Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Taking Job Positions

“If there is an existing position for the work that you want to do then you won’t really be making a difference by taking that job. That is because if you don’t take that job somebody else will.”

What do you think of this quote? Do you agree?

I don't know. A case can be made that you will do the job better than anyone else out there. That is possible. Also, it could be that no one else wants that job and if you don’t take it then your employer will not be able to find anyone else. In that case it is also possible to make a difference by accepting the position offered to you.

However, most people don’t seek or take jobs in order to make a difference. They do it in order to make a living—to make enough money to live, feed and clothe their family and send their children to school. There is nothing wrong with that, either. If our goal is to live and provide for our loved ones, then competing for a desirable job position with a good salary makes sense. It will allow us to live the life we want and to have enough money to do it.

In the long run, most people do their jobs because of one reason: Payday. If it weren’t for the money they wouldn’t be spending all this time doing this job. And there is nothing wrong or dishonorable about working for pay. Earned money is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed of. Many people around the world would love just the opportunity to work and earn a living.

Some people, on the other hand, choose not only to earn a living and provide for a family, but to try to make a difference in our world. They aren’t motivated just by the money (although, that is necessary in order to eat and live) but they are also motivated by the positive impact their work has on society. These may be people like doctors, police men and women, teachers or even lawyers. The majority of these people take positions that were already created for them. And sometimes it is a pretty competitive position.

Just think about job competition for a moment. What is the purpose? From the employer’s perspective it is to find the best candidate out of many who apply for the same position. From the applicant’s perspective it is to get a good job that is hard to find. Some positions are so desirable (high salary, great benefits, convenient location, good hours, light work, etc.) that many people compete to be the lucky one chosen for the job. This is true for both jobs that make a positive impact on society and those that don’t. (Think working in a soft drink company as compared to teaching in a city school.)

But does taking a job that makes a positive impact on society really make a net difference in the world? Maybe. Maybe not. Because even if you don’t take that position someone else probably will. Most likely, the difference is going to be made by one person or another.

A question: If you left your job today, would they hire someone else to take your position?

Another question:

Why would you want to be a doctor in a hospital that already has 100 other doctors and your patients aren’t even really sick? Why wouldn’t you want to be a doctor in a poor country where the lives of hundreds who are dying every day without any doctors would be saved by you?

An answer:

We couldn’t imagine the sacrifice it would take (giving up our lifestyles) to go save their lives. We love our lives the way they are (i.e.: our lifestyles) and feel it is not necessary to change them because, after all, people in our own country get the flu, too.

Okay, don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying you need to go to another country in order to make a difference in the world. I’m just trying to make one simple point. Here is the point:

There aren’t many existing job positions for the kinds of things most needed in our world that you can apply for, receive a salary and make a difference. If you want to make an impact you have to figure out what needs to be done that isn’t being done by anyone, where it needs to be done, and then figure out a way to fund yourself to do it. Most of those things will not have someone waiting to hire/pay you to do it.

In business we call these people entrepreneurs. In charting and settling unknown territory, we call these people pioneers. In ministry, we call them...

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was a great post. I think most people would do something they love IF they could afford it. Unfortunatley, I think most people work to survive, pay the bills and provide for the family, just out of necessity.

    I happen to have been transferred into a job I love and where I feel I make a difference. (I work in the Maintenance department of our local school district.) I don't care about lifestyle and 'stuff' and those things have never driven me to seek out a job where I can live like that. I'd take a small clinic and helping the poor in some remote location over wealth, possessions and a high-profile job anyday.