Work can be a daily grind; a hard, monotonous set of thankless tasks. In the midst of the toil, many are plagued by a lack of purpose, confused as to what to do and who to become. And while some of our vocations may seem more overtly meaningful than others’, the truth is that most of us work because we have to. It is a means to an end―survival. So a person of faith can rightly ask the question, how does my work life and faith in Jesus connect?
Every kind of work is a sacred calling. However, again, how does my work life and faith in Jesus connect? How does Sunday relate to Monday? What difference does the gospel make when I am stocking shelves, turning wrenches, or answering phones?
“The priesthood of all believers did not turn all Christians into pastors. But it did turn every kind of work into sacred calling.”
These are the types of questions that commonly haunt the everyday, ordinary Christian. For those who are serious and sincere in their faith, but who are not part of a pastoral staff or religious nonprofit, what role do they play in God’s kingdom on a day-to-day basis?
Connecting the dots between the Christian faith and missionary work is easy. Connecting the dots for truck drivers, politicians, union leaders, the police and dental assistants is hard. They are therefore entitled to ask, over and over again, how does my work life and faith connects?
How Does My Work Life And Faith Fits Every Kind Of ‘Sacred’ Work?
Gene E. Veith’s book God at Work has quickly become a classic in the Faith and Work titles. Written in 2002, Veith approaches the conversation, employing the Lutheran framework for vocation that emerged amidst the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.
The Reformers, especially Luther, sought to reclaim the notion of calling (vocatio in Latin) for the Christian laity.
Veith writes, “In scrutinizing the existing ecclesiastical system in light of the Gospel and the Scriptures. The Reformers insisted that priests and nuns and monastics did not have a special claim to God’s favor. But that laypeople, too could live the Christian life to its fullest.”
Work (Vocation), Life (Family, Citizenship, Church), And The Priesthood
This dovetailed nicely with the well-known reformational emphasis on the priesthood of all believers. The doctrine that “all Christians enjoy the same access to Christ and are spiritually equal before Him.”
“The doctrine of vocation, though it has to do with human work, is essentially about God’s work. It is also about how God works in and through our lives.”
The “priesthood of all believers,” Veith clarifies, did not turn all Christians into pastors. But it did turn “every kind of work into sacred calling.”
Building upon this foundation, Luther and the Reformers recognized multiple callings for every Christian. This includes the calling to work, family, citizenship, and church.
Two-Kingdom’s Model: The Super-Efficiency Of One Compared To Another
Each of these vocational categories receive a chapter in Veith’s book. But, before diving into these, he considers “How God Works through Human Beings.” There, he employs the Lutheran Two-Kingdom’s model to explain how God works through means.
Following Luther, Veith puts forward distinct spiritual and earthly kingdoms. He explained that God uses the spiritual kingdom to restore sinners and to rule in their hearts, equipping them for everlasting life.
Just as God uses the means of the church to accomplish the purposes of his spiritual kingdom, he also works through means of the earthly kingdom, especially natural law, to accomplish his plans.
He as well works through the so-called “secular” vocations of people in the earthly kingdom. “That is, He institutes families, work, and organized societies, giving human beings particular parts to play in His vast design.”
How Does My Work Life And Faith Addresses The Purpose of Vocation?
Veith also addresses “The Purpose of Vocation,” “Finding Your Vocations,” and “Your Calling as a Worker.”
He writes that vocation is played out, not just in extraordinary acts, the great things we will do for the Lord. And not in the great success we envision in our careers someday. But in the realm of the ordinary.
He then encourages that we demonstrate our ‘vocation’ in whatever we face in the often humdrum present. Which can be while washing the dishes, buying groceries, going to work, driving the kids somewhere, or hanging out with friends. He believes this is the realm into which we have been called and in which our faith bears fruit in love.
Connecting Work-Life, Faith, Today’s Misery And Tomorrow’s Greatness?
This emphasis on the “ordinary” is right and beautiful and has gained greater traction in recent years. An arguable extension of the “faith and work” movement has been the revival of interest in everyday liturgies. This see all of life as sacred and holy, purposeful before God, despite how extraordinary it may or may not be.
Veith goes on to say, that “the doctrine of vocation, though it has to do with human work, is essentially about God’s work and how God works in and through our lives.” If there were a one-sentence summary to the book, this would be it.
He repeats this idea at the end of chapter five, reflecting on those who responded to the planes crashing into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Those responders insisted their bravery was simply, “doing their jobs.”
Veith responded this way, “That is the doctrine of vocation. Ordinary men and women expressing their love and service to their neighbor, ‘just doing our jobs.’”
Veith’s God at Work made a deep impact upon its release in 2002 and continues to occupy an important place in the ongoing conversation on faith, work, and vocation.
May God at Work remain not only on the shelves of those teaching and preaching about Christian vocation. But may it find its way to the bedside table of all Christians, that each may become a mature and ministering worker of God.
Welcome to WorkLife Feedarticles and site-files indexing and adaptation series.
ERLC Editor’s Note: The original article is part of ERLC’s primer series on Christians ethics. It is where a respected leader and thinker recommends and gives a summary overview of a book that helps orient readers to a certain aspect of ethics and philosophy. This series is designed to equip the local church to engage foundational texts of Christian ethics. Find the entire series here.
Many successful companies were born in people’s dorm rooms, garages, and basements. So what is it about success start-off in basements, garages, and bedrooms? Possibly nothing.
Perhaps it is just normal for new or young entrepreneurs with big ideas and little money to spend, to just start from where they are and what they have. Not just wisdom, but prudence that comes out of constraints, and determination that some expenses (including a proper office space) should be out of the question in the early stages of building a business.
Amazon Online Book Store – Jeff Bezos (Home Garage)
Amazon began as an online book store in Jeff Bezos’ home garage. In 1994, Jeff Bezos decided to take advantage of the internet’s potential. He quit his New York hedge fund job and drove to Bellevue, Washington, where he rented a house.
Bezos spent a year programming the site which initially sold books out of his garage, and in July 1995, success start-off for Jeff and Amazon.com went live.
