As I read about leadership, one thing that I’m seeing more clearly is the way that we do a disservice to men when we don’t give them honest and blunt estimations of their work. Without that feedback, men can find themselves slotted in jobs for which they are ill-suited and incapable of succeeding. Better to give the tough feedback at the front end, then to set a man up for twenty years of bitterness and grumbling as he fails to advance with no clue as to why (Prov. 27:6).
But one of the corresponding conclusions that many seem to draw from this is that each of us has some perfect occupational sweet spot that, when we find it and begin laboring in it, will cause the planets to align and all of our wildest dreams to come true. This is a myth, pure myth. The world is fallen and the world of occupations is fallen. There are times when God blesses us with a sense of deep fulfilment and accomplishment in our work. Thank God when it happens. But there are times when your work is tedious and a drudgery. That calls for confession of sin, not necessarily a hunt for a new job. The fact that many of us have the time and space to stand around the water cooler daydreaming of a career that makes us feel more fulfilled is the fruit of countless generations who labored before us to settle our land, eeked out a meager existence for centuries, and have over generations saved up enough capital for us to have our angstie mid-life crises. It is ingratitude.
Even worse, it becomes an excuse to start sucking at your job. You are called to work at whatever is in front of you. “Do you see a man diligent in his business? He will stand before kings.” (Prov. 22:29). The Hebrew word for “diligent” specifically refers to hustle. Do you see a man that hustles at his work? Do you see a man who changes out your flat tire with speed and alacrity? He’s going to do well in life. Do you see a guy who serves your hamburger with a side of hustle and bustle? Put your money on him. Do you see a guy who stands around the water cooler, having a hard time getting passionate about what the boss has asked him to do? Drop kick him to the curb. Don’t even sort him for recycling.
Your vocational sweet spot is an obedient and cheerful attitude before God. Have you read the story about Joseph? Do you think he had good reason to feel like he was not working from his sweet spot during those years in slavery and in prison? How about Jacob serving Laban? Or Paul in his tent-making storefront? Could they have made a legitimate case that their time was being wasted? Maybe. But their obedience was not being wasted.