Reprinted from CityGate.
“The Big Quit” is underway and has been through most of 2021. Early data shows no sign of it slowing down in 2022. In fact, it seems to be accelerating. The most recent data from November of 2021 shows more than 4.5 million people quit – a new record.
One of the refrains I hear over and over from many who are either considering resigning or already have sounds something like this: ”I want my work to have meaning and purpose,” or “My work just isn’t very satisfying.”
But what if we are looking at our work the wrong way?
What if we have it backwards?
We believe that work is good. Early in the Genesis narrative, we see God himself working as he breathes into being the earth, sky and seas, the flora and fauna and the living creatures. And ultimately the creation of human beings, to whom he gave all of this to tend and to work in it. Yes, in a broken world, work has toilsome, even painful, aspects to it. But it is both good and part of God’s created order for the world.
And He calls each of us to participate in work with Him every day, wherever we are placed.
In the coming months, CityGate will endeavor to unpack the idea that we have it backwards – that we bring our meaning and purpose to our work, not expect our work to provide it. The crisis upon us is, in part, a crisis of calling, not just work.
We are all called by God at several levels — first and foremost into relationships with him, and then into relationships with others. Our unique calling – who he made us to be – provides direction towards how we contribute to his economy in our everyday work (whether compensated or not). And while each of us share some common elements of that calling, we are also gifted and called in ways unique to us so that we must learn to steward well.
In our spring Labs series, we are pleased to partner with the De Pree Center at Fuller Seminary to welcome friends and colleagues on this journey of calling, work, and purpose.
February 17: Calling and Work
Join Dr. Michaela O’Donnell Executive Director of the De Pree Center to dive into why we often confuse our work and career with calling and the dysfunctional beliefs that keep us stuck. We will examine why passion is a poor criteria for a job search, how to uncover our calling, and why taking the next ‘doable risk’ is vital to our growth and flourishing. Dr. O’Donnell, author of recently released Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World, is eminently practical and will offer valuable insight into navigating the choppy waters of our current work environment.
March 17: Calling and Context
Dr. Patrick Reyes, author of The Purpose Gap, brings much needed perspective on the ‘gap’ “between those who can achieve their dreams and find lives of meaning and purpose, and those who must overcome great adversity just to imagine a better life.” Where we come from, our context, is deeply connected to our ability to uncover our purpose and be a part of much needed change to aid dispossessed, marginalized, ignored, Chicano and broader Latinx/e/o/a community, Black, Indigenous, and people of color in realizing their potential and pursuing their purpose.
April 21: Calling and Purpose
With Dr. Nicholas Pearce we will discuss how discovering our ‘why’ and stewarding it well is core to our purpose path. We will also hear from Dr. Pearce on the role of courage in vocation. Dr. Pearce is the Professor of Management and Organization at Kellogg School of Management, the Founder of the Vocati Group, and author of The Purpose Path: A Guide to Pursuing Your Authentic Life Work.
May 19: Calling and Coherence
Dr. Steven Garber, Senior Fellow for Vocation & the Common Good M.J. Murdock Trust, has been thinking, writing and teaching on the topic of vocation for most of 35 years. His oft quoted “Vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission of God” has informed hundreds on their own vocational journey. Dr. Garber will bring this series to a close as we integrate all that we have learned and address the questions: how are we ‘implicated’ by our calling & what does it mean to steward vocation well?