I remember the days when I bounded out of bed, ready to seize the day.
Back then, work was a joy. My coworkers banded together as we found new solutions to fix problems. My chain of command was empowering. My duties were challenging and fresh, engaging my mind and abilities.
That was yesterday.
These days, the workplace has a certain sense of gloom. The economy hasn’t treated my company well. When I enter my building, it seems as if half the lights are dimmed, probably to save electricity. But it certainly doesn’t help the atmosphere.
Many of my coworkers have left through early retirement or have been forced out through downsizing. Those that are left have the duties of two or three, with no other resources to call on.
All the managers are stressed, trying to keep the fiscal boat afloat while still delivering a valuable product. At times the duties are creative and challenging, but I mostly find new ways to tell a continuing saga of sagging revenues, depressed demand and a bleak future. It’s a crummy position to be in, for sure.
I sense that I’m not alone. During the recession my friends went from the rolls of short-term unemployed to long-term. Others were underemployed, finding work as temps or part time workers, benefits trimmed or stripped outright.
Others had to do way more with way less. We are still recovering.
Rather than let my employment challenges drag me down, I’ve decided to take back the workplace for God’s glory, and I’m doing it through an attitude of gratitude. The seed of thankfulness was first planted by scripture, “In all things give thanks.” It was watered by Ann Voskamp, with her book, One Thousand Gifts, where she dares me to “live fully,” right where I am.
So, I’m putting the challenge into action. And it’s working.
First of all, I’m thankful I even have a job. When I think about my friends Steve and Becky, and a host of others stuck in pervasive unemployment, my complaints just feel wrong.
I’m thankful for the challenge, and even the frustrations. Through fire and trial, I’m becoming God’s man.
I’m thankful for the out-of-control schedule, the 117 unopened e-mail messages and the drop-everything-projects. I think there’s some patience to be gained in all this.
I’m thankful for my coworkers, and I often find myself saying this sort of prayer: “Lord, bless them in the stress.” We’re in this together, and using a calm voice of reason might just work wonders.
I’m thankful for every penny that my employer sends my way. I haven’t always earned it.
In every way, I’m grateful for this crummy job.
Don’t Worry, Be Thankful
In Philippians 4, Paul invites people to rejoice in the Lord always. Always? Even when Christians are being persecuted by Rome? Even when Paul himself is in prison? Always? Even when someone I love is dying? Even when I have lost my job? “Do not worry about anything,” Paul continues. Instead, we are called to present our worries to God with thanksgiving. Many of our readers in the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, with a turkey dinner and pumpkin pie. We invite you to reflect on gratitude and thankfulness and consider sharing some thoughts with your family this week from our theme Don’t Worry, Be Thankful.