In a 1998 interview , Bezos said, “I know why people move out of garages. It’s not because they ran out of room. It’s because they ran out of electric power. They have so many computers in the garage that circuit breakers kept flipping … we couldn’t plug in a vacuum cleaner, or a hair dryer anymore in the house.”
“It’s not where you start but where you finish that counts.”
Facebook Idea – Mark Zuckerberg’s (Harvard Freshman Dorm Room)
Mark Zuckerberg created a website called Facemash in 2003 while studying at Harvard. The site let students judge other people’s levels of attractiveness, but was quickly taken down after two days.
Keeping the momentum going, a year later, Zuckerberg and his friends Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes created The Facebook. Thereafter, success start-off and the social networking site quickly spread to colleges across the country.
In the years since, Facebook has come under attack over privacy concerns. While testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Commerce Committee during the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, Zuckerberg often cited his humble roots, explaining , “The history of how we got here is we started off in my dorm room with not a lot of resources.”
On a visit back to Albuquerque, Gates said, “There’s no better symbol for the entrepreneur than the humble garage. Of course … we founded our company in a garage to preserve the pile of money I got from my parents, but I assume other people do it because they’re poor.”
“Things are never quite as scary, when you have a best friend”
Google – Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Susan Wojcicki’s Garage)
According to a Business Insider profile of Susan Wojcicki, in 1998, Wojcicki and her husband, Dennis Troper, bought a four-bedroom home in Menlo Park, California, and rented the garage out to two Stanford doctoral students to help pay their mortgage.
The students happened to be Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were working on their new company, Google. Wojcicki eventually became the 16th employee at Google, which later moved to an office space in 1999.
In 2019, Page and Brin stepped down from the company, writing, “We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.”
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people”
Apple – Steve Jobs (Parents’ Garage)
Back in 1976, Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage in Silicon Valley played a role in the early stages of Apple. However, Jobs and his co-founder, Steve Wozniak, quickly outgrew the space, Wozniak told Bloomberg Businessweek.
According to a Washington Post article, Wozniak has dubbed the idea that Apple was “founded” in a garage “a bit of a myth,” but he also admitted that the garage is part of the company’s story.
In 2014, he told Businessweek, “The garage represents us better than anything else, but we did no designs there. We would drive the finished products to the garage, make them work and then we’d drive them down to the store that paid us cash.”
The garage, from where success start-off for Jobs, is attached to his childhood home in Los Altos, California, and has since been designated as a historic site .
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Walt Disney – Walt Disney(Uncle’s Backyard Garage)
In 1922, Walt Disney created “Alice in Cartoonland,” which were seven-minute bits combining animation and live-action. But Disney was cheated by a New York film distributor and eventually had to move to Hollywood to find other work in the movie industry.
In Hollywood, Disney lived with his uncle and set up shop in his garage drawing cartoons. According to Encyclopedia Britannica , after hearing that his “Alice” cartoon was still popular, Disney and his brother Roy purchased a $200 used camera and set up Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. From there they created the entire “Alice Comedies” series and success start-off for them.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure”
Under Armour – Kevin Plank (Grandmother’s Basement)
According to a Business Insider profile of Under Armour, In 1996 , Kevin Plank founded the company with the goal of creating athletic wear that was able to wick away sweat and be worn as a base layer for intense activity.
At the time, Plank was living in his grandmother’s townhouse in Georgetown, where he used the basement as his office.
In an interview with The Washington Post , Plank said, “I remember the guys from the NFL called me up one day and they said, ‘Kevin, we’re going to be in D.C. today, we want to come by the office and see you,’ which had me looking around Grandma’s house thinking ‘Oh my gosh, don’t do that.'”
“Quitting employment is the best decision I ever made in my adult life. There is a lot of contentment in building your own empire. It is step at a time but with so much satisfaction as you climb the growth staircase.”
Spanx – Sara Blakely (Her Apartment In Georgia)
Sara Blakely was working as a door-to-door fax machine salesperson when she came up with the idea for Spanx. While wearing open-toe shoes, she decided to cut the feet off of a pair of pantyhose and realized she was on to something.
As explained in a story by Forbes , Blakely spent two years carefully researching and preparing for the launch of Spanx while also working a full-time job. She then went to a pitch meeting and convinced Neiman Marcus to give her product a chance. Using Neiman Marcus as leverage, Blakely was then able to also convince Bloomingdale’s, Saks and Bergdorf Goodman to give Spanx a shot.
But even then, she had no corporate space. She’d package and ship the Spanx orders from home with the help of her boyfriend , and took phone calls from her bathtub or bed, according to the Forbes article.
Laurie Ann Goldman came to help Blakely, becoming the fifth employee and eventual CEO. In an interview with Forbes , she recalled her first office being the kitchen in Blakely’s Georgia apartment.
According to Forbes, as of June 2019, Blakely had a net worth of $1 billion.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Tumblr – David Karp (Childhood Bedroom)
In 2007, David Karp founded Tumblr, the micro-blogging and social-networking site. At the time, Karp was working from his bedroom in his mother’s small apartment in New York. According to The Guardian , on the night the site went live, it gained 75,000 users.
In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune about Karp’s love for computers, Karp’s mom said, “David would come running through the apartment saying, ‘Mom! Mom! There’s this and this and this!’ And I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. Because it was a whole other language.”
The Washington Post reported that in 2013, Tumblr sold to Yahoo for $1.1 billion. But in 2019, WordPress bought the blogging site for a rumored mere $3 million.
“If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to help build theirs”
Dell – Michael Dell (University of Texas Dorm Room/Garage)
In 1984, most computers were mailed in separate parts, with consumers expected to assemble them themselves. Michael Dell wanted to sell custom-built computers designed for individual company’s specific needs.
The original company name was PC’s Limited , which he started in his college dorm room at UT Austin. Needing more space, Dell moved to his nearby garage, eventually dropping out of college to pursue Dell full time and his success start-off after.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”
Harley Davidson Motorcycle – William Harley (Wooden Shed)
In 1901 , William S. Harley drew a blueprint for an engine that could fit inside a bicycle. In 1903 , William and his brother Arthur built the first Harley Davidson motorcycle in a 10-by-15-foot wooden shed.
