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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

What Makes A "Good" Job "Good?"


What makes a "good" job "good?"

Pay is not the most important factor for most people. Of course, having a job that doesn't pay enough for basic necessities is a problem. But pay alone does not determine whether a person feels the job he or she has is a "good" one.

Matching one's strengths and abilities with one's work is a factor. Booker T. Washington, who was George Washington Carver's boss at Tuskegee Institute, remarked that Carver was a poor administrator. It would have been a mistake for Booker T. Washington to have "promoted" Carver to an administrative role. His best fit was in the lab.

But is it possible for a person to have a job that matches one's strengths and yet still not feel he or she has a "good" job?" Yes. Other factors come into play.

One of the biggest factors is meaning. Working with no sense of meaning can be drudgery, even if the job fits one's strengths. Making progress at work (although this is a vital factor in job enthusiasm), may not be enough either. Making progress toward something that has meaning, however, is another kettle of fish.

The big question then becomes, "How can work have meaning?"

Bonnie Wurzbacher, former Vice-President of Global Accounts for The Coca-Cola Company, once told me, "we don't find meaning in our work, we bring meaning to our work." This is a profound truth. She went on to say, that until she understood  

Carver's work had meaning because he brought meaning to it. He understood what the biblical worldview is about, and how his work fit into it.

The amazing thing is, a biblical worldview provides as much meaning for the work of retail clerks and taxi cab drivers as it does for chemists and college professors.

This is why worldview matters. Hear Bonnie's comments in the video below:


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3 comments:

  1. This reminds me of a book I enjoyed by Patrick Lencioni, Three Signs of a Miserable Job. It captures your point in story form.

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  2. An amusing and informative tale that relates to this topic is Patrick Lencioni's book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. I recommend it.

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