Heavy equipment operator.
Hot dog stand girl.
Waitress some more.
Opera-singing waitress (different than just your normal waitress!)
Cook. Eh, I pretend I’m the chef.
At the age of 28, I’ve had exactly 29 jobs. At one point in my life, I was going to college full time, working 2 jobs, running my own business, and doing 2 internships.
Some of my jobs have been absolutely horrendous. I put “Hot dog stand” in there just for that reason. Nannying wealthy entitled children comes in a close second.
I have had my dream job.
I have loved my work. At times, I’ve hated my work.
At one point, I tried to write a book about my random jobs, but did not feel like I could follow through on that one.
29 jobs later, I am able to put words to an important realization:
No job is perfect. No job will satisfy the deep longing of the soul that craves meaning, that is found only in the Creator Himself. But work is very much good for the soul. There is a crazy sanctifying work that God does in the midst of our jobs.
I stood over the sink at my lodge job the other night, scrubbing the pans I used to make dinner for the hungry construction workers. As I scrubbed, I realized that I no longer look for satisfaction in the actual work I am doing. I no longer hope for a job to bring me happiness. I work partly because it is a necessary part of life. Because it is what God has given us to do with our time. Because I am responsible to pay my own bills and put food on my own table. However, I also work because a different kind of joy can be found in what I spend my day doing.
There is a special kind of satisfaction that comes in falling asleep complete tired after a hard day’s work. My friend Ben always tells me “It’s good for the soul to be that tired, it keeps you from sinning”. I completely agree. But there’s more!
Every workplace, every occupation will have its highs and lows, its positives and negatives. My “dream job” of being a professional photographer has both! The life of a waitress has both! Really, it doesn’t matter what any of us do, we must learn to take both the good and the bad, and sift through them, choosing our attitude and response to all things.
In my 29 jobs, I have learned that whatever I do must be done heartily. Attitude is everything. Teamwork, respect for authority, a servant’s heart, and truly caring about the client is absolutely key. I struggle still, I am human. But it is possible to be just as satisfied as a cook in Alaska as it is to be a successful photographer in Vail, a nanny in Georgia, and a waitress in California. If I know I am giving my work my best effort, and recognize that God instituted work for us as a means of sanctifying and sharpening us, then that is all the satisfaction I need.
There is no such thing as a perfect job. Getting over that idea as quickly as possible will be the greatest service you can do yourself. If you find yourself moving from job to job to job, and always feeling dissatisfied, perhaps it’s time to consider your own heart. Do you do your job as a service, and look for the character building aspects of it, or do you search for something that employment cannot offer?
Corrie ten Boom said it perfectly, concerning all parts of life:
“Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings— it’s something we make inside ourselves.”