Have you ever found yourself looking for advice on how to get ahead in your career?
10 steps for a Healthier Work Life
5 Ways to Succeed in the Workplace
7 Keys to Getting the Promotion You Always Wanted
8 Communication Skills to Become a Better Leader
4 Habits to Improve Your Confidence
11 Positions of an Office Chair
13 Maneuvers to Master the Break Room Vending Machine
Perhaps the last two are irrelevant, but article titles, such as those above, attempt to make sense of the “corporate ladder.” They prescribe a perfect formula for success and encourage laborers like you and I to focus on improving our status amongst our peers. At some point in our careers, we encounter our unforgiving friend, comparison. It comes in many shapes, but most commonly comparison attempts to make us feel inadequate. It looks around at the office and tells you that you need to be as good or better than those around you in order to gain an advantage. It will encourage you to seek approval, desire recognition, and strive for advancement. While some of these principles aren’t necessarily bad in the right context, we need to consider the motivation behind them.
Blogs, articles and instructions from friends and family can be useful tools for personal growth, but they tend revolve around self-promotion. Such worldly advice focuses on how to selfishly get ahead in your career. Assert yourself in meetings. Strategically position yourself in front of your boss. Manage and maintain your image. The overarching theme emphasizes how you can overcome obstacles and achieve success through striving to advance your position.
Take it to heart, and find yourself solely focused on your best interests. Soon each career move will bring the stress of considering how to get closer to that promotion, corner office or paycheck. The endless search for competitive perfection can quickly lead down a path of striving, which abruptly halts at a dead-end of anxiety and disappointment.
These thoughts, often motivated by unhealthy expectations of climbing the corporate ladder must be checked.
Seek advice that is unchanging. What does our heavenly Father say about work and promotions? What does His “10 steps to get ahead in the workplace” blog recommend? Throughout my thirteen years of various positions and jobs, I’ve come to find out that He is more concerned with our hearts and motives than our career goals.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:24
“Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” Colossians 3:22
When you look at the history of Biblical heroes, you’ll find that most of these prominent men and women lived in complete obscurity prior to their promotion. Joseph was in a pit and imprisoned before he became Pharaoh’s right hand man. Moses spent forty years in the desert before God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. David was found tending sheep before being called upon to defeat Goliath and become King. Ruth was diligently gleaning in wheat fields for little reward. Paul spent fourteen years in Syria and Cilicia with no corner office, three-point sermon or business plan.
These figures of endurance emerged from places of pain, isolation and often rejection. They never strived to receive promotion. But, when the time came for them to experience advancement into their new roles, it was due to favor received through God’s faithfulness.
Although it’s quite possible we may never see earthly promotion, He assures us that we will receive an eternal promotion. Continue to press on, work with excellence, give God the glory and revel in everything bright and beautiful He has for you.
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.