The shed’s door had “Harley Davidson Motor Company” written on it.
Today, Harley Davidson is valued at about $2.8 billion. In 2019, there were an estimated 1,569 dealerships around the world.
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed”
Yankee Candle – Mike Kittredge (Family’s Kitchen)
In 1969, the then 16-year-old Mike Kittredge melted crayons and canning wax to make his mother a candle for Christmas in a milk carton.
A neighbor was also interested, eventually inspiring Kittredge to design and craft the candles in his family’s kitchen, where the company known now as Yankee Candle was eventually born. That was from where his success start-off.
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you”
Hewlett Packard – Bill Hewlett and David Packard (One-car Garage)
After bonding on a camping trip, Bill Hewlett and David Packard began renting a garage in Palo Alto and working there part-time. In 1938, the duo created Hewlett-Packard’s first product , the resistance-capacitance audio oscillator, which was used to test sound equipment.
Mattel – Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler (Garage)
In 1944 , Matt Matson, a skilled craftsman, was working out of his garage in Southern California when Elliot Handler asked if he could build some of his picture frame ideas. Handler’s wife Ruth then took the samples and sold them for $3,000 at a local photography studio.
In October of 1944, after the frames were a huge success, Matson and Handler decided to combine their last names, and Mattel was born.
While building frames in the garage, Handler also made dollhouse furniture out of the leftover wood from the picture frames. The furniture became a huge success and the company eventually pivoted towards making toys. The pivot paid off, their success start-off and as today Mattel is valued at about $3 billion.
“Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical”
Empires From Sand Castles Or Side Hustles – Get The Passion Out
Two billionaire brothers raised in a terraced house in Blackburn are on the brink of buying supermarket giant Asda. Mohsin Issa, 49, and sibling Zuber, 48 could rubber stamp the mega money buy-out soon with a deal to take over the supermarket giant Asda.
Mohsin and Zuber Issa, self-made tycoons are part of an expected £6.5billion takeover of Britain’s third biggest grocer.
It would cap a remarkable rise for the brothers whose mother and father came to Britain from India in the 1960s with little to their name.
Billionaire Brothers Started Out In A Garage
Mohsin, 49, and Zuber, 48, the billionaire brothers started out in a garage which their dad, who had worked in a woollen mill, bought.
They branched out on their own, first renting a petrol station for two years. Then in 2001 buying their first forecourt, a derelict freehold site in Bury, and formed Euro Garages.
Their empire, the EG Group, now has almost 6,000 sites across 10 countries, from the UK to the US and Australia. They run outlets for Greggs, Starbucks and KFC, and employs 44,000 people.
In 2017, it bought 77 Little Chef roadside restaurants.
Zuber said: “We grew (EG) from nothing.”
“We’ve been on the pumps, we’ve been stocking the shelves, cleaning the toilets. You do everything.”
“And once you do the foundation work, it’s no different wherever you go in the world. It’s a petrol station; you’re selling fuel, you’re selling coffee, you’re selling convenience.”
Mohsin said the company “makes more money selling a cup of coffee than we would do on an average tank fill-up”.
Mohsin, who is married and with two grown-up children, runs the business day-to-day. While Zuber is responsible for strategy and acquisitions.
A Strong Giving Connection To A Starting Root
Sources describe the low-profile brothers as humble, with a strong connection to their Blackburn roots.
They have just opened a £35million HQ in the town and in 2012 set-up local football team Euro Garages FC.
The brothers also set-up the ISSA Foundation which funds projects promoting health, educating and tackling poverty in the UK and abroad. The foundation also bought an MRI scanner for Blackburn Royal Hospital.
Starting Off On A Billionaire Wealth Journey From Blackburn’s Terraced Streets
In 2017 they bought a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse in London’s Kensington for £25million, which is now being converted into a luxury home.
Meanwhile, it is just a 10 minute drive from Blackburn’s terraced streets to wide open spaces of the town’s millionaire’s row overlooking the rolling Lancashire hills.
It is here that the siblings are building five giant homes for themselves and their relatives.
As their petrol station business started to expand after the turn of the millennium, Zuber and Mohsin wanted to stay in the same area and moved with their families to a newly built large detached home.
Their parents still live in the area, close to the local mosque. But now it seems they will be joining their sons in a row of five incredible mansions, complete with basement swimming pools, on the edge of the town.
In a barber shop on a sloping street where they used to live in an end terraced house, the family are fondly remembered.
“They are good people, a very nice family” said one man. Zuber used to come in here to have his hair cut. They are good people who worked hard.”
A man strolling along the Issas old terraced street said: “They have done very well for themselves but they have stayed in Blackburn. “People have been talking about them buying Asda and are pleased for them. “They are well like people and have done well. Good luck to them.”
Billionaire Brothers Funding Model Of ASDA Deal
However, the money for the Asda takeover is coming from their personal fortunes. Private equity firm TDR, which owns half of the EG Group, is expected to put in a big chunk.
And it is believed Asda’s parent company, US giant Walmart, will retain a stake. Although the rumoured sale price is £5billion less than it paid for the chain in 1999.
Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty; Roy Rochlin/Getty Former First Lady Michelle Obama (left) and Valerie Jarrett /Michelle Obama Talks About Failure, Work-Life Balance
In the latest episode of her podcast, former First Lady Michelle Obama recounts her time in the workplace and why having women in leadership roles is so important.
Michelle Obama Talks About Life Switching Roles And Positive Impact To Leave Along
Wednesday’s episode between Obama, 56, and her former boss Valerie Jarrett, was a conversation that centers largely on work-life balance. Valerie went on to be a senior White House adviser.
Obama said that working with Jarrett, 63, served as a “important education.” This was not just because of the way Jarrett could command a room, but because of the effort she put in to taking time out for her daughter, Laura.
