Is the Ideal Job and the Perfect Passion a Myth or Reality?

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I’ve read a lot of books that say the same thing in a lot of different ways.

It is the idea or concept that somewhere out there is a perfect job for all of us. It is usually defined by the following characteristics:

You’ll love waking up every day, and you won’t ever have another Monday that you dread.

Since I’m in the midst of a transition, I’ve been reflecting on this idea a lot lately, and I don’t really know what to make of it.

As you probably know, I’m a missionary.

There are certain parts of being a missionary that I find very difficult.

In December, I did two funerals for mothers who lost babies younger than 3 months old.

How do I say that I love waking up to that responsibility? How would anyone be passionate about watching a mother literally crawl over to the soil covered grave and start using her fingers to dig out the grave? How could anyone enjoy watching her relatives carry her away from the gravesite kicking and screaming?

A man and his wife have been members of the church here for 10 years. A month ago, he found out she was having an affair and is expecting another man’s baby.

How can I say I’m passionate about talking with that man? Who wants to put themselves in the middle of that situation?

There are elements of ministry that I enjoy. For example, I love to teach the Bible. I love to preach.  I love seeing people transform their lives as they are touched by the Word of God.

So, is the ideal job a myth or a reality?

I wonder if our young people might not be the most discontented generation.  They might search for that perfect job.  A job without elements of stress or burdens. That job that only refills them.

But, will they find it, or will they find that work always seems greener in another field?

I want your feedback:

  • Is the perfect job a myth or a reality?
  • What’s worse: stopping short of finding the perfect job for you, or spending your life searching for something that doesn’t exist?
  • How much work discomfort is enough to say ,“I’m in the wrong job”, and how much is natural?

Comments

  1. says

    The job I have is just the right job for me–the job God prepared me to do. But no, it is not perfect. I am not perfect, and neither are the people I work with.

  2. says

    I think the question is what is perfect? I think we all have the “perfect” job out there for us. Does that mean that everything will always go smoothly and we’ll always be happy? No. But I can say that I have had two perfect jobs so far in my life. Why would I call them perfect? Because I was in the center of God’s will for my life, I was/am making an impact with my life, and I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Did that mean I did not have days I walked out of the office very frustrated or in tears? No, but that is life.

    • says

      Jocelin,
      I think the question – what is perfect – is so important here. Perhaps so many people look for the perfect job and don’t find it because they falsely define the perfect job.
      Thanks for the healthy reminder.

  3. says

    I think that too many times we equate ‘perfect’ with ‘easy’. Even if we have a job we love and have a passion for, it’s not always easy. That doesn’t mean it’s not exactly where God wants us to be. I love almost everything about my job. I have one of the best workplaces (I should say department within a workplace) that I could imagine. I have freedom to choose how I do my job, freedom to take time off for whatever reason and the freedom to come in late, leave early… the list really goes on and on. But even with all that, there are times when it is not easy, coworkers aren’t necessarily easy to get along with or the work itself gets a bit challenging. That doesn’t mean that it’s less than ideal.

    I think that if we get in the mindset that there is some magical combination of work load, job type, salary, etc – we will always be left wanting. We need to learn to accept where God has put us and make the best of it. If we find that we just can’t bear to walk through that door one more time, we need to really be talking to God about that situation. Maybe we’re in a place where He didn’t really want us to begin with.

  4. Devin says

    I don’t believe in perfect, I have full time and part time jobs that are relatively better than the alternatives.

  5. Dave says

    A job has several purposes. Provide physically for my family (paycheck), provide a service to my employer and our customers, provide a sense of accomplishment and worth to me. No job is perfect. What does perfect mean anyway? The presence of sin in my life and the world ensure that nothing will be perfect. Heaven will be perfect. Do not expect perfection until then. Labor is honorable if we work with integrity.

  6. Willie says

    The perfect job was done on the cross. So from a heavenly & earthly perspective Jesus carried out the will of the Father to perfection. So for us it is a matter of perspective and priority in God’s will. Suffering is always around us. But this should not deter us from God’s will. God tests those who love him to develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with His sheep. Suffering for the cause of Christ by those before us was considered all joy. Sin in all forms God abhors. But through Jesus we are made perfect and was given the Holy Spirit to perform all works to bring Him glory. Your ministry is providing God glory just as those who were used as lamp posts for Nero and all martyrs in the name of Christ. I can only encourage those whom are in the faith to cling onto Jesus as these last days are revealing its sinful conclusion. Be thankful God has placed you wherever you are and be open to God’s will to direct you.

