I had a part-time job in an office where a couple of workers asked if I was still in school.
“Yes, unfortunately,” I said.
“Oh no!” they disagreed vehemently. “Be thankful you’re still in school. Stay in school as long as you can.”
The point being: work sucks. Entering the work force is the most unfortunate thing, and if I can stay in school forever, I should.
That reminds me of the 2004 movie “The Librarian: Quest for the Spear.” In it, Flynn is banned from school because he was a 30-something “professional student” with 22 degrees. He was afraid to leave school, but is forced to anyway (Jon Acuff would say he experienced a Career Bump, something negative and involuntary). Flynn is also forced to look for a job, and he lands one as The Librarian. The work plunges him in adventures that challenge him, test him, and threaten his life. He seems ill-fitted for the job at first, but then it become clear that being The Librarian is his purpose.
I said, “Yes, unfortunately” to school because I was desperate to graduate and step into my purpose, the work I was meant to do. I knew many people hated their jobs, but I never thought that would be me. I knew and had the job I wanted already. I was just going through college to be prepared for it better.
If only life followed our plans, right? After graduation, I thought I would just step into my purpose like Flynn. I thought I would go on grand adventures that will challenge and test me, maybe threaten my life, but I will come out victorious. I didn’t.
I wished I heeded the advice of those workers, and I kind of did. I went back to school and I tried to stay as long as I could, while also trying to figure out my purpose. For years I felt trapped. I understood why people hated Mondays. Freedom never equaled work. Well, or so I thought.
Jon Acuff wrote, “a better job begins with building a better you” (Do Over, p.2).
I know Acuff is talking about making yourself a better person and worker. He’s talking about building your Career Savings Account, but he could be talking about our hearts.
A better anything begins with building a better you. I was lost. There were things I needed to resolve about myself before I could be happy and content in anything…job, relationship, myself.
Flynn The Librarian had to work out his fear. Maybe you do, too, before you can begin to find freedom in your work. Maybe you need to work out the changes going on in your life. Maybe you need to resolve issues of forgiveness. I had to.
There is freedom in our work, but it starts with building a better us. It starts with resolving the issues in our lives. In facing our fears. In healing our hearts.