“Seeing some other female leaders making an effort to balance work and family life, makes others more productive. It gives a feel like, not just work had values, but our lives had value”
Remembering her time spent working under Jarrett (then deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley), the former first lady said to Jarrett on The Michelle Obama Podcast: “If Laura called, everything stopped … And you wouldn’t rush her. You know, you would answer her little 5-year-old questions. And then you would say, ‘Mommy will be home.’ Then you’d turn back around without skippin’ a beat, and be right back in it, and I thought — baller! Baller.”
Seeing Jarrett and some of the other female leaders making an effort to balance work and family life, Obama said, “made us all more productive, and feel like not just our work had values but our lives had value.”
Michelle Obama’s Work Application Interview Performance Amidst Life Crossroads
In their chat for The Michelle Obama Podcast, the two also detailed their first meeting. This was when Jarrett interviewed Obama for a role at the Chicago mayor’s office in the early 1990s.
The two had similar backgrounds, having both come to the public sector after working for law firms.
“I have to tell you Michelle, I can still remember you walking into my office, and you were so, you know, composed and confident,” Jarrett said. “And what did you do? You told me your story, which is unusual for people to do in an interview.”
“Failure is all part of life. I never want young people to think that failure isn’t a part of everybody’s journey”
That story was about Obama finding herself at a crossroads. She had lost both her father and one of her close friends within a year and had determined that she wanted to pursue a new path. According to Jarrett, the interview left her so impressed that she offered Obama a job on the spot, even without having “any authority” to do so.
After leaving Chicago politics, Jarrett went on to work as an adviser to President Barack Obama, serving in his administration from 2009 until 2017.
An Important Pathway Before Landing A Leadership Role
On Wednesday’s podcast, Mrs. Obama also shared stories about her conversations with her own daughters — specifically, 22-year-old Malia, now finishing college. She talked about the importance of paying your dues when it comes to landing a leadership role.
“I tried to make the point to Malia that the young people … who are my mentees, I reminded her that they started out, several of them, in the campaign, doing some of the grunt-iest jobs,” Mrs. Obama said.
“We are living, breathing role models – not just in what we say, but what we do”
Many of those who once volunteered for the campaign, or did entry-level work, she said, are now working alongside the Obamas.
“But the people who are with me now, and who now have responsibilities over my schedule, or they’ve helped run a big book tour, or they are running, our higher ground productions and working with Netflix, almost all those people started out doing some grunt work,” she said, laughing.
Michelle Obama Talks About Failure As A Part Of Everybody’s Journey
Equally important to working ones way up the ladder, Obama added, is learning that failure is all part of life.
“I never want young people to think that failure isn’t a part of everybody’s journey,” she said, noting that she failed the bar exam the first time she sat for the test.
“What does it do for me if … some kid thinks I’ve never had a failure. That, that’s the only way you can be first lady, is if you’re perfect? No one is,” she said.
“Strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.”
Elsewhere in the episode, she and Jarrett spoke about the need to use their platforms to encourage others.
“We are living, breathing role models — not just in what we say, but what we do,” said the former first lady. She added later in the conversation that those with large platforms are “setting the tone for people behind us” and should always be aware of how their words and behaviors might be perceived.
The words echoed Mrs. Obama’s past remarks about role models.
In a 2016 speech while campaigning for Hilary Clinton, she offered a damning review of then-candidate Donald Trump‘s remarks about women. She said, “Strong men — men who are truly role models — don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.”
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Getty Images for Berggruen Institute
With the passing of the iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, many Americans have poured encomiums on her. Some wants her memory to be a blessing, others have formed an RBG hashtag revolution. The hashtag followers are promising to fight every day, as did #RBG to achieve #EqualityForAll.
RBG (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) was until recently, the United States Supreme Court Justice. She is acclaimed to have lived an amazing life, impacting the lives of others before she died at 87, September 2020. She was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.
People were drawn to her for different reasons. For some, it is how she consistently delivered progressive votes on the most divisive social issues of the day. Issues such as abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care and affirmative action. Will a career advise from her take you from good to great?
Insight and nuggets of career advice from her can actually apply to everyone, regardless of career stage.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg And A Good Career Advice
Four years ago, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote an article in the New York Times in which she offered her advice for living.
In the article, she says: “Another often-asked question when I speak in public: “Do you have some good advice you might share with us?” Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day.
“In every good marriage,” she counseled, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf. I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”
“It helps to be a little deaf”
Her line, “it helps to be a little deaf,” might just be the best piece of career advice ever given. And, like so many of her insights, her intuition is firmly supported by research. Being deaf to thoughtless and unkind words is essential to having a successful and fulfilling career.
Resilience, Response To Criticism And Letting Go
For example, tens of thousands have taken the online test “How Do You React To Constructive Criticism?” And we’ve learned that, when receiving tough feedback, fewer than a quarter of people are really able to let go of their anger and start moving forward.
But those who can respond effectively to tough feedback (i.e., tuning out the unkind words) are 42% more likely to love their job.
Research has also shown that people who do well at forgiving others (i.e. letting go of their anger and resentment) typically experience fewer negative physical health symptoms, like disorders of the cardiovascular or immune system.
Being able to tune out the thoughtless words you’re guaranteed to hear, isn’t just important to keep yourself psychologically healthy, it’s also a necessary ingredient for resilience. That is, one’s ability to bounce back quickly from failure, adversity, stress, etc.
“If you can keep yourself from perseverating on unkind words hurled in your direction, you’re far more likely to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go right back to what you were doing.”
Resilient Like A Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
And we need resilience right now. Data from the online Resiliency Test has discovered that fewer than a quarter of people have high resilience right now (you may want to test your own resilience).
In the study Employee Engagement Is Less Dependent On Managers Than You Think, 11,308 employees were surveyed about their engagement at work. And the study revealed that employees’ self-engagement (i.e. their personal outlooks like resilience, optimism, proactivity, etc.) can actually matter more than working for a great manager.
One of the discoveries from the study is that employees with high resilience are 310% more likely to love their jobs than employees with low resilience. And 136% more than employees with even moderate resilience.
