WOULDN'T you agree that the second most important thing to having a job is being happy in your job? In fact, job satisfaction is so beneficial to the employee and the employer that more and more companies are making special efforts to help employees feel good about their work. What makes us happy on the job? Good surroundings, nice people to work with, a good salary, interesting work?
Each of us could probably make a long list of what we think an ideal job should be like, but often people who are really happy at their jobs are not necessarily working in ideal conditions. Their happiness seems more related to how they approach their work than to the conditions of the work itself.
If it is inner qualities rather than external circumstances that give a person job satisfaction, then anyone has the opportunity to improve his working environment. The values you and I bring to our jobs -- rather than the size of the office we are in, the mood of the people around us, or even the tasks we do -- make the difference between our satisfaction or dissatisfaction. For example, a spirit of cooperation or a willingness to learn can contribute a lot to job satisfaction. Any quality that is related to love -- helpfulness, generosity, dedication, tolerance, friendship -- makes a job more satisfying.
Why is this? The life of Christ Jesus would suggest it is because our real job is to express spiritual good in all that we do. Jesus talked about his own work in terms like this: ``My meat is to do the will of him that sent me''1 and ``I am among you as he that serveth.''2 Jesus' purpose and satisfaction came from obeying his creator, God, divine Love.
We each have a relationship to God that gives our activities significance, and, in that respect, our goal for our own work is similar to what Jesus said of his mission. Whether we are in downtown offices or doing hard outdoor labor, our real purpose is to let our thoughts and actions show man's spiritual sonship with God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``For true happiness, man must harmonize with his Principle, divine Love; the Son must be in accord with the Father, in conformity with Christ.''3
One summer I worked in a retail sales position. I didn't like the job, because I wasn't very interested in the merchandise or in the work. I was there to earn money, but it surely was a hard way to do it. The days dragged by until I realized that prayer could make a difference in my attitude toward my job. I prayed to be willing to learn from the other, more experienced salespeople. Most of all I prayed for the spiritual qualifications, such as humility and patience, that I needed for the work. That's when I thought of a simple motto that changed how I felt about the job: ``Serve, not sell.'' In other words, I saw that I could make service, rather than selling, my main goal. Finally I had found something I was interested in! I did want to serve people and by so doing serve God. The sales work became enjoyable because I was busy helping clients find what they needed. I started making more sales too.
Figures on the job market today anticipate that in coming years employees will change jobs frequently, follow flexible schedules, and have benefit packages that are tailored to their needs. Even as general progress in working conditions is made, we can't leave unattended the spiritual requirements for satisfaction. Our happiness is secured by our relationship to divine Love, and the God-given qualities we bring to what we do.
1John 4:34. 2Luke 22:27. 3Science and Health, p. 337.