As I survey the barren land known as the empty appetizer table, I am approached by another male. The facial expressions of the other dude indicate that he wants to make small talk. I want some buffalo wings and whatever else this place is serving. The question he asks is one that is all too familiar to the male population……
“So…..what do you do for a living?”
As a male, I think I get asked this question on a daily basis. This looming question seems to be the focal point out of most conversations that take place between the male species. While it is nice to ask about other people’s jobs, I think this points to a larger issue.
Men are known for what they do.
Job title + salary = how you are viewed.
I learned this lesson when I was in college and graduate school and studying youth ministry and spiritual formation. Some people viewed you as legit and others viewed you as a recreational activities coordinator. This carried into the churches that I worked for. Some people had lofty expectations for you because you held a title (Pastor Jason) while others thought that you only worked on Sunday's. None of these assumptions really bothered me because I knew I was doing God’s work.
When I left working in the church, I realized how much of my identity was tied up in the church world. Because I was working for communities that licensed me, I lost my minister's license when I stopped working in the church. It is amazing how differently you are viewed when you are an ex-pastor. People try to guess why you are no longer working in the church. To be honest, looking back now, God wanted me elsewhere in order to bring healing to others. God wanted me to go outside the box that I had taken up residence in.
Let me be crystal clear. Regardless of our job--salary, title, or prestige, you need to do it well. There is nothing more disheartening when people do not put their heart and energy into their job. If you hate your job--then change yourself or change jobs. In your job, do it well and learn to serve others. You are not a king and neither am I. Be humble.
If you flip burgers, then be the best burger maker there is. If you wait tables, smile for your customers and treat them well. If you are a CEO, remember where you came from. Do your job well regardless of who is watching or what you get paid. Nothing is worse than being served (regardless of industry) by someone who hates their job and then displays this to their customer.
We live in a world obsessed with hashtags. Honestly, I use them often for promoting my blog and just to be creative in general. However, we live in times where we like to put hashtags all over the place. Our family went school shopping this weekend and many of the girls shirts start with a hashtag and then have a word or phrase after them. We have reduced ourselves to hashtags. Hashtags are not evil but we are so quick to use them that it points to a much larger issue. It is easier to utilize a quick label or phrase than it is to really get to know and understand people.
God has shown me that myself and others (especially men) are more than our job titles. We are husbands, fathers, brothers, friends, sons, uncles, etc. Titles fade into the sunset like Milli Vanilli’s career faded on live television. People will remember how we treated them. People might remember the titles that we carried but that is not what they will tell others about us. They will know us by the impact we made on others.