Whether you want greater success or more happiness, whether you work from home or in an office, everything begins with Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s timeless and elegantly simple words, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.”
How The Pursuit Of Audacious Goals Can Marry Thoughtless Or Unkind Words
Anyone who pursues big or audacious goals (like being the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court) is going to hear some thoughtless or unkind words. To help yourself, tune out those words, and implement Ginsburg’s advice, here’s a little trick.
“Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”
Whenever someone hurls some unkind words your way, ask yourself, “What are the facts here?” Set aside the other person’s emotions (e.g., their anger, resentment, accusations, jealousy, etc.). Then, listen only for whether there are any facts.
Living A Remarkable Life, The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Way
Imagine someone says to me, “you’re an idiot for thinking that project would work, you didn’t even calculate an ROI. Only a moron would do something that stupid.”
There are plenty of unkind words in that diatribe. But there’s also a fact, namely, that I didn’t calculate an ROI. So I will take that fact (which is quite useful) and focus on it to the exclusion of the unkind words. By staying factual, we stay calmer. We’re then better to discern the one or two nuggets that are often contained within even the most thoughtless and unkind comments.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg led a remarkable life. And while we might not equal her legendary career heights, we can all apply her advice. We can be a little deaf to thoughtless and unkind words. As she notes, “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”
This is not about Falwell marketplace faith. No! This is me thinking about the state of my personal marketplace faith. How wobbly I am walking, how low I may have sank. Yes, that is what has got me doing this. Am actually just thinking out aloud.
I am writing in the cloud, perhaps there are fellow pilgrims out there, facing the same battles. Praying and looking on to the cloudy heavens for help. That is why I am writing this in the cloud, for it to take hold of that one, sinking in the marketplace mire clay.
My earnest hope is that someone out there will also be a child of encouragement; a challenge to our faith, a marketplace faith leader.
Shortening The Distance Between Sunday And Monday Morning, Lest We Forget
Have you ever heard questions like these: How can we shorten the distance between what we hear on Sunday and what we face on Monday? How can we discuss our workplace conflicts in a church setting? How can we give one another the support and counsel we need to be faithful disciples in our daily work?
“The world will not judge the church on the basis of its statement of faith, but on the quality of its life.“
As a new decade unfolds, new HR jobs will appear, and some will disappear, (see Fired from your HR Job, it doesn’t exist in 2022 future). Have you also heard of some new roles emerging in the body of Christ? Occupation Pastoral Assignment Manager, Occupation Pastoral Assignment Engineer, Occupation Pastoral Assignment Director etc. Yes, the new nomenclature for Christians in the market place.
Falwell Marketplace Faith And Evangelicalism Has A Problem: It Is Called Evangelicals
Should I be worried about when I will get caught, or how cleverly I can continue, if I may ever be caught?
It is not a new problem. Evangelicals have been giving evangelicalism a bad name for years. The disconnect between the gospel proclaimed by some prominent evangelicals, and the lifestyle exhibited by them, sometimes is impossible to ignore.
The scandals associated with such names as Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, Jim and Tammy Bakker, and many others follow the familiar road of greed, sex and power. It’s not like these people didn’t know better. These are issues Jesus and his apostles addressed.
“Values are not what we say about ourselves, but the reason we live the way we do.”
Between The Values Of Mennonite Economic Development Associates And Falwell Marketplace Faith
Falwell Jr. was, until recently, the president of Liberty University, which was founded by his famous televangelist father. During Falwell Jr.’s tenure, Liberty saw student enrollment increase phenomenally, making it the largest school in the country. Falwell’s name recognition has also increased in recent years, in large part because of his political activism. Falwell has become one of the most familiar names in evangelicalism.
When candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign sought the highly prized support of evangelicals, the first place they turned was Liberty University. Ted Cruz launched his campaign there. Falwell allowed him to announce his candidacy from the Liberty campus arena and even required the student body to attend.
Marketplace Faith, In The Face Of Politics, Standing Before Ceaser, Then Bowing Before Pilate
It looked as if Cruz had the inside lane on evangelical support but then, in an unexpected move, Falwell endorsed Donald Trump. Interviews followed. Speaking engagements. Falwell called candidate Trump “a man who … can lead our country to greatness again.” Photo ops with the candidate followed. At one point, according to Falwell, Mr. Trump discussed with him the possibility of serving as the United States Secretary of Education.
“It can be hard for a Christian to remain true to his or her moral standards in the marketplace. With its “in your face” sexual temptations, opportunities for cheating, emphases on ambition, money, achievement of power through domination and diminution of others.
If you endeavour to live as a Christian in the workplace, your morality will be tested on many levels. You will find it is easier to go along with the crowd, ceding a little here and there, until you don’t realise you have crossed the line. ”
– Relevant Christianity
Falwell Marketplace Faith And Liberty University
All I knew about Jerry Falwell Jr. prior to his highly publicized endorsement of Donald Trump, was that Liberty University had grown wildly in just a few years under his leadership. With regard to the academic health of the university, this seemed reckless to me. Then began the trickle of reports of questionable behavior, which grew into a stream, and then a cataract.
Mr. Falwell insists that he has been targeted by the Left because of his support of President Trump. I don’t doubt that he is right. He painted the target on his own back when he threw his support to Mr. Trump in 2016. But he has no call to complain. He is the one who gave his opponents their ammunition.
I Am Not A Pastor – I Am Just An ‘Occupation Pastoral Assignment Manager‘
I sensed there was a problem when Falwell defended himself against accusations of hypocrisy by saying, “I have never been a pastor.” He seemed to suggest that only pastors are expected to live by biblical standards of holiness. He has repeated this kind of thing a number of times, most recently around the time of his resignation.
Falwell’s misunderstanding exposes a theological fault that runs through evangelicalism. The false idea, as Christopher Wright puts it. That, “there can be a belief of faith separate from the life of faith. That people can be saved by something that goes on in their heads without worrying too much about what happens in their lives.”
“Christians in the marketplace are usually accountable to a Boss, Board or shareholders; regulatory and taxation authorities and to their peers and families. They are also accountable to their Heavenly Master.”
