FOMO & Wondering if God cares where you work.


Maybe its the changing in the weather or just a time in our lives, but it seems everyone around us is upping sticks, moving abroad or changing careers. And if they haven't done so recently, they are thinking about it.

There seems to be something contagious about change. When you see those around you pursuing new horizons and trying to route out their course it breeds, and spreads through small groups of friends and communities like wildfire.

For some years now I have had the pleasure of spending quite of time around students going through university. Seeing them pick courses and electives for new semesters and ultimately graduating and heading out into the world of work is also really inspiring.

However whether it is friends changing careers, heading abroad or graduating and going out to seek a career for the first time - there seems to be a question that permeates through all of them - does is matter where I work? Not just - does it pay enough or will I be looked after, but does it matter to God?

One thing that the internet has done us is massively extended a disease known in the TwitterSphere as FOMO. The Fear of Missing Out. Now we have so much Haccess to all of the job possibilities out there. Linkedin and Twitter give us new unprecedented access to every job level and career option going. Recruitment agents are having a whale of time, sending inMails to everyone who remotely could match a job description, and in my industry I can certainly testify to 90% of these being way off base.

This change in how we approach our careers choices seems to be helping perpetuate this FOMO way of living. Should I switch roles, companies? Should I move for more money or happiness? What should I do to feel fulfilled? And what does being fulfilled even mean? Will God be happy with my choice or should I do something more "kingdom focused"?

In Corinthians 3 we read:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:17, 23 NIV)

Don't miss the emphasis here - Paul says that in whatever you do do it in the name of Jesus.

We as Christians - scratch that - as humans, have a really bad habit of trying to put things in boxes. We love to categorise and organise. We have been doing it since the time of the temple, when we built places to contain the glory of God and appointed people as Priests to mediate that glory to the people. In doing so we today invoke thousands of years of history thinking that some jobs are somehow more holy that others, or more worthy than others.

Pastor. Missionary. Charity Worker. Full Time Christian Whatever.

There is no such thing as full time Christian service. We are ALL full time. We are all Christians. We all SERVE. This is our calling friends. This is what we are here to do. In whatever we do - bring glory to him. The only ones who should be suffering from the blight of FOMO is those who haven't yet met him - not us.

I am not saying here that it is not important to think things through. To pray for God to guide the big choices in life, or that in certain circumstances. However to do any of this effectively we must first understand that we are all called to play our part in this - whether we spend our days pushing prams, preaching from pulpits or punching prices.

I was recently researching for a sermon I was writing on this topic and came across this story about St Augustine - who when asked about how to discern God's will for our lives he answered;

Love God, and do as you please.

This friends, is good news. Let's get on with it. Whatever.

A lesson in passion and precision @DeptofCoffee

As someone who generally doesn't get bogged down in the nitty gritty (a typical Meyers Briggs "creative" type) I am not often drawn to the science or the methodology of my day to day existence. I don't spend hours pouring over data to find the gem, and I don't care to much attention to detail (if you've read this blog for any length of time you already know my spelling and grammar wouldn't pass the first round of 3rd year spelling bee). However this rule, like all rules has it's one exception, and for me that is food. I care a lot about food. I tend to think I generally am a lot more interested in eating than the general man on the street, and particularly so when it comes to a good cup of coffee.

Passion and precision

I spent most of last night with Chris and Tim at The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs on Leather Lane, Farringdon, as a guest at "Coffee School" - an initiative run by the store to teach caffeine addicts like myself just a little about the painstaking levels of accuracy and science that go into making a good well bodied espresso. Now not to bog you down in flow rates, brew ratios or how to create the perfect crema - for that I recommend taking the class - what I took away the most from the evening was how we take the most care with the things we care most about.

I can tend to get very VERY bogged down in how a Keynote document looks, how the grill lines on my Turkey steaks are cooked or how finely my milk is "stretched" when making a Flat White, but I don't much care about balancing a budget sheet or making sure that every line of a timesheet is filled out (for the record and if any clients are reading - of course I do these things, I'm just saying I don't feel I want to write home about them!).

Think about what you spend the most time and effort on, is it the things you love or things you would rather someone else did for you? If you are anything like me I am sure it is the former - which means often we can be most negligent about the detail of the things that really don't float our boat. However, for some people, making sure all the graphs are going in the same direction or spending hours to find that golden statistic is what they crave. It's those people we are most likely to rub up the wrong way in the workplace, the church or even the home!

Passions and pulls

I think the biggest reason why we grind one another's gears from time to time is a lack of understanding that one type of person is not lazy because they don't like Gantt charts, or another type of person is not anal because they love a good spreadsheet - it's just a difference of passions and pulls.

If you are experiencing friction with colleagues or loved ones, just take a second to think about is there a difference in passions here, and if there is, seek to find a way of getting passionate about what they are passionate about. In our marriage preparation course (a great course but I testify that nothing can prepare you for it!) I was told "if she's into shopping and Desperate Housewives - GET INTO shopping and desperate housewives!" - similarly my wife was told to "get into the rugby!". Why? Because as hard as you may try to understand what someone is into, or why they are asking you to do something you are never going to get on board unless you are passionate about it!

So they key to taking more care with the things we are not so keen on is caring more about them, to get precise in those things, you need to get passionate.

Out of office...

So it is with a sigh oh relief, and great joy that I left the office today for a well deserved Christmas break. What a term. What a year, and it's not out yet. The largest single piece of work I have ever produced is behind me. University is behind me. I've been capped, gowned and shoved out into the real world in these past fleeting 12 months and find myself in gainful employment in one of the most exciting creative environments I have ever set foot in- which is quite a statement for an office job but I think it's appropriate.

Being thrown in at the deep end of things has developed two quite polar feelings within me- 1. Fear and 2. Confidence. It's amazing how the prior really does help hone and shape the latter. I never invisioned myself at OPR, or doing what I do now, but now 2 months in I can't imagine doing anything else. Let's just hope the enthusiasm with which I write now is not cut short by the lethargy and slobbery of this Christmas period.

I am still questioning dailey whether this is me following the calling God has put on my life, or merely by own doing. But I know he has good plans for me, to prosper me and build me up. Right now i'm being built, and I am building. If this sphere of influence can be harnessed for the kingdom then why not we it? After all Christianity is in as much need of some decent PR as Nike, unilever, ford and alike, if not more so.

So my Christmas musing will be a little different than years past. For the first time I'm excited about my academic writing, yet no one is hounding me for it as I embarking of writing my first white paper, a conceptual piece which will feature here at some stage no doubt. Whoever would have guessed I would be writing such things of fun? Mr Hendy will be proud... Look him up his book on Radio 4 is very good...