, it is important to also realize that your job isn’t your only vocation.
In fact, in our world of entrepreneurship, people frequently make a point that we shouldn’t quit our day job in order to pursue our dream job. Your dream job that you work on at night and on weekends might be a calling that you pursue alongside your day job. Or your volunteer work for the local non-profit might be the place that utilizes your gifts and passions in a way that your workplace can’t.
You might not be passionate about your job or even feel like it is the place that you should be at long-term, but their are other significant areas in which God wants to use you and your gifts. And these other areas are important callings to consider.
Your job might be primarily about your calling to your family.
Luther in his conversations about vocation actually primarily categorized the workplace within the vocation of family. In Luther’s understanding, the job you had was primarily about fulfilling the vocation of providing for a family.
It wasn’t until more recent history that jobs were seen as a place to pursue your passions and find fulfillment. It used to be that your job was what you did to put food on the table.
You might not like your job, but it pays the bills. And if it is your responsibility to provide a home for your family and put dinner on the table, you might have to work a difficult, unfulfilling job for the sake of the people you love.
Your job is an opportunity to serve.
In that same light, you’re work becomes an opportunity to serve. God doesn’t need our works. We don’t seek to fulfill our vocations because God needs it or it is going to earn us some spiritual points. We do it because our neighbors need it.
Even if you don’t like your job, you are serving someone. You are serving the customers that drive you crazy. You are serving the boss that makes you miserable. And if all else fails, you are serving your family by working hard at a job you don’t look forward to doing.
So you may not like your job. Most of us at some point in our life have a difficult, miserable job. But even in the midst of a job you hate, God’s calling is still present. And he has called you to the place you are to serve those are you in and through your workplace, he has called you to serve your family by your job, and he has given you all kinds of opportunities to have other vocations alongside of the work you get paid to do.