– Relevant Christianity
This belief persists in evangelicalism despite the abundance of biblical teaching against it, in both Old and New testaments. St. Paul himself, who never budged from his insistence that people are saved by grace through faith, absolutely refused to divide faith from life. He characterized his life work as bringing about, “the obedience of faith … among all the nations.”
Falwell Marketplace Faith (FMF) Or A ‘What Will Jesus Do’ Marketplace Faith
Is there anything to define as a Falwell Marketplace Faith (FMF), or a ‘What Will Jesus Do’ Marketplace Faith (wwJdMF)? Maybe not clearly yet. But is there a divide between faith and life – whether in Jerry Falwell Jr. or in any of us? Is this one reason why so many people find it hard to take seriously the claims of Jesus Christ?
As Wright said, “the moral state of those who claim to be God’s people … is a major hindrance to the mission we claim to have on [Christ’s] behalf.”
“The obedience of faith” is not a matter for pastors only, as Mr. Falwell implied, but for everyone who claims to belong to Christ. The world will not judge the church on the basis of its statement of faith, but on the quality of its life.
Shayne Looper is the pastor of Lockwood Community Church in Coldwater, Michigan. His blog, “The Way Home,” is at shaynelooper.com.
MEDA – Who We Are: Creating business solutions to poverty
MEDA – Mennonite Economic Development Associates – is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. For over 65 years, MEDA has been creating business solutions to poverty that are sustainable, scalable, measureable and replicable.
MEDA began as an association of Mennonite business people who believed they were called to be faithful in generously sharing their abilities and resources. Continuing in that Christian tradition, MEDA welcomes all who share our values and want to join us in our mission.
valentinrussanov via Getty Images/ Evolving Pandemic Induced HR Crisis In The Making
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Human Resources Executives have been up and doing, solving a myriad of evolving people issues. While working from home solved the problem of employees exposure to COVID-19 while in the office, or commuting; school closure created another one for them at home.
The school situation this fall is anything but normal. Parents are anxious, many are facing months of full-time or partial at-home learning. How will they juggle remote work with their children’s need for help with their virtual schooling? Will they have to choose between their jobs and their kids?
Evolving Pandemic Induced HR Crisis Is Forcing Parents To Choose Between Their Jobs and Their Kids
The answer needs to be “no,” since these are evolving pandemic induced HR crisis. It’s on employers’ shoulders to make sure parents can continue to succeed at work and at home during these chaotic times.
By providing support to employees, companies also win in the long-term. They will have better retention of top talent and a more positive, productive culture.
Are There Plans Or Support Programs To Tackle The Evolving Pandemic Induced HR Crisis
This is nothing short of an HR crisis in the making. Yet research from the Society for Human Resource Management shows that most companies are severely lacking a plan to support working parents.
“It is not only virus induced ‘herd immunity’ that we need. We need to evolve and build stronger-healthier workplace communities through this crisis.”
Those plans must include granting employees greater autonomy and flexibility. Typically, research shows that remote workers are more productive when they’re untethered from the office. They even put in more hours on average than traditional workers.
A True Silver Lining In The Storm
If companies truly want to support parents struggling with unusual school schedules, it’s not enough to simply continue work-from-home arrangements. Below are quick tips:
Have a “life comes first” attitude. The lines between work and life are blurred for us all, whether we work in an office or out of our living room. When email, chats and texts can follow us home, it’s no longer easy to find work-life balance.
Get casual, get comfortable. Kids, pets and other household members will drop into video calls. Meetings will get canceled or cut short for family reasons, and interruptions happen. These are all realities of remote work, especially when kids are home all day.
As you’re navigating these challenging times, remember that we’re all in this together. Everyone is struggling. If your company can grant employees extra flexibility, trust and help them. Build a stronger community through this crisis.
It is not only virus induced ‘herd immunity’ that we need. We need to evolve and build stronger-healthier workplace communities through this crisis. The result will be a stronger company culture and happier, more loyal employees — a true silver lining in the storm.
Consult Gens Y and Z/Deloitte’s 2020 Global Millennial Survey reveals top concerns for younger workers.
Following the pandemic, organisational leaders need to carefully seek and consider Gen Y and Gen Z viewpoints in the workplace. This is one of the conclusions from Deloitte’s report on its 2020 Global Millennial Survey.
The report is based on the views of more than 27,000 survey respondents. It also concluded that, “the viewpoints of Millennials and Gen Zs will be critical” when creating new, and hopefully improved workplace structures whenever the pandemic recedes.
Survey report recommendation for leaders
Promote dialogue with Gen Y and Gen Z employees. Listen to their concerns, and strive to understand why certain issues really matter to them.
Ask for input on how they can make the workplace more accommodating and flexible.
Help employees prepare for the future by providing training and tools. Especially the ones that will enable them to succeed and realise both their personal and professional ambitions.
Recognising the three-fold benefit to employees, businesses, and society
Deloitte said that leaders should recognise the three-fold benefit to employees, businesses, and society at large, when “purpose-led actions” are taken. These includes:
Showing a commitment to making the world a better place for everyone.
Demonstrating a purpose beyond profit. One that is focused on the needed shift from shareholder capitalism to a broader stakeholder capitalism.
Addressing climate change and implementing environmental sustainability programmes.
Providing more opportunities for employees to be engaged in their communities.
Ensuring diversity and inclusion across the business. Promoting compensation structures that reduce income inequality and create a fair distribution of wealth.
Making employee mental health a priority for employers, if it’s not already. All employers should research and understand the root causes of mental health challenges amongst workers in general, and their own people in particular. Thereafter, create or update programmes based on their findings.
Deloitte’s annual Global Millennial Survey has been running for nine years. Fieldwork for this year’s survey started in November. It was followed by a smaller-scale pulse survey in a reduced number of 13 countries.
The pulse survey found that only a third of Millennials and 38% of Gen Zs said their employment or income status had been unaffected by the coronavirus. There was an eight-point fall in anxiety levels for both groups compared with the main survey. The main survey had indicated that around half (48%) of Gen Z and 44% of Millennials were stressed all or most of the time.
