Six Questions to Ask When Choosing a Job

Job search

Let’s be honest…choosing a job can be a nerve-racking experience. Whether you are a high school student getting a summer job, a college student looking for an internship, a recent college graduate searching for your first position, or an experienced professional taking the next step in your career, a lot hangs in the balance when pursuing a new job opportunity. As someone who recently when through this process myself, I can relate to the difficulty of narrowing down your options and ultimately choosing which direction to go. Rather than letting your emotions take control and paralyze you in indecision, it is best to go take a rational approach to help filter offers and make a decision. In their book “The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Job,” Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger offer six questions that can help you find, filter, and select a job. They break the questions down into two categories: the “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” Here are their questions:  “Must-Haves”

  1. Does this job glorify God? If you are a Christian, this is the most important thing to consider. Since the goal for every believer is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” it essential that we do work that allows us to honor and obey Him. If a position could potentially lead you into sin, then cross it off your list.
  2. Does this job permit me to live a godly life? This question wants you to consider how your job will affect other areas of your life. Think about the other obligations you have in your life: spouse, parent, boyfriend/girlfriend, church member, community leader, etc. Will the new position allow you to devote the necessary time, energy, and resources to those roles or will it require so much time and energy that you’ll have to default on those obligations? As a parent, it is critical that there is no substitute for you in your child’s life. I have known many men and women who regret sacrificing quality time with their kids in pursuit of their career goals. This is also important when it comes to involvement in a local church. When evaluating your options, see if there is a gospel-centered church in the city you’d be moving to (Good places to start include the 9Marks, Acts29, and Gospel Coalition websites). A good church is harder to find than a good job, so be sure to take this consideration.
  3. Does this job provide for my needs and allow me to be a blessing to others? One of the primary purposes for getting a job in the first place is to allow you to pay bills, buy things, and invest/save for the future. This question may seem like a no-brainer, but I have had several friends who took a position that may have been something they were passionate about, but didn’t pay them enough to adequately fulfill their current and/or future responsibilities. Don’t feel bad about caring about money in your job search, or even for asking for a higher wage during the interview process. Of course, this must be balanced by vigilance against greed, but is important to consider nonetheless. And if you find yourself in a position where you’re getting paid more than you need to sustain your lifestyle, consider how you can bless others with the excess (and even give sacrificially regardless of what you make).

“Nice-to-Haves”

  1. Does this job benefit society in some way? For many of my fellow Millennials, this question is carries a lot of weight in their job search. While it is good to consider, it shouldn’t be the most important criteria. This can also be a hard question to quantify. For example, who made a bigger impact on society: Bill Gates, a billionaire tech mogul, or Mother Theresa, a poor nun? So don’t think too narrowly about how a position could impact the world. An accountant could use his position to help people in rough financial situations set a budget, plan for the future, and get back on the right track. The company could be like Safe Foods Corporation who I now work for: helping create a safer food supply for the world with the technologies we develop and sell.
  2. Does this job take advantage of my gifts and talents? Not everyone has the luxury to work in a job that they are good at, but if you can find one that takes advantage of your abilities then consider it a blessing, not a necessity. It is better to have a job that allows you to glorify God and provide for yourself but may not good at than to not have a job at all because you’re holding out for your “dream job.” This is especially true for your first few years in the workforce: very few people start out in their “dream job.” If you find yourself doing something you may not be good at, keep in mind that is generally easier to find another job that may be better at if you already have a job.
  3. Is this job something I want to do? This is the least important of the six questions. However, it is nice to be able to get to this question in your filtering process and have the kind of job that doesn’t even feel like a job because it’s something you enjoy so much. We should have realistic expectations about how much fulfillment work can really give us and how much of a priority our enjoyment is when choosing a job, but, let’s be honest, it’s great to be able to do something you get excited about every day.

The six questions above are an incredibly helpful tool for filtering potential job opportunities. In addition to going through that process, I would highly suggest seeking wise counsel from friends, family, and mentors. Others have the ability to objectively assess the situation and point out any blind spots that you may have because of inexperience or emotions. In the end, you must make an informed decision based on your answers to the six questions, the advice of trusted companions, and your personal needs and preferences. Don’t get bogged down in indecision. Know that God will use you wherever you work, that you (most likely) won’t be locked into that position forever, and that every job you have is an opportunity to learn new things, serve others, and most importantly glorify God.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

Have some tips for job seekers? Share them in the Comments below.

[image credit: Kate Hiscock on Flickr]

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About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

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