I spend a number of hours in my week mentoring men in their twenties. There seems to be a lot of pressure for these guys to be progressing in their careers and to perform work that matters to them. I often help men process through why their current work may not be meaningful and try to help them figure out what kinds of roles or fields would use more of their God-given gifts. I hope each one of us can continue to work jobs that are better and better fits for us, but is our job too much of a factor in us living a “meaningful life”?
In his book The Pursuit of Happiness, David Myers shows from study after study how people who have good relationships with friends and family are the happiest. These things consistently trump money or job satisfaction as predictors of happiness and life satisfaction. Why are we often not as intentional with community as we are with our job? We will move cities to move up in our company and we will spend evenings pursuing an MBA while working to make us more marketable. Are we interested in staying in a place to build community or saying no to jobs that push out any time for weekly community with friends?
A century ago a person's identity was tied to a place and a family name. With many factors over the last hundred years we have become a society identified by our job and what we do, rather than who we are in a name or a place. I think losing a job today is more significant for us because we do not have a place or people that root us and remind us that we have inherent value outside of what we do.
I am not advocating for us to put the community piece of life above our job. Rather, I am asking us to consider what might happen if we gave the same intentionally to our community life as we do to our jobs.
In the LifePlan process we challenge the individual with a more holistic view as they consider vocation and creating meaning. Living out of our unique design matters in every role we have, and in every area of life.