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Monday, May 21, 2018

Don’t Ever Quit Working

A few years ago, I helped start a monthly meeting of older men in our church. We call it the 55+ Men’s Group. Last Saturday was our final meeting before a summer break.

The theme of our meeting was on worldview. As a preliminary to the study, I asked the men a couple of questions related to the season of graduation that is upon us. The questions were: “What person most influenced your life in your younger years?” and…"What advice would you give a graduate if they asked for your best wisdom as they headed out into the world?”

On that second question, there were funny lines, of course. One chap said, “Don’t get caught!” Another fellow said, “Plastics.” But most delivered a serious response. A few dealt with keeping your moral conduct a priority. Some dealt with choosing the right friends. A couple offered perspectives on work including, “Make sure you go to a job that you enjoy. I hate the term ‘work.’”

One of my consistent pieces of advice to grads is this: Don’t be afraid to make a change in your career path. Some people don’t discover what they really are best suited for until later in life. I refer to this as discovering your “bullseye” and have blogged on this before.

A second piece of advice I would offer is to avoid committing to a path to “stop working.” I mentioned one of our 55+ men said that he hated the word “work.” It’s not uncommon. And yet, he really didn’t mind going to “work” in the job he enjoyed!

My friend and co-blogger Rick Ezell shared some good thoughts on work recently in his column “Defining Moments.” To the question “Why do I work?” Rick wrote, “Some people work for money. Others work for opportunity. Respect is another reason people work. But what happens when the money dries up? What happens when the opportunities halt? What if people don’t like you? What if there is a downturn or downsizing? What then?” Rick adds, “The key to finding purpose and meaning in your job is connecting what you do all day with what you think God wants you doing.”

How do you know if you’re in the wrong job? An anonymous source said this: “When you wake up at 6 in the morning, you close your eyes for 5 minutes and it's already 6:45. When you're at work and it's 2:30, you close your eyes for 5 minutes and it's 2:31.” You get the message.

I return to a question I asked last week. Why was Steve Jobs working, even long hours, up to his death? Why does Cousin Brucie stay on Sirius XM doing radio shows at the age of 82? Why is Warren Buffett still investing wildly at the age of 87? You know why. They ENJOY their work.

This is why I say don’t ever quit working—IF you can continue to do what you were made to do and still enjoy it. If you’re not working in that way, now would be a good time to make a shift. God has placed you on earth for a purpose.

Pastor and theologian John Piper has said, “Work is a glorious thing. If you are starting to grow lazy, I summon you back to joy. God made us to work. He formed our minds to think and our hands to make. He gave us strength—little or great—to be about the business of altering the way things are.”

Ready to retire? Then retire to the work that gives you the most joy and satisfaction in life. Teach others the life skills needed to make a better world. Invest in souls who will lead us into the future.

While you’re at it, share some wisdom with some graduates about life and work. You might be the person that most influences their future.

Even Confucius was unconfused about work, saying “Choose a work that you love and you won’t have to work another day.” Or was that Jimmy Fallon?

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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