Do you remember what it was like when you started your first job? ?
- The butterflies in the stomach wondering if you had taken on more than you could chew.
- Imagining all sorts of first-day embarrassments if not disasters.
- Thinking about what you will actually do when you get there
- Wondering if anyone will actually speak to you and show you where to go!
Having changed jobs and employers on a number of occasions, I can relate to each of these even in my most recent ‘new job’ starting as a 57 year old at the local university!
Jago Wynne, author of Working Without Wilting recalls that his main concern on his first day in the office as a management consultant was the dangers of body odour after he had negotiated the London Underground on a sweltering August day. ?Sweat patches on a not-so-recently ironed shirt were a real worry!
The three biggest fears on day one according to Jago Wynne are:
- The fear of being clueless: ‘We are petrified that we will be unable to perform as well as we are expected to. ?We think we won’t make the grade; we won’t understand the jargon; everyone else will be far more competent and qualified than we are.’
- The fear of being cold-shouldered😕‘It is only natural that we want to make a good impression … it is because of this fear that we ?find ourselves compromising our faith and not living in a way that would honour our Saviour … the very fact that we are Christians will make us different from the majority of our colleagues.’
- The fear of being chicken: ?’… a very real battle rages. ?On the one hand, there is the realization that there is no apparent need to ‘come out’ as Christians … But on the other hand, there is the obvious real need to tell people we are Christians as an early part of our rile as ambassadors for Christ.?
Here’s a summary of Jago Wynne’s advice to Christians starting out in a new job, whatever their age:
- ?Prepare for the first week: ‘The way people view us, and the hours we work, are often largely determined in the first week. There are lots of challenges but there are also lots of opportunities … the key is to nail our colours to the mast early on concerning our faith in Jesus … [pray] for an opportunity to let people know you are a Christian in the first week on the job.’
- ?Pray for all areas of your life😕‘My lack of prayer [for my work] showed up my lack of theological understanding about my work … praise God for the gift of work too.’ ?
- Pursue a Christian support network: It is ‘… critical to encourage people to link with other Christians … particularly in an environment where work i s actively discussed.’
- Practice being a godly steward of your resources: ‘… work out a wise balance between time at work, time at church, time with friends, time with the family and so on. ?Be wary of work commitments ballooning to such an extent that it becomes impossible to spend sufficient time with friends and family and at church. ?But also be wary of being so busy at church that you are unable to build meaningful relationships with people at work.’
- Participate distinctively at work: ‘… you need to get involved. Your workplace is the environment God has given you where you are to live and breathe and flourish with him for the majority of your waking hours. ?If you are in Christ, his Spirit is living in you, empowering you to make a difference for him during that time.’
?And finally, Wynne gives three questions to ponder:
- What are the key things you need to think through before starting a new job?
- What do you think are the most likely things to cause you to wilt in your faith as you start out at work?
- How will you go about praying for your work?
Murray Wright. 29 December, 2013. ?
Based on Jago Wynne (2009), Working without – starting well to finish strong [Chapter 1, ‘Starting out on the treadmill’], IVP.?
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