Do Christians Really Have a Workplace Advantage?
Of course that’s a bold assertion coming from a Christian. You might even say it’s a little presumptuous.
The truth is I have been responsible for hiring nearly one hundred employees over my career and have interviewed over a thousand. And as a director in one of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world, I had firsthand experience of what my colleagues and senior leadership were looking for as well.
Let’s start with a list I hope you find as interesting as I do:
The Top Ten Things That Ruin Careers
(not in order of importance)
• Job apathy
• Faking credentials
• Hating your boss
• Revealing entrusted information to others
• Toxic humor
• Talking about pay with others
• Being unavailable
• Making excuses
The list is straightforward to most, Christian or not. And yet I’ll wager you’ve personally witnessed someone violate at least half of these no-no’s. The truth is many companies are rife with this caustic behavior. It’s safe to say those who don’t take active steps in removing it will fall behind in the marketplace.
From the day we first opened God’s word we learn the virtues of righteousness. Fearing God, the beginning of all wisdom, teaches that we behave opposite each trait above. It’s the nature of a follower of Christ to be different than the world. And the top 10 list of things that ruin a career are worldly actions indeed.
As Christians, we work with all our hearts as if working for the Lord (Col 3:23), knowing God hates lying lips while delighting in the trustworthy (Pro 12:22). We love our enemies and do good to those who hate us or try to harm us (Luk 6:27). The faithful in spirit keeps a thing covered (Pro 11:13) avoiding foolish talk and coarse joking (Eph 5:4), ridding ourselves of all malice and deceit and envy and slander (1 Pet 2:1). We take on the nature of a servant, like Christ, being available and ready to serve (Php 2:5). We are open about our mistakes (Pro 28:13) and strive to say only what is helpful for building others up (Eph 4:29).
Corporate Leadership Hire Employees Based on Christian Principles
Hiring managers and senior leaders look for professionals that are a lot like Christ, whether they acknowledge it or not. If you are in the position to hire, you know exactly what I mean. Most of the interview process is spent vetting a person’s character as opposed to their specific skill set. As a Christian, you have a distinct advantage because your character is to be Christ-like on and off the job.
Even more importantly, you have the faith that God is in control of all things. He has placed you right where he wants you. Having a hard time believing that? Take a look at Acts 17:26
…and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,
He decides the boundaries of your habitation (NASB), places where you would live (NET), exact places where you would live (NIV), boundaries of your dwelling (NKJV). Every Bible translation agrees that the author of the Book of Acts meant to write that God chooses where we live. That means we are where we are for a reason. You work in the business or company you were meant to work.
When you truly start believing you are right where you’re supposed to be, your energy will shift. You can rest (and work) assured God’s plan is in action. You can be energetic about whatever your situation. And when you’re energetic about work, your leadership team will see it. That’s what leaders are looking for – energetic employee engagement. That’s who they want to promote and distribute responsibility.
And if you are part of the senior leadership team, that’s what your shareholders want in you – a devoted, energetic and focused captain at the helm. Knowing this is nearly half the battle. Yes, skills and experience play a role in your workplace success but nothing is more important than working with a purpose.
Jesus gives us a distinct advantage. We certainly don’t want to be cocky about it. We can, however, enjoy the ride by keeping our eyes fixed on the Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience. He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to bring the power of Christ’s word, as the foundation of career success, into corporate and small business America.