Reasons for the shift in survey results
Delayed training courses.
More difficult to connect with new team.
Days were longer when working at home.
Worrying about at risk loved ones.
Deeper thoughts and consideration on if it is necessary to go to the shops or safe to go out somewhere.
Need to constantly measure risks of everyday activities, especially those done before without a second thought.
Decreased stress levels because of cut in commuting.
Conscious effort to improve work/life balance.
More opportunity to spend time with family.
The above stresses the need to consult Gens Y and Z in order to forge a workable post-pandemic workplace.
The pandemic-induced shutdown has showed us, among other lessons, how hard it really is to juggle work-family balance.
Christians Jeff and André Shinabarger started wondering about this tension long before the pandemic. “We say oftentimes that if we change the world and lose our family, we lose,” Jeff said. “And that starts with my relationship with André, our individual relationship, and how that impacts the rest of our family.”
The career on a road trip
Over two years ago, the Shinabargers—husband Jeff, the founder of startup network Plywood People and wife André, a physician’s assistant—launched a podcast called Love or Work. They were interviewing couples and relationship experts about marriage, family, purpose, work-life balance and how they are prioritizing their vocations and their marriages.
The Shinabargers recently spoke from their home in Atlanta with author Dorcas Cheng-Tozun. They discussed how Christians might think through the tension around work, ambition, relationships, and parenting during these unusual times.
In the book you address head-on that managing work-family balance is much harder for women. What would you say to women who are really struggling to have it all?
André: We wrote this book before COVID. And now, we’re like, “Oh, it’s even more important.” The tension was real before COVID, and now the tension is exponentially more real. If anyone feels it, it’s the working mom, and especially, the single working mom.
In our research, it was pretty evident that men did not sacrifice their work for their partner as much as women sacrificed for men. As we’re seeing with COVID, all of a sudden, all the childcare responsibilities seem to automatically get delegated to the woman.
I get that we often birthed the child out of our bodies, but the kid belongs to both of us. The male, the person you’re partnering with, has just as much responsibility for the childcare and for what happens to these kids than the woman.
“It’s hard for me to see that women are the ones who are going to pull out of the workforce.”
If it was a true partnership, men would be just as likely to pull out of the workforce as women.
Jeff and I talk a lot about moving from patriarchy to partnership. Having the viewpoint that whatever works best for your family, is what should be done.
What statistic in your research most surprised you?
André: The first is that people are so optimistic. 95 percent of people believe that you can do it all. You can both work, have a healthy family, and stay in love. 83 percent of couples say that working has made them better parents.
I thought that was really interesting too because oftentimes I think I’m not the best parent because I’m out working. I feel guilty or somewhat discouraged that I’m not with my kids more.
“It was interesting to see that the things we are sacrificing are our physical, spiritual, mental, emotional health. We’re going after it, we’re doing it all, and then we’re needing to sacrifice. We’re sacrificing ourselves, really.”
Yet there are also so many that say they’re exhausted, they’re tired, they feel overwhelmed. They aren’t able to really stay healthy.
Only 29 percent say they’re satisfied with their physical health, and 21 percent with their financial security. These are dual-income couples.
How has your faith affected the way you’ve pursued all these things together—marriage, family, and work?
Jeff: Both of us have a deep perspective that we were made to do things unique, and that is part of our calling. What’s interesting is that, pieces of our past would say that only one of our callings is most important.
And that is not true with what we believe related to our faith. How we were made, designed, and created. What’s interesting is that, if I believe those things for me and I believe those things for André, then it’s shaped how we live, not just how I live.
We’ve had to have some interesting conversations about how we were raised in our faith, and what our faith is today. Those have been constants for us—how we’re made, what our sense of work and calling includes, and how that has played out in our partnership.
“Coming from an evangelical background, I can sometimes think it’s wrong or selfish to want it all. It’s like I have a voice inside of me saying, I should just be content with what I have. I shouldn’t strive so hard to have so much.“
A ‘stronger’ half to work, a ‘better’ half to sacrifice work out of love or it’s just the voice of patriarchies past
André: Our faith has affected the way we’ve pursued all these things together—marriage, family, and work? And I agree with this one hundred percent. That is something that we as women who have been raised in the church have often felt. It’s been modeled for us.
We haven’t been able to speak in the churches. We haven’t been able to be pastors. We’ve been relegated to childcare and hospitality ministries. When that is your model, then what do you think that you’re supposed to do as you get older?
I think it’s so limiting to the fullness of what God has created for women to be and do. We’re limiting the gifts that we have, that God has given us as women. We are doing this by just holding onto these patriarchal viewpoints that the church has taught us throughout history.
I’m just not for it anymore.
“I can’t imagine a God that would hold me back and say you’re not quite good enough for that. I don’t believe it.“
Quite frankly, I think God wants the fullness of us to be lived. We never question a man if he has these huge dreams and passions, and wants to live them out. We never question him and ask if that’s selfish. But we definitely do that for women.
Jeff: Sometimes we think that voice is the right voice. We think that’s God. If André said that to me, I would tell her, “Don’t let the voice of patriarchies past define or minimize your purpose of the future.”
That is the not the voice of fear that our family will listen to going forward.
We are collectively in a really difficult season right now. Most couples I know, especially if they have young kids, are overstretched. Many families are struggling significantly with financial stress and isolation. What encouragement can you give to couples during this season?
Jeff: This is an unusual time. It’s a time that hopefully as a family we’ll all remember as uniquely different. We’ve spent more time as a close nuclear family than we may ever in our lives.
Accepting that as the new reality and enjoying the time together is the opportunity. That’s the beautiful side of it. I’ve talked to many families who feel closer than they ever have, to the people that they should be closest to.
I also would say that if you haven’t addressed things in your relationship with your partner, a lot of that stuff will come out during this time. And it can make thing very difficult.
One thing we learned through our research was that we each individually need time on our own, and we need time together.
In the midst of the pandemic, we also need to get creative, and figure out what a little date night can look like. When we do, we are reminded of how much we love each other.
