So I had this realization Sunday morning at church, in a discussion of spiritual gifts: just because mine is leading ((I think. I haven’t taken an inventory. I will be early next year as a part of a class.)) doesn’t mean that I have to use it in all phases of my life. I was specifically thinking about work. As I contemplate a new job ((I haven’t mentioned being unemployed here; sorry, I’ve a lot of backstory to get out for you here)), I’ve been seeking both project management and non-management jobs. I would prefer a non-management job at this point in my career ((If a management job is all I find, I’ll take it. Those pay better, anyway, but it’s not all about the money.)). That is a big shift for me, as I’ve really been defining my self-worth through my job performance, which is unhealthy in a number of ways:
- If there were a way to quantify my job performance independent of my coworkers and situation, that would be one thing, but this isn’t baseball, where sabermetricians have worked to provide context-independent measurements of player performance. There is always the Yearly Review, which always left me with the same thought: “I would’ve graded myself more harshly than my boss did.”
- In any regard, deriving self-worth from performance is a fruitless endeavor. Self-worth is best derived from one’s value system and the degree to which one holds to those values ((After all, values are lipservice unless put into action.)).
- The things I do at my job do have value ((After all, I was working in the nation’s space program until I left in May.)), but how I show and receive love for my fellow man is far more important to me. I can do a lot of things in life, but it’s far better that I care for other folks in life.
In parsing through all of that, I had the thought: what if I re-oriented my thinking here? I did the management thing because I am a leader, and because I wanted to lead. However, wouldn’t a better expression of that leadership gift be done in a church body where it could be better used, rather than in a work situation where it’s mostly for profit? I think so. Let’s be clear: I’m not going to turn down a management position that comes my way; after all, I do need a job. But given a choice, I might choose a different route to leave breathing space in my life for leading in a more meaningful ((To me.)) position.