(This blog post comes with an opening disclaimer. This is one of those “if the shoe fits” kind of posts, but it promises to make a few people mad. This is my personal blog and I never want my fear of offending people to dictate my willingness to share truth.)
Recently I delivered a message to our church about the type of work ethic Christians should have. You can watch that message HERE or listen to it HERE. There were thoughts in preparing to speak that I could not fit into my time allotted for the message, but I felt were important enough to share. This is one of those thoughts.
I have had a very diverse work background in my work life. I have worked in the secular world longer than the ministry world, but I have been an employer and an employee. I have been a self-employed small business owner and worked for a large corporation. I have worked with non-profits and for profits and I have served in government office.
Here is one conclusion I have reached:
Non-profit environments, whether that is government, church or para-church ministry, more easily allow people to have a poor work ethic.
There I said it. Cast stones, as you will.
Granted some of the hardest working people I have ever met are in those fields. I know pastors who work far too many hours and far too much is expected of them. I know ministers who experience burnout and allow their families to suffer because of it. I know government workers who give far more value to their organization than they earn in salary. Personally I have never worked more hours than since I entered full-time vocational ministry.
I also, however, and the point of this post, know many people who work in the non-profit arena who take advantage of the flexible schedules and the more guaranteed jobs, far more it seems as a percentage than I knew in the secular working environment. While I have always been an equal advocate for protecting one’s family and placing them first over one’s work, and while I practiced this with my family while I was in secular work, I also believe that flexible schedules should never be an excuse for laziness.
I have wondered why this is the case, at least from my observations, and the conclusions I can come to are:
- The lack of profit-making incentive leads to a less strict working environment.
- The fear of losing a job is less an issue in non-profits. Churches and ministries rarely fire or layoff people and it is harder to do so in most government settings than in the for profit world.
- There is less sense of failure in non-profit work. Many of the goals and objectives of non-profits are less measurable than a strictly profit-based measure of success, so it is easy to claim success even with less effort applied to the work.
These are just thoughts. I am especially curious to hear from those who have worked in both for profit and non-profit work environments, but I would love to have anyone’s feedback. What do you think? Have I made you mad? Have you seen this trend? Am I way off base? Does the shoe fit? Could anyone question your work ethic?