Renewal Through An Honest Look At My Work

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Have you ever wondered if you are doing the right thing when it comes to your job?

Maybe you simply like to do new things every once in a while, so you raise your hand and pursue new opportunities on a regular basis. Or perhaps, you are like me; you find a lane and you stick to it for a long time.

Last month, I celebrated my 25th anniversary at my company. In May of this year, I will officially be working in my industry for 27 years. My roles have changed over the years as I’ve grown through my experience and as the right opportunities have opened up for me. I started in more of an engineering and field technician role. After a few years, I moved into more of an project management and engineering role. Around the time I completed my MBA, I moved from a project management role to a people management role. Today, I find myself in charge of a large team with large revenue expectations. Perhaps, it is the increased stress and pressure I have felt in my role recently, or perhaps, it is simply the time of my life where I find myself asking the question above wondering if I am doing the right thing when it comes to my job.

On Friday morning, I had an important conversation with a couple of my friends. I shared with them my recent questioning, and I talked to them about my desire to find joy and significance in what I do for my career. At the age of 49, I still have very productive years ahead of me. I want to do work that matters. I want to leave a legacy. I don’t want to waste my time or my working energy by doing something that is insignificant and life-taking. One of my friends suggested I read Half Time – Moving From Success to Significance by Bob Buford. Without wasting any time, I downloaded the Audible version of the book. I’ve been listening, and I’m already learning – stretching.

In Half Time, Buford offers 13 questions worth considering as we consider how to make the most of our “Second Half”. I wanted to share them with you here. I’m still reflecting and figuring out my own answers to these questions, but I thought they might help you as well.

13 Questions (From Bob Buford) For Having A Significant Second Half

  1. Am I missing anything in my life right now that is important to me?
  2. What am I passionate about?
  3. Who am I?
  4. What do I value?
  5. What do I want to be doing in 10 years?
  6. What do I want to be doing in 20 years?
  7. What gifts has God given me that have been perfected over time?
  8. What gifts has God given me that I have been unable to use?
  9. What would I be willing to die for?
  10. What is it about my job that makes me feel trapped?
  11. What realistic changes can I make in my employment?
  12. Would I be willing to take a less stressful and lower paying job to be happier – to be closer to my true self?
  13. What steps do I need to take tomorrow to have a second half that is better than my first half?

These are powerful and challenging questions. If you are like me, I’d suggest you find time to seriously consider your answers to each of these questions. If you are married, share the questions and your answers with your spouse. If possible, find a close friend or two with whom you can share your answers. I don’t believe these questions should be answered quickly. I think it will take time, reflection, revision, guidance, and prayer.

As I move through this year of renew, finding renewal in my work is extremely important to me. I recognize that work may not always be fun, but I also don’t believe it is meant to be a death sentence. Fulfillment in our work is possible. Significance in our work if achievable. Purpose in our work is important.

God, renew my sense of fulfillment, my sense of purpose, and my sense of significance in my work. Give me wisdom, and guide me as I seek to honor you through my work.