We have always had a dream job. When we were a little kid we look in awe and wonder at the superheroes, thinking they were the coolest thing in the world. We dreamed of being like them. As we grow older our dreams change, they become more realistic. You need to start looking for a job, think about your 401(k), get married. Regardless reality hits our childhood dreams like a meat cleaver. We sometimes reminisce about when we wanted to be a pirate or a princess but ultimately there’s not a lot of job openings for princesses.
I dreamed of being a film director. I wanted to create films like my heroes of cinema, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, The Coen Brothers, to name a few. But now even that has morphed. Graduation is coming and I have yet to find the job application for a “wildly successful multi-million dollar film director.” Then I realize, do I need a dream job? Is a dream job ever achievable? No and no.
I often find myself wondering if I need a dream job, an aspiration of sorts to keep me motivated. What can I do to service myself in this job? How can I get ahead to snatch that managerial position? If I do this maybe they’ll notice and promote me. Oftentimes we are incredibly selfish when we get a job. Marshall Segal comments,
“Success at work will play god and make promises to you that it cannot and will not keep. Success promises to fill holes in our hearts. If you only ascend this high or accumulate this much, your fears and insecurities will be resolved once for all. Success promises the love of those around us. They will finally give you the respect and affection you crave. Success says it can cover everything wrong about us. It offers esteem, control, and security — everything we surrendered in our sin. It wears the savior’s costume and presents itself the strong, charming, and trustworthy hero.”
There’s something idolatrous about success. How can I make myself successful? It can be a very selfish motivation. I’m going to posit a different way of thinking about this: you don’t need a dream job and success to motivate you. Do you job selflessly for others and for the glory of God.
De-rail, what exactly is God’s glory? John Piper gives a perfect explanation: “The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of his manifold perfections.”
Re-rail, strive not for your dream job, strive for the two greatest commandments. This seems antithetical to our Western world. That’s because it is meant to be. “Do all to the glory of God.” Don’t think about how you can get ahead, think about how you can glorify God. We cannot compartmentalize our lives: we are a worker Monday through Friday and a Christian on Sunday. No, we are Christians 24/7. We are light to the darkness, salt unto the earth. Why shouldn’t the way we work reflect that?
The dream job is never achievable because they are just that, dreams. Figments of our imagination. If we are not careful they will consume us and take God’s rightful place as our guiding motivation when we work. Segal inputs, “Wherever we work, we’ve been deployed by God as agents of everlasting joy.” If we are not careful, our dream jobs will make us incredibly unsatisfied with the job we have. Instead of seeing it as a ministry opportunity we may see it as a momentary place where at the end we reach success. While our jobs may be momentary think of the end result as God getting praise and glory. People will credit you with a job well done but don’t forget who has blessed you with your skills.
Praise God when you have a job, praise Him when you are fired, praise Him when you resign, praise him above your dream job.