6 Ways to Thrive in a Job You Do Not Enjoy (Christian Advice)

christian career advice

Colossians 3:17

What should Christians do if they have a job they hate? Is quitting the only option?

Sometimes finding a different job really is the best solution. But sometimes it’s not. When we have unhealthy work practices, those methods of operation will infect any job we get in the future. Therefore, while finding a new job is always an option, it is often better to first try to improve your experience at the job you already have.

Here are 6 Christian tips to help you thrive in your job even if its work you do not particularly enjoy.

Define the Difference Between Your Job, Career, and Christian Calling

A job is task you accomplish to make money. A career is field of work you plan to get specialized training in, make advancements in, and make more with money over time. A calling is a ministry where you use your spiritual gifting to love people by helping them with their needs.

I believe all Christians have one ultimate calling that never changes, which is to glorify God. However, we all also have specific callings that can change over time. You may get paid to accomplish your specific calling or you may not. The key elements in a true Christian calling is that you are using your gifts to help people with their needs. (For more on this see, How to Know Your Calling from God.)

When we get jobs, careers, and callings confused with one another, we can often create a miserable workplace experience. One problem I often see is that Christians think a job is bad, a career is better, and calling is best. I wouldn’t say it like that. Rather, I believe all three of these things are valuable in their proper context. Each serves a different purpose in the Christian’s life.

We become discontent with our jobs when we want it to be a career. We become discontent with our career when we want it to be a calling. And we sometimes overlook our call when we are not getting paid for it.

Sometimes you are miserable with your job because you want it to be more than a job. If you want to enjoy your workplace more, sometimes you need to dial back expectations and accept it for what it is. A job is great to have!

As a Christians You Must Allow Others to Fail and Focus on Your Own Responsibilities at Work 

Stress occurs when we focus on things outside of our control. When you focus on a problem you are not able to solve, you get frustrated. When you start focusing on tasks, responsibilities, and problems that do not directly fall under your authority at work, tension begins to build inside of you. You either just keep getting more and more frustrated or you say something and start trying to solve problems you have not been asked to solve.

One of the hardest things to do in life is to let people fail. We see how it “should be” and we go out of our way to see that it gets done that way. When you do this at your workplace, you will drive yourself and others crazy.

When something is directly impacting you and you have the opportunity to change it, then go for it. If someone asks for your advice, then give it. If your boss wants to know what your thoughts are on a subject, then elaborate. But if you have not been asked to help and someone else is responsible for any area causing you concern, you probably need to back off and let them fail or succeed based upon their own choices.

When you free yourself from other people’s failures and successes, you are then better able to focus on what you can control which produces less anxiety inside of you. When you are doing a great job in your area, then you will have peace and enjoy your work a lot more.

As a Christian, You Must Respect Your Boss Even If You Don’t Like Him or Her

In my article titled, 5 Ways to Enjoy Your Workplace More I talk about the need to respect your boss:

If we hope to find joy in the workplace, we must learn to respect our bosses whether they deserve it or not. Respecting others is less about them and more about you. If you only respect those who never make mistakes, you will be a very disrespectful person. Respect doesn’t mean you follow directions mindlessly. If your boss is being cruel or unethical, follow the proper path of confronting these errors, but do everything in a respectful way.

If you can’t stand your boss, you won’t’ be able to stand your job for very long. Work on respecting authority, not taking shots at them behind their backs, and developing your own character even if your boss is deficient of her own. This is a sure way to increase your joy at work. (Romans 13:1-14Ephesians 6:5-81 Timothy 6:1-2)

Put Healthy Boundaries Between Your Work and Your Personal Life

One reason our jobs often become unbearable is because we never get a break from them. Even when we are off the clock and not at work, if your mind is on the job you are not getting the rest you need. Complaining at home about your workplace is also a huge rest killer. You bring the drama home and thus you cannot rest.

God made humans to need rest. If you never stop working, you will hate your job because you will feel it is the source of your misery. Oftentimes it’s really not. Your lack of rest is the issue in situations like this. Therefore to enjoy your job more you need to set up firm boundaries between your workplace and your personal life.

Perhaps you need two phones so your work texts are not mixed in with personal stuff. Perhaps you need to let your coworkers know you are no longer going to be checking your email after hours. Perhaps you need to tell your husband that you appreciate when he asks how your day went but you are making a conscious choice to no longer talk about work at home unless you really have to.

You have to protect your time off from work. Work is not bad. Work can be enjoyable. But nothing is enjoyable when you are exhausted.

Realize that Ministry Is Not About Making Money, but Making Money Is a Ministry

One lie that has been fed to our culture, especially to Millennials, is that they should do what makes them happy rather than worrying about money. That’s a very privileged mentality and leads to odd moralism that makes you feel bad for doing good things like making money. If you can do something you want and make money, go for it. But if it comes down to making money by doing something you don’t enjoy or not making any money by doing something you do enjoy, then making money is actually more biblical.

Contrary to modern nonsense, the Bible does not say making money is bad! One verse that is constantly misquoted is 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

I have heard people say “The love of money is the root of all evil.” When you leave out “all kinds of evil” you completely change the meaning of this Bible verse. I have also heard people say, “Money is the root of all evil.” If you leave out “the love of money” you again are completely changing the Bible verse. The Bible says “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Money is not evil. Loving money is evil. Loving money is not the root of every sin. It is the root of many kinds of sin.

In fact, making money is actually a ministry in the Bible. For example, Paul sometimes provided money for himself so he would not be a burden to others, “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9).

At other times Paul allowed other people to provide for his needs so he could serve different groups without burdening them, “And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way” (2 Corinthians 11:9). If people in Macedonia were not going to work every day they would not have been able to support Paul’s missionary work. In Romans 12:6-8, Paul says that some have the gift of contributing generously:

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8)

So what’s my point? My point is that we need to change the narrative that “just making money” is somehow bad. Why does every job need to have more significance than just being a means of providing for the needs of your family and yourself? It’s honorable to put food on the table, to make sure the bills are paid, and to put in a hard day’s work in order to be paid on honest wage.

Sometimes we start to hate our jobs when we stop seeing our jobs for what they are supposed to be – a way to make money! Making money is good. Loving money is bad. When Paul is listing the requirements of an elder, he says he must not be “a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:3) but then in Galatians 6:6 he makes clear that pastors should be paid for what they do, “Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.” If you get into ministry to make money, you are sinning. But if no one made money there would be no ministry. Making money is a ministry itself.

Perhaps you don’t need to look for more significant work. Perhaps you need to see the significance of making money.

As a Christian You Must Learn to Change What You Can at Your Job and Accept What Will Not Change

Lastly, if you want to enjoy your workplace more even if it is not your ideal job, you must be well balance in your ability to accept what will not change while still being open to help bring change when possible.

People grow frustrated when they are imbalanced with acceptance and change. When you try to change what will not change, you will drive yourself mad. When you just accept bad things that can be changed, you will not be experiencing the best possible situation.

The key is to rightly gauge what you can change and what you just need to accept. Every workplace can be improved. And every workplace will always be imperfect. Pray for the wisdom to know if you need acceptance or change for each situation you will experience at your workplace.