praying at work

3 Ways Being Like Jesus Will Help Your Career

The son can do nothing on his own accord, but only what he sees the father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.

Luke [5:19]

This year when I was doing my speeches on college campuses, I wanted to try some different. Instead of preparing an intricately weaved message, I would focus on only three points and keep repeating them using different examples each time. My message this year was how to find a job and become a great employee. Simply, there are three ways, be positive, be trustworthy and pursue excellence. That’s it, no sophisticated weaving to make the point at the end, just keep repeating the same message.

Well, it worked! When I got the feedback and reviews back from my college visit at Theil College in Western Pennsylvania, the students overwhelmingly repeated the message in their reviews and used the explanations to support their reviews.

The message is simple, you only need to be three things to be a great employee. Yes, only three; being positive, trustworthy and committed to excellence. When I explained this to a friend, he said, But my employee appraisal given by my employer had forty-three different measurements! I told him this wasn’t that unusual; many companies make the mistake of over-complicating evaluating employees.

So, I asked him to give me his appraisal form. He did and we placed all forty-three review items into one of three categories; Being Positive, Being trustworthy and Committed to excellence. And yes, everyone could fit into one of the three categories!

I think we all make this mistake of overthinking things; I am certainly heavily prone to doing this! But just imagine telling your spouse, mom, and dad or even a friend every one of your forty-three individual rankings from your employee appraisal. Heck, for most of us ten minutes after the review we can only remember a few. So why not just work on the three that cover everything! Three is easy to remember and simpler to deal with.

So, let’s start with being positive. Well, Jesus has a point of view on this category, He said, If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light. So, just imagine using this point of view when you approach a customer. They would be happier and more open to hearing what you have to say. We shouldn’t be dour or stern, but open and receptive. If one of your forty-three ratings was on customer service, guess what; you would get a high mark.

Now imagine you are working in a team setting and have this same attitude Jesus is talking about. You would be a great listener and a patient partner. Every word you speak will be geared to lift up and help collaborate. Well, you know what your rating would be for teamwork. Sure, very high.

Let’s turn to the second category, being trustworthy. Here Jesus explains; One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. (Luke [16:10]) Well, this seems pretty simple. Trustworthiness is built by doing even the smallest things with integrity. Another way of looking at this is by answering the question; how do you work when no one is watching?

I once had a boss who said he could tell a lot by how someone played golf. If they played by the rules, he could trust them in the office. Likewise, when we interview for a new job, there should be no stretching of the truth, not even the smallest amount.

One of the things people miss here is that body language and tone can give away dishonest intentions. Many people don’t know that almost seventy percent of all communication is non-verbal. Yes, that’s right, seventy percent. We all give off subtle cues about our real intent, non-verbally. And most people are smart and will pick them up

But I know only one sure-fire way around letting non-verbal communication give away dishonest communication. Don’t be dishonest.

The final point; is pursue excellence in all that you do. The more you learn and are willing to do the more valuable you become. The more valuable, the more treasured. Jesus explains this in The Parable of the Talents. A story about a manager who went away for a few days and left his employees things to do. Two of the three employees actually did more than what was asked, to which the manager said; Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

So this is the way work goes, you are given a task and if you just complete it, you will get another task, but not much different. If you do more than is asked, you get more responsibility, become more valued and get more job freedom.

Simple? Not quite, to do this you have to learn things you didn’t already know. Here is the difference-maker. Learn them with enthusiasm. Be incredibly curious about how everything works. Even if it seems boring. And no excuses, like I never did this before, or this is hard. Always remember, in most workplaces you aren’t doing neo-natal surgery, so most any requirements or new tasks can be learned. Learning to figure stuff out is within all our capabilities and becomes a valuable trait.

This part is also about commitment to excellence. Not excellence derived from a long management book. But practical excellence. Excellence that you know in your heart. When you feel yourself giving in or giving up, be the one willing to continue. Excellence expressed in getting even the little things perfect.  And always remember as Christians we work for the Lord! So make your work acceptable to Jesus.

Whether you have a job or are looking for a job, keep it simple. And trust me, everything comes down to three things, being positive, being trustworthy and pursuing excellence. You can read all the self-help books you can find or tie yourself up in knots thinking about how to impress people. But it always comes down to these three traits. Work on these three and the rest will fall in place.

And always remember that Jesus, the Son, only did what, God, the Father was doing! So when we work, work to please the Lord.

Listen to the Full Podcast – 3 Ways Being Like Jesus Will Help Your Career

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman