Should workplace culture or company values factor into a Christian jobseeker’s decision, especially in an economic climate where work is hard to find?
Edited transcript below
So, there’s an implication in that question where the questioner is asking: is it okay for me to compromise certain standards about the type of job that I take when the economic situation is bad, when it’s tough to find jobs.
The answer to that is that there are certain core principles that we have to apply to the kind of work we do, to the kind of jobs that we take up as Christians; and we’ll talk about those core principles shortly here. They are ones we should never compromise on. But within those core principles, there’s a lot of latitude in what company you work for and what kind of job you take up.
So what are those core principles? Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 10:31. It says: whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Now, the context there is talking about eating and drinking, but there’s a broader principle there that you can apply to many areas of life, especially to our jobs. The jobs that we do should be of a nature that allow us to do them to the glory of God.
The jobs that we do should be of a nature that allow us to do them to the glory of God
The second point I’d make is the core principle of our testimony. As Christians, we need to be engaging in the kinds of work that allow us to maintain our testimony as a Christian. We need to understand what is a particular firm or company selling, what product are they selling, what service are they delivering, what impact does it have on other people — and on society as a whole — and, accordingly, we need to make a decision on whether that’s a job that is appropriate for us in maintaining our testimony.
And then the final core principle is that the kind of work we do should not require us to compromise on certain core ethical principles. So, they shouldn’t be requiring us to do unethical things, things that we know are wrong, not just from a Biblical perspective — but maybe from a legal perspective.
So, with all of those in mind, I think those are some core principles that we shouldn’t compromise.
The questioner asked about culture and values. Certainly, almost all large companies nowadays try to build a certain culture and they try to build a culture by articulating certain values which are all very well put out. It’s about integrity and about respect and equality and so many other things.
Ultimately, the values put down on paper need to be brought to life by fallen human beings and there will a lot of imperfections with that
But it’s very hard to know when you’re trying to find a job: what is the real situation within a company? They may have values and objectives on paper, but do they really live those values? And you really don’t know that until you join a company.
And certainly we have to also remember that we live in a fallen world. So, it doesn’t matter what a company may intend and what they may write down on paper. Ultimately, those things have to be brought to life by fallen human beings and there will be a lot of imperfections with that; there’ll be a lot of problems with that.
They may not always align with those stated values but, for us as Christians, we shouldn’t look for perfection in any job, but we should go back to those core principles:
Those are the core principles that, no matter what the economic situation, we need to hold to in terms of the kind of jobs we’re willing to do and the kind of jobs we sign up to do.
(Video courtesy: Philip Prabhakaran)
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