The Bible says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV) In fact, work may be a part of God's, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) I've had a few jobs in my life--I worked as the summer receptionist at an elementary school, I was a resident assistant in my dormitory, a sales associate in a department store, I was a high school science teacher, and one night I sold concessions at an NFL game (that's a story for a separate blog post...) now I work as the school district's science administrator.
Always a hard worker, I understand the value of work. I even have difficulty separating myself from my work. My weekend to-do list usually includes something work-related right along with laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, and sweeping the garage. My husband has told me to stop checking work email when I am not at work. Sometimes, I teeter on workaholism, because truly I am committed to my work. As a classroom teacher, I had to remind myself that I did not teach science - I teach kids. In my current role, it is not unusual for me to walk into a classroom and be introduced as the "science teacher boss." They say it jokingly. I hope they see me as someone who cares about students, cares about teachers, and someone who serves.
Recently, I have felt overwhelmed by my job duties. Additional duties have been added to my job description, but 40 hours is 40 hours (and I'm probably putting in 50). I constantly feel pressured to do more, attend more meetings, bring scores up, and when they are up, the accomplishment receives only a mere mention--a bullet point on the school board agenda that is never discussed. Recently, I've been so tied up with work, that I've barely done anything to promote my books, besides continuing this blog! :-)
My favorite job was working as a sales associate at Dillards (2000-2002). I looked forward to my time on the schedule. I worked in women's accessories (hosiery, bedroom slippers, hats, etc.), but when things were slow in our department, we were encouraged to walk the store finding customers to assist. Dillards valued its employees. Each week we received store gift cards for top sales in our department, top sales for the weekend, lowest dollar amount of returned merchandise, number of surveys completed by our customers, etc. It was an hourly job, so we were compensated for our time. The leadership always encouraged good service, and they didn't overlook employees who did good things for the store, we were acknowledged and rewarded - frequently.
I think that as a responsible professional, it is not external motivation that is sought, but appreciation, validation, and the acknowledgment of effort. The Bible also says we should, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." We cannot control the actions of others, but we do control our own actions. How do we show appreciation to those who work for us or with us? What little gift, or token of appreciation, do you have planned to show someone their hard work has not gone unnoticed? (Christmas is just a few weeks away...!)
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Thank you for reading,
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.