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, May 3, 2013

The Coca-Cola Company? Was She Joking?

Last week I quoted Behnamn Tabriai and Michael Terrell as saying one of the biggest reasons people struggle to find meaning in their work is because they “aren’t aligned.” The way they put it is: “...people don’t build an external reality that is in line with their internal selves and values. When your inside world and your outside world are misaligned, it’s easy to feel frustrated, unhappy, and adrift.”

Tabriai and Terrell are touching on something very fundamental: “aligning” our behavior with our core values. When we don’t do this, we certainly do feel uncomfortable with ourselves. Conversely, when we do this, we have a sense of satisfaction. This is true whether it’s in the context of the workplace or anywhere else. And, as Tabriai and Terrell point out, the feelings of satisfaction that come when our values and our behavior are in alignment “contribute significantly to how well we perform and our sense of meaning.”
So what happens when a person’s a line of work constantly rubs against his or her deeply held values? If the “rub” is big enough, it may require a change of location. That is, a different job. A follower of Christ who is making a living through the propagation of pornography, should be uncomfortable.

But I suspect most of the readers of this blog are not dealing with that degree of misalignment. For most followers of Christ who suffer from a lack of alignment between their everyday work and their inner values, the issues are much more subtle. I am of the opinion that many followers of Christ who lack fulfillment and deep meaning in their everyday work are in this condition not because their job is in need of adjustment, but because their ideas about work itself are in need of adjustment.
I once interviewed a high-level executive in a famous worldwide company who told me, “We don’t find meaning in our work, we bring meaning to our work.” These profound words came from the lips of Bonnie Wurzbacher, then Senior Vice President of Global Accounts for The Coca-Cola Company, who, as a follower of Christ, learned to bring meaning to her work with The Coca-Cola Company by seeing how this work “fulfilled and advanced God’s purposes for the world.”

The Coca-Cola Company? Was she joking?
Not at all. I’ll pick up from here next week.

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