“Yeah, you’re a bit of a YUP,” my friend smiled. I stared back at him, confused.
What? Really? No way. You think? I responded, contemplating the claim.
Think about it. You work downtown. Have your own car. You’re buying your own house soon. You dress up every day and you work in a big office building. Young? Check. Urban? Check. Professional? Check.
I guess you’re right. I paused, chuckling. “But I’m not your typical YUP. I’m just your regular guy.” Defenses up, I did my best to avoid the stereotype of one of those stuffy entitled guys in a suit, recalling my journalism days and my dreams for the future.
Oh for sure. He said. “But does it matter if you’re a YUP or not? You’re there for a reason, God’s using your gifts and you’re following His direction, right? You’re in the right place so long as you keep faith, trust in God and seek to show His love to the people you work with.”
My friend had a point. Most twentysomethings, especially those in the the Church, want to do something meaningful with their life—and they often think that translates directly into working in full-time ministry, dedicating their life to creating art or starting their own nonprofit. All those things are worthwhile and good goals, but looking around my church at the twentysomethings who are making a lot of big life decisions, rarely do I see an example of a young millennial who has gone the traditional route of a four-year college degree to find themselves in a cubicle on the 11th floor—or at least who are happy being there. It isn’t the ideal of many who seek to serve the Kingdom of God.
Having worked in a corporate setting for a few years, I’ve often questioned why I still walk to the same desk every day.
But while our communities and churches certainly benefit from photographers, artists, writers, musicians, artisans, chefs, carpenters, fire-fighters, hard-laborers, entrepreneurs and small-business owners, those who have found themselves in a corporate gig have just as much to contribute to both the Church and the Kingdom as any other talented individual. In fact, corporate work offers many opportunities to serve God, to show love to people and to be a good steward of what you’ve been given. Here are a few reasons your corporate job matters:
1. It’s a Place to Exercise Your Gifts.
Maybe you’re naturally good with money, or you’re an excellent copywriter. You have a knack for creating sound business plans, handling budgets and organizing people. Whatever your gifting may be in terms of your professional skills, your corporate position may be the perfect place to exercise and develop those gifts. Often, organizations will even pay for your professional development or schooling in order to advance you in the company or give you greater responsibility. And the demands of the corporate business world also call for the application of sound biblical principles of honesty, integrity, accountability, a solid work ethic and a love for people, including colleagues and customers.
If you’ve found yourself in a corporate setting, take a step back and examine your circumstance. You have skills and talents that got you there. In what ways can you honor those God-given gifts, where you are, right now?
2. It Provides Ways to Serve the Church With Your Expertise.
Church isn’t just a place to show up once or twice a week. It’s a gathering of a diverse collection of people to worship God together, to learn of God’s Word together, to serve our communities together. It’s also the living, breathing Body of Christ.
Every single person has the ability to contribute to the health of the Church, and your corporate experience and gifts might be exactly what the Church needs. You have the ability to help someone get their small business running, assist a local business with marketing, bring your organization or leadership skills to your church’s next conference or children’s event and even use your accounting skills to help your church balance its budget.
Your corporate job gives you insight into standard business practices that others can benefit from. You probably know more than you think, and you can use that knowledge to help the Church and Body of Christ in ways that others simply cannot.
3. It Offers Opportunities to Reach the Unreached.
As a follower of Christ, you have influence in your place of work. In every office, there is someone who needs to know the love of Jesus, who needs to hear the message of the Cross, who needs someone like you to speak truth and life into their circumstance. This is perhaps your biggest opportunity to find purpose in your corporate work. God can and will use you to reach people in finance, accounting, marketing, advertising—whatever the field.
Rather than looking at corporate work as the evil scourge of the earth (though you certainly want to make sure your personal values align with an organization’s corporate values), riding the elevator to the 11th floor every day may be exactly where God needs you to develop your spiritual character, your gifts and to reach those who are broken, empty and living without knowing their Savior.
Your corporate job matters so long as you keep in mind what you are putting in and what you are getting out of it. As long you’re developing, learning, reaching others and honoring the Lord by doing work with excellence and fervor, that gray cubicle may be the exact place you need to be.
Richard Hillier is a Communications Specialist from Toronto, Canada. He's a lifelong learner who loves to read, write and serve his church in whatever way he can, especially through youth and young adult ministries. He's a Leafs, Jays and Raptors fan who loves to camp, snowboard and wear a toque, follow him @richardpaulhill