The stress of the modern workplace is well documented. It’s a big ocean out there, and there are lots of things that can eat you really quickly. Downsizing, acquisitions, an ever-hastening technology cycle…anyone is suddenly vulnerable to being out of luck and out of work. In light of that, it seems ever more essential to press a little harder, push a little more, stay a little later, drive more. We do it because we realize now that our employer isn’t going to take care of us. Most employers (not all, but many) view us as resources to be used. We know we can’t trust in their paternalism, so we respond by seizing control of our own career, charting our own course, moving through the ocean fast enough that nothing can catch us and eat us.
But where does it stop? Many people who do all of those things still end up out of luck and out of work. Because no matter how good we are, we’re still creating a mirage. There are still forces bigger than us that can ruin our plans, no matter how well laid. A new CEO is appointed, another company suddenly acquires ours, world affairs continents away suddenly change our business model. Truth is, we’re never THAT big a fish. We think we’re controlling our own careers and destiny, but we’re not nearly as “in control” as we think.
Psalm 127 reminds us of exactly this:
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
2It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
5Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Where have I been seeking to “build my house” in my vocation? Where do I need to return my ultimate faith and trust to being in the Lord instead of in my own ability?