  7. Charlie says

    Craig – Transitions can be difficult and looking for the “perfect job” is I think a myth. I have learned (sometimes from painful personal experience) that the reality is learning Paul’s secret to be “content in any and every situation” (Phil. 4:11-12) and that applies to my job. Now that’s not saying we shouldn’t seek something that we feel good and passionate about; however, when we are in a job anytime we feel “deadended”, unfulfilled, or bored with it there are a number of things we need to remember.

    1. The grass always seems greener … but it ain’t necessarily true

    2. We need to remember that we control (our reaction to) our environment — and NOT let the environment control us

    3. The story of the elderly wise man sitting on the porch in a little town. A stranger pulls up and asks “What type of town is this – I’m thinking of moving here? The old man asks “What is it like where you are now?” — The stranger says (in a long litany of woes) “Terrible” — so the old man says “I expect you’d find it the same here” and the stranger heads of looking for a better place. A while later another stranger comes by with the same question and the same response form the old man “What’s it like where you came from?”. This stranger (with a long list of things) says “It’s great” — so the old man says (as before) “I expect you’d find it the same here” so this stranger says “Great- I think I’ll stay”

    The point I’m making is that whatever it is that is “driving you crazy” about your current situation is usually within your control (relying on God) to fix and if you make a change because of those things they will llikely follow you. The biggest regrets I have in my life have been about decisions where I didn’t apply this knowledge and “ran away” from problems rather than facing them and fixing them and then “running to” something new.

    My two cents after 4 decades of making those types of choices.(+ almost 2 decades of “growing up” to the point where I had to make the choices)

    God Bless you and Jeri and the kids as you make the major move back to North American culture — may you bring with you and find here all of the great things you have seen in PNG.

    • says

      Charlie,
      Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. I think this was probably one of my favorite comments to read. I appreciate your wisdom and the time you’ve taken to pass it along.

  8. Wes Smith says

    A key part of the “perfect job” myth is being excited about the work. I know people (mostly in non-profit or ministry related work) who are passionate about the results. They may not enjoy every aspect of the job but they are passionate about the outcome. This makes it much easier to deal with the negative aspects. When these people discuss their work, they are very upbeat and positive due to their passion, contributing to the illusion it is a “perfect job”. These types of jobs are great to have but they probably are not “perfect”.

  9. Robert says

    Several years ago, I was part of a Bible class that read a book together by a prominent Christian author. In that book, he persuaded his readers to search for a job that allowed them to use their God-given talents in such a way that they were fulfilled and God was glorified. We ought to examine ourselves and find the place where we can best use our gifts in our work.

    This made me think of my grandfather, who worked for 35 years in a rubber factory operating heavy machinery. He was a strong, humble man who had no secondary education. He was good at his work. But he kept his job at the rubber factory because it was the best opportunity he had to provide for his family, not because he had the spiritual gift of molding rubber. “Choice” in employment is a luxury of a wealthy society. I (also a missionary) don’t find many people in Angola who chose their work because of a certain giftedness. They work in that area because it was the best opportunity they had.

    So I agree with what others have said here. A Christian’s task is to be content with the opportunity that God has given him/her. My grandfather did not dislike his work, nor did he particularly enjoy it. But he did the best work he could, and found opportunities to share his faith with coworkers. I don’t believe it is wrong to seek more fulfilling employment, but we must recognize that the choice itself is a privilege. Thankfulness and contentment are interdependent attitudes.

    • says

      Robert,
      Thanks for reminding us that getting a choice in what we do is a luxury. I do think the idea of doing work you love is relatively new. For a long time people worked at the same job and just found ways to be content. Great perspective.

  10. Carla says

    I, too, have struggled with the “perfect job” myth.

    At the end of the day, I have to remind myself to find God in everything he blesses me with…and that is not always easy for me when it comes to my job.

    I am not a missionary, but I do work in the healthcare field which was something I did not plan for. I wanted a creative occupation: musician, artist, actress, dancer, etc.

    But I am grateful because God knows what is best for me and as long as I know that my steps are being guided by His presence – - not that I always feel his presence – - that is close enough to “perfect” for me.

    Great post!!!

    Carla

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