Joy in Work is Attitude

Discover Joy in Work: Attitude Adjustment

Shundrawn A. ThomasBy Shundrawn A. Thomas4 Minutes

Excerpt from Discover Joy in Work: Transforming Your Occupation into Your Vocation by Shundrawn A. Thomas

Attitude Adjustment

“Teachers Quit Jobs at the Highest Rate on Record.” This Wall Street Journal article recently caught my attention. The article reported public educators voluntarily leaving their jobs at the highest rate in nearly two decades. Concerns over pay, poor working conditions, and increased opportunities given the tight labor market were cited as drivers for the trend. I hold educators in high regard given the important role they have played in my vocational journey.

I decided to contact Lisa, a long-time friend who teaches elementary school in Florida. Lisa is one of the most cheerful people I know. She has a gift of discernment and her optimism is contagious. I asked her, “Why did you become a teacher?”

Lisa quickly replied, “I never gave serious thought to becoming a teacher until I was in college. I was walking through a room with shelves filled with books and for a moment I was completely transfixed. I heard a quiet voice from within say ‘You are supposed to be a teacher.’ The next day I went to my advisor and changed my major.”

Lisa explained that she believed teaching was her calling. As an educator, she doesn’t simply instruct. She believes she is called to love, serve, and inspire her students. Lisa acknowledged that teachers face formidable challenges. In her case, she finds it difficult to deal with the bureaucracy that is common in public education. I asked, “What causes you to continue given the challenges?”

“I focus on the students. The most rewarding part of teaching is when one of my students accomplishes something he once felt was impossible. This attitude shift can create a ripple effect of success in his life.” Her response is apropos to the consideration of our workplace experience. Her disposition not only impacts the attitudes and achievements of her students it also leads to an abiding sense of calling and fulfillment in her work.

Lisa’s example raises an essential question. Does your workplace need to change, or can you change the way you see it? I am not suggesting your experience in the workplace will always be peaches and cream. Far from it. We each bring our strengths, weaknesses, passions, and problems to the workplace daily. Each of our proverbial houses has rooms that need improvement and those developmental opportunities are generally more evident to others than to us. As the Scripture goes, we see in a mirror, dimly (1 Cor 13:12). Some might ask, What happened to paradise in the workplace? People happened to paradise in the workplace. However, if you view it through the right lens, you realize that the essential link between humanity and the workplace is a good thing. It’s one of life’s most precious gifts. The opportunity to unite with a shared vision and engage in meaningful work is uniquely human. Yet the common enterprise is not without challenges. The workplace, not surprisingly, reveals our humanness in all its facets. However, the potential of the enterprise is infinitely greater than the individual. How we choose to see the workplace establishes our foundation for working in community and discovering joy in our work. We must learn to develop the proper attitude toward the workplace.

Taken from Discover Joy in Work by Shundrawn A. Thomas. Copyright (c) 2019. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

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