And You Think Your Job Is Bad?

And You Think Your Job Is Bad?

I’ve had my fair share of strange jobs.

Going through graduate school I picked weeds for a reclusive German heiress. It paid well, about $20 an hour I remember, but it was stressful. Every 20 minutes she’d come out and yell, “Youz doing itz all wrongz!”

The hardest job I ever had was the summer of my sophomore year in college. I worked for a construction company. I never really built anything, though. I mainly lugged around 50 lb. blocks of concrete while the year-round guys slept in the truck.

By far the grossest job I ever had was delivering diapers one sweltering summer break for a company called, General Diaper Delivery Service. This was back in the days when women used real diapers and babies expelled unusually large amounts of waste. I’m still in therapy over that job.

None of my jobs, however, compare to the strange jobs photographed by author/photographer Nancy Rica Schiff in her book, Odd Jobs: Portraits of Unusual Occupations. One day Schiff came across a person with an unusual job–the official timekeeper at a horse race track. She then started wondering about other “unusual” jobs that people have and set out to find those jobs and photograph the people who do them.

Here are a few jobs she photographed you might want to apply for:

  • Occularist – people who paint fake eyeballs
  • Crack filler– Schiff stood on top of Mt. Rushmore and photographed a crack filler repairing Jefferson’s nose
  • Assistant to knife thrower– how much does that person make?
  • Bull inseminator– and you think your job is bad?
  • Porta-potty serviceman– ever wonder about that guy?
  • Armpit sniffer– works for companies that make deodorant

My personal favorite was the professional page turner, Louis Yelnick, who turns the pages for famous pianists that play in Carnegie Hall in New York City. Yelnick, on page four, describes himself as “The man behind the man behind the man.”

Finding Your Perfect Job

How about your job? How is your job going?

Recently I picked up another book that was captivating.

It was a book about how to find the perfect career based on the teachings of the Bible. It talked about how to find your passion, understand your personality and tap into your inner strengths and values to craft a career of joy and impact and unending success. I said to myself, “They get all that from the Bible? I must have skimmed that chapter.”

Curious, I went back to the New Testament to rediscover all of the scintillating passages I had missed that discussed how Christians can find their perfect occupation. To my surprise I found only a handful of verses. And what I found didn’t resemble anything the author of that book discussed.

Here’s one verse in the Bible that summarizes the rest. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 says,

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

That’s it. Get a job. Work hard. Share what you make with people in need. Win the respect of people far from God. That may not be the sizzling content needed for a New York Times bestseller, but that’s all God told us to do.

Somehow I think that’s enough.

The Purpose Behind Your Job

Personally, I hope you find a job that pays an obscene amount of money, brings resounding personal fulfillment and makes you feel like a smashing success (Actually, I don’t. I thought you might feel better if I said that, though.)

What I really hope you find is a job where you can allow God to work through you to point others to Jesus. Whatever job that is, no matter how strange people may think it is, that’s the one that will truly make you happy.

There’s a thought I want to leave with you today, one shared by a very wise man. His name is Elton Trueblood. He was a Quaker and one of the great Christian philosophers of the 20th century. In his book, The Yoke of Christ, Trueblood reminds us,

“The greatest single ministry in which most men can engage is that which occurs in the pursuit of their regular employment.”

Remember that when you get discouraged about your job this week.

Crack filling can be a noble, rewarding profession if it is done with the hope of pointing others to Jesus.

How are you pointing others to Jesus through your regular employment?

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