Now that you’ve completed all your research and written your book, how would you answer the question in your subtitle – Is it Possible to Change the World, Stay in Love & Raise a Healthy Family – have a work-family balance?
Jeff: I do believe it’s possible. And I think it’s really hard. The only way it can work for us is if we’re on the same team and are for one another.
In order for us to both do this, we both have to give up things at times to be able to maintain it all. And we have both given up opportunities at times for the sake of the other.
It is one of the things that came out in our research. We would ask all these people this question at the end of our podcast – is it possible to change the world, stay in love & raise a healthy family – have a work-family balance?
Again, 95 percent of the people said, “Yes, it’s possible.” And then they would all say, “But…” And they would have some caveat they would add —every single one of them. So that was this commonality we saw. A lot of things have to work together, and you have to work together with the person you love to make it happen.
Dorcas Cheng-Tozun is an award-winning writer, editor, and international communications consultant. She is the editorial director of the new Reclaim Magazine and the author of Start, Love, Repeat: How to Stay in Love with Your Entrepreneur in a Crazy Start-up World. Also, author of Let There d.light: How One Social Enterprise Brought Solar Products to 100 Million People. Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, has also written about the unique dynamics around faith, calling, and marriage. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram.
Portrait of Sarah Boris – Photography by Lorna Allan
Creative Boom chatted with Sarah Boris about the pandemic and its impact on her life and work. They also talked about how the world is changing under Covid-19, and why we all need to think about working smarter, not harder.
Born in London and raised by French parents, award-winning graphic designer and creative director, Sarah Boris, has had a phenomenal career so far. She’s worked with some of the world’s leading publishing houses and art organisations, including, Phaidon Press, The Photographers’ Gallery, Tate and Barbican.
How have Sarah Boris been coping with the world over the last few months?
Quite frankly, I feel slightly in limbo right now. I’m craving for something out of the ordinary, a surprise maybe. Something unexpected. I might have to provoke it. I think my life has never been so full of routines than during lockdown. This new way of life has grounded me to some extent, but I’m ready for what’s next.
The main things that have kept me sane in the last few months have been exercising, cooking, sleeping, and of course designing. Also, time with some special people like you in the creative community. I was also invited to do eight talks online via Zoom, and Instagram Live during lockdown. These kept me busy and connected to people.
I was fortunate to mentor sixteen Syrian artists ahead of an exhibition of their work in Berlin and Oslo. Having conversations with people from Syria has made me put so many things in perspective.
The world is changing, has the pandemic changed Sarah Boris?
It’s changed parts of me. For one, I feel less stressed. I’ve not missed some of the stress caused by deadlines, email ping pongs or the design industry and its fierce competitiveness.
“Work has also been much quieter for the first time in 15 years, and oddly, I feel somewhat at peace and content.”
I’ve tried to see the pandemic as a moment to reconnect with what’s essential and embrace this journey into stillness.
Interestingly, I’ve found that I’ve not missed attending industry events in person. Although I know I’ll be happy to go back to some, and see people in real life, rather than on a screen.
Reasons for significant change in our worklife and workplace – in the creative industry.
Some people are relentless in the creative industries, but having been there, I understand why. The story delivered in the press is often different and hides the real hurdles and struggles faced by creatives. What creative person wants to spend life chasing numbers, targets, clients, pitches, working day and night?
“We can find fulfillment by balancing work and other activities.“
There have been trends talking about a better work-life balance and self-care. And then a trend demonising these very things.
“At the end of the day, I feel we should all slow down and avoid the rat race.“
We should take this work-life balance thing very seriously, and all be advocates for it. I am really in favour of wellbeing and looking after the planet. Looking after ourselves, and each other better. I think this pandemic and the time of reflection it has brought, has only increased that feeling for me.
Fiercely competitive to work hard, but not to live hard.
I did work non-stop for the first ten years of my career, but it was my choice.
I was racing and working all the time. It did have consequences on my social life, family time and much more. I would probably not do it any differently today. But I would say that, it is not necessary to do it that way. We should not push the next generations to work that way.
I’ve witnessed quite a few fellow creatives saying they feel like an empty shell after years of insane work. Wondering in the name of what “passion” did they put their job before life? In life, I mean love, sleep, health, eat, fun, travel, dream, etc.
We can shift working habits for the greater good. We often hear, “Work hard!” But I feel today we should say, “Live hard!”
We question what success or recognition means. What’s the point of working like crazy if you don’t even have time to see people or read a book or just chill?
I once remember a junior designer boasting that he had been working every night until 2am for a large branding agency. It pains me to see design studios still working insane hours. Making their junior staff work through weekend deadlines and late night pitches. On the other hand, I praise the studios that make their staff leave at 6pm. It’s exemplary.
I think we can shift working habits for the greater good. We often hear, “Work hard!” But I feel today we should say, “Live hard!”
I agree, life shouldn’t focus entirely on work.
People are starting to wake up to other realisations too, aren’t they? Hopefully, they are. I don’t want to speak for others. Still, my observation is that the awakening is slow. Somehow the pandemic has shown to what extent our society is dragging its feet at making the right kind of progress; be it on topics of diversity, or the planet.
For the first time, while speaking French on a bus journey in London, someone shouted at me: “Go back to your country or speak our language!” Little did they know I am also British and born in the UK.
I did not even bother to tell them. I felt acceptance of others should not be based on nationality, but purely on humanity.
Bursting the little bubbles we live in individually.
I realise we all live in little bubbles and we tend to get the information, news and beliefs from inside these bubbles. There’s so much to fix, learn, and improve.
The bubbles should burst, and we should spill, mix and regroup differently. We’ve all got an urgent role in making things better and protecting fellow humans.
I feel the education system needs to be re-visited, and the curriculum and histories we learn need to be re-written. Art and design history, for instance, still undervalue the contribution of women and people of colour.
There’s so much to be done. Will those be work? Remember, life shouldn’t focus entirely on work.
To find out more about Sarah Boris, follow her on Instagram.
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