By Robert J. Tamasy
One of the most valuable, yet underappreciated, documents for both hiring and managing people is the job description. Designed for both employer and employee, it describes the duties, responsibilities, and expectations for a particular job so both clearly understand what is expected.
Years ago, when I was hired by CBMC to serve as editor and publications director, my job description included serving as editor for the ministry magazine and co-authoring a book with the president of the organization. I had never written a magazine article, but my 10 years of writing feature articles for newspapers provided a good foundation. And writing a book was one of my personal goals, so this seemed like a job description from heaven.
Job descriptions are not fail-safe, however. When boss and subordinate are not aligned on what a job entails, problems can arise – even serious ones. I remember a CEO who told about a time when he got sideways with an employee simply because he and she were not in accord on what was expected.
After some time, disappointed with the employee’s work, he called her into his office, prepared to inform her that her services would no longer be required. Easing into the difficult situation, he asked, “How do you like your job?” “Oh, I love it!” she replied with enthusiasm. Stunned, he inquired, “Well, tell me how you think you’re doing.” The employee responded by stating how well she felt she was doing and describing in detail the tasks she was performing.
Quickly the CEO realized this employee was doing a very good job – except not the work he had been expecting her to do. The problem wasn’t the job description, but his failure at the onset to ensure they were both in agreement about what was expected. Rather than firing her, he ended up giving her a pay increase – and a thorough review of her job description to clarify her responsibilities.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have a second “job description” – what God expects of you in your role as an “ambassador for Christ,” as 2 Corinthians 5:20 describes it. We could cite many responsibilities as they are set forth in the Scriptures, but here are a few:
To love God and others. Asked to identify the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:337-39).
To be a wholehearted worker. We should strive be witnesses for Jesus with our words, but we show the depth and genuineness of our faith through our diligence and commitment to excellence in all that we do. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
To work with integrity. Putting a priority on honesty and integrity helps us to stand out in the business and professional world where compromise and dishonesty are rampant. “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3). “Honest scales and balances are from the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making” (Proverbs 16:11).
© 2023. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Pursuing Life with a Shepherd’s Heart, coauthored with Ken Johnson; andThe Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.
- Do you have a formally written job description? If so, have you reviewed it recently? How well do you think you are fulfilling it?
- Have you ever experienced a situation as was described, when employer and employee did not have the same understanding of the job’s expectations? What kinds of problems could result from that?
- How do you react to the idea that if you believe in God and are a follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible offers a different perspective on your job description in the marketplace? What could be the consequences if we do not understand this?
- What other teachings in the Bible do you think apply here, describing how Christ followers should conduct themselves in the business and professional world? What does it say about communicating our faith?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 14:5, 18:9, 22:4; Colossians 3:17, 4:5-6; James 2:14-17; 1 Peter 3:15-16