by Crown Financial Ministries (http://crown.org/)
Anyone who thinks that career decisions are not related to income expectations is very naïve. Perhaps there are a few dedicated individuals who know in their late teens or early twenties exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives, but they are in the minority. The vast majority of people who make career decisions early in life are motivated by income expectations.
The mere fact that someone is motivated by income expectations is not necessarily wrong. After all, earning a living is a necessity of life. What is wrong is making career decisions based primarily on future income considerations. It has been proven that people who choose career fields strictly because of the income potential generally will become dissatisfied with their jobs and will feel miserably trapped in career fields where they have little or no real interest—like most Americans today. In essence, income expectations have often overruled God”s vocational plans, and career decisions are based on projected income—not satisfaction.
How do you weigh income against career satisfaction? Does one always have to be chosen over the other, or can we be satisfied with our careers as well as with the income our careers generate? It is easy to fall back on platitudes like “Do what makes you the happiest,” or “Do what comes naturally,” but is that always the most practical advice?
A large part of God’s plan for our lives is that we have fulfillment through how we earn a living. Our work is part of our witness (see Proverbs 22:29). If we are committed to serving God through our careers, He will direct us into the career that not only provides for our needs financially but also gives the most peace, satisfaction, and fulfillment, based on our natural abilities and talents. God has equipped each of us to do one thing better than anyone else. Therefore, we must find what God has equipped each of us to do best and then do it!
Satisfied workers are those who match their interests and abilities with their job choices. If you know what you are best equipped to do and prepare accordingly, you can do well in any field, because success is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration. However, most people don’t know what they are best equipped to do. They need help to identify their strengths, talents, and abilities and to adopt a longer-term perspective about their futures.
Crown Financial Ministries’ Career Direct assessment is an excellent tool that helps people identify their strengths and weaknesses in four personality dimensions: interests, abilities, temperament, and work values. The Career Direct assessment program is grounded on several biblical principles: Each person is uniquely designed by God (see Psalm 139:13-14); Each person has been given unique talents for a purpose (see Romans 12:6-8); Each person must develop those talents for excellence (see Proverbs 22:29); and Work is a stage for a person’s higher calling (see Matthew 5:16).
After strengths and weaknesses have been identified, people can decide how they need to enhance their talents and skills and in what direction they should pursue their career choices, based on their strengths and abilities.
Enhancement of strengths
Recent surveys suggest that only about 10 percent of workers who attended college are actually working in their fields of study. That means that most college students have no idea what they are going to school for and have no ultimate goal. Many, in fact, will study subjects that are not their fields of strength, because those fields are where the current jobs are available.
A college education is not the answer for everyone; God’s direction is. Finding God’s career direction for your life first is much more important than obtaining education and then trying to find a career that can utilize the education you received. God’s career direction will always complement your strengths, talents, and abilities. Once you have a good idea of what God wants you to do with your life, you can secure any additional training and education needed to enhance your strengths and abilities. Many times vocational/technical institutions, specialized correspondence courses, or on-the-job instruction will provide the training needed, rather than college.
The needed training comes from college, a vocational institution, or specialized courses. You must guard against going into debt to obtain the training or accumulating debt while being trained. Too many students have so encumbered themselves while learning that they have become slaves to debt, instead of being available to be used for God’s purpose. Being debt free allows you to be available to be used as God directs. If God is in control of your career path, He will supply the funds necessary for you to get the training you need without going into debt. Trust Him and seek His provision.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we give our careers and vocations to the Lord and seek His direction, He not only will give peace and satisfaction regarding career choices, but also through that career He will provide for us financially. By relying on Him and trusting His directives we will always choose the right career for the right motives.