Most millennials don’t love their jobs. According to a Gallup poll, “Only 29 percent of millennials are engaged at work, meaning only about three in 10 are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company.” For the rest of us? We’re dying to feel some sort of purpose or vision in our workplaces.
This article is part of a faith + work RELEVANT is producing in partnership with Unite Health Share Ministries.
But the reality is that we also need food on the table and money in the bank, so most millennials stay at jobs they don’t love. Some are actively seeking a new place of employment, while others are open to a new job but aren’t searching.
Either way, over half of us are waiting for a better job opportunity to pop up, either within our current company or elsewhere.
So what can we do as we wait? If we’re in a job that doesn’t fuel our passions, how can we live intentionally and stay sane? Read on.
Ask for New Opportunities.
While at a job that didn’t fit her well, one millennial sought to find opportunities at work that played to her strengths.
“Sometimes that meant taking on additional work or doing things in unconventional ways, but it helped me find enjoyment in the day to day and set me up for a smoother transition when I did change careers to something I was more suited for,” she said.
While this isn’t always possible, consider talking to your supervisor about new ways you might be able to strengthen your team by utilizing some of your untapped gifts. You might be surprised at the doors that open.
Fuel Your Passions Elsewhere.
If your job doesn’t hit any of the sweet spots of what you love, make sure to invest in those passions elsewhere! If you have abilities that aren’t being utilized at work, volunteer at church or in the community so you can stretch those vocational muscles (and boost your resume at the same time). If you’re passionate about something that never overlaps with work, make sure to incorporate that passion into your weekend and weeknight hours.
Yes, our jobs take up a lot of time, but they don’t define who we are. God made you uniquely, and if your job isn’t a place where important facets of your personality and gifts can shine, make sure you’re giving yourself the time and space to invest in those things outside of work.
Focus on Character Development.
While your job will change (hopefully sooner rather than later), the truth is that you are still going to be the same person at a job that you love as you are at a job that you hate. I know, I know—we’d all like to think otherwise. But honestly, your character is going to come through no matter where you are.
When your job isn’t fulfilling, do you complain, waste your employer’s time and speak poorly of your boss? Or, regardless of circumstance, are you choosing to be grateful? To work diligently and speak graciously? God calls us to work as if we’re working for Him, not for other people (Colossians 3:23). So if you realize your attitude at work is crummy, ask God to help you be the type of person at work that you want to be in all of your life—someone who is full of integrity and hope no matter what.
While your job might not be one that you want to stay at for the rest of your life, the people you work with are definitely worth investing in, no matter how long you’re there. And choosing to have a hope-filled attitude about your co-workers and your job can change the entire atmosphere of your work environment.
One millennial chose to alter the way she talked about her difficult situation at work: “I had to change my language from being ‘stuck’ to having an ‘opportunity’ and being on ‘mission.’” Once she did that, she was better able to view her work as a chance to impact others with the Gospel by loving and intentionally serving her co-workers and clients. So when your job isn’t filling up your tank, remember that it’s not about you.
The most important part of your job right now might not be making money or typing up reviews: It might be the people you work with. You can love them and build relationships with them that can point them to the truth that they, too, are loved and seen by God. Getting to share that news is the greatest opportunity any job can offer.