Career advancement

CAREER advancement is generally tied to hard work, good employer-employee relations, educational background, and perhaps a bit of aggressiveness. At times, though, the ``me first!'' attitude of aggressiveness can draw work associates into conflict. Can we progress at work without the friction? Yes! And without the aggressiveness. Consider the Old Testament figure, Joseph. Sold as a slave, he had risen to be an official of importance in his master's household. His presence, however, did not go unnoticed by his employer's wife. His refusal of her invitation to sexual involvement was based on a deep love for God's will, the spirit of His law, as well as on respect for his employer. Even though Joseph spent time in prison because of this woman's revenge, he eventually advanced to a position of great responsibility in the government of Pharaoh. He later engineered the survival of Egypt and some neighboring lands after a famine.1 What promoted Joseph so remarkably through the government of Egypt? Wasn't it his love for God, which ruled his heart? Obedience to God meant more to him than a position in his master's household. And yet, though he did suffer what appeared to be a setback, his career eventually blossomed beyond what anyone could have foreseen. Joseph's work motto could have been what the Psalmist said: ``O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.'' 2 God's law is eternal, spiritual truth, which we can call upon to support and govern all our affairs. It's the truth of God's absolute supremacy and perfect government of man. It's the divine rule of perpetual harmony that characterizes God's spiritual creation. Work can sometimes reinforce the picture one holds of himself or herself as a limited mortal struggling to advance beyond other mortals. And often that struggle can wear one down a bit. Within God's law we can find a view of ourselves (and others) that is quite different and that surface appearances would contradict. Nevertheless, it's the true view. God, the loving Father-Mother, has created man complete, satisfied, cared for, and as always expressing the grace and originality of the Divine Being. Th is is our actual nature, and a perception of it is at the heart of advancement. Our work, too, can take on a different light. Yes, there will always be appointments to be kept, calls to be made, tasks to be completed. But with this spiritual view of ourselves before our thought, can't we see our real work as bearing witness, through moral and spiritual growth, to more of our true selfhood as man created in God's image? Such spiritualized concepts, far from lulling us into a dreamy state where we are not really in touch with our responsibilities, can open to us strengthened and broadened capacities at work. That's because we're conceiving of man as already ``advanced''--in other words, already and eternally the blessed and fulfilled offspring of God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, loved the law of God. Her study of it is found in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In this book she writes: ``The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man. From this it follows that business men and cultured scholars have found that Christian Science enhances their endurance and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity.'' 3 That same loving law that extends our abilities on the job can also provide us with sure and instant moral guidance. As in Joseph's case, it can help us keep our priorities straight. The Psalmist spoke of God's law as his meditation all the day. This law, as we're receptive to it, naturally guides us into an existence centered on God rather than on our own pursuits. Thus, when we feel our work incentives are straying a bit or our relationships are dropping to ``push and shove,'' we can allow the law of divine Love to soften our attitudes, purify our motives, and bring us to respect the work of those around us. ``Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on

the things of others,'' 4 Paul says. There will be career advancement in its highest meaning as we develop a greater love for God's law--a love that will make us happy in each phase of our work. Our advancement then becomes something we can work out between ourselves and God--not really dependent on another person. 1 See Genesis, chaps. 37, 39-41. 2 Psalms 119:97. 3 Science and Health, p. 128. 4 Philippians 2:4.

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