Stuck in a Dead End Job (or Planted There?)


dead end jobGenesis 30

Michael Leamons in Reader’s Digest wrote the following for their “All in a Day’s Work” column:  “Although desperate to find work, I passed on a job I found on an employment website. It was for a waste water plant operator. Among the job requirements: “Must be able to swim.”(February 2000, p. 48.)

Some jobs are certainly more appealing than others.  Some may lead to future rewarding careers but others seem to keep us up to our necks in… waste water.

Last week we looked at two major decisions that Jacob made without the benefit of prayer:  marriage and career.  The first decision led him into matrimony with two jealous wives who used children in a game of one-up-man-ship for their husband’s affection.   The decision we look at this week is the decision regarding career which led Jacob into a dead end job with his scrupulous boss and father-in-law, Laban.  Lack of prayer landed him in a mess!  What can he do now?

Despite the less than ideal working conditions… chapter 30 reveals that Jacob still managed to prosper.

So the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels and donkeys.  (30:43)

The short of it is this: there is still grace to be found… even marking time in a dead end job.

Many years ago I worked in Cincinnati, OH at a small food distributor that has since gone out of business.   I paid the bills for this company on an antiquated computer system in an office of crazies.   One women oozed bitterness to everyone.  Another swore like a sailor.  Another made train noises while she worked because it helped her think.  (I am not making this up.)  I was making a meager living but not very happy and not at that time pursuing my calling in ministry.  I was miserable.

Sometimes you are in a bad position by others or your own missteps, but just as Jacob learned to prosper even while getting the short end of the stick… you too can discover that God hasn’t lost track of His long term plan for your life.  My stint at the food distributor was part of God’s larger plan for me.  Little by little I learned to make the most of it.  I wrote songs on my lunch hour and on the way to the mailbox… which I later recorded onto an album.  This job also gave me enough there to get my family back on track financially.  And I made a few lifelong friends through the whole process.

Stop looking at your current job situation as a life sentence in a dingy cell.  Trace the source of sunlight through the bars.  Hope exists even where you are.  Ask:  “What blessings might God be trying to get me to notice here?”   Know that God can redeem your work and that your job site could become an altar upon which to better worship Him.

Greg Laurie remarks:  “Maybe you are at such a place in your life right now. You are laboring in obscurity. You feel as if no one notices what you do. Follow the example of Joseph: Work hard. Flip every burger for the glory of God. Create every PowerPoint presentation as though Jesus Christ Himself were going to inspect it. Hammer every nail as though you were building that house for God. Type every letter as if Jesus Himself were going to read it. Play every chord with skill and precision as if Jesus were listening. Because he is. Whatever it is you are doing, do it well. Be faithful—even if there are consequences.”  (Losers and Winners, Saints and Sinners, pp. 165-166.)

Author A. W. Tozer notes:  “It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.”   Maybe that’s what God wants to speak into your life regarding your job:  THIS is where I can bless you now.  There may be other opportunities sometime later… but for now… THIS is where you are planted.   Examine where I have put the blooms onto your branches!

You who are caught in decisions of love and vocation. In the name of God stop and look at what you have.  It may be more than you think.

What blessings are you finding around the job site these days?  Are you sharing these things with a spouse or close friend?



3 thoughts on “Stuck in a Dead End Job (or Planted There?)

  1. i relate somewhat to this article.
    i have been stuck in the same role function over 11 years, doing mostly the same routine work. there’s little opportunity for future growth in this office, though the Company is really large and earning good profits.I had an opportunity to be promoted last year, but my manager didn’t push it through, for his own benefit obviously. He wanted me to be doing only his work and not moving on to a new role..!
    i have accepted these disappointments as part of God’s Plan for my season here in this Company. Its been 17 years that I have worked here.
    Two months ago, I interviewed for an open position in a local Christian Ministry (I am an occassional Donor to this Ministry too) to assist a Pastor in his daily office management – the work is similar to what i do at my current job, but more demanding and naturally, being a Christian Ministry, the pay would be less than 50% of my current take home package at my present job! now that’s something i really needed to think over..!
    At my first interview with the Pastor, he wanted to know if I had clearly heard from God to join the ministry. He understood i would be leaving a fairly well paying secular job if i left the Co. to join his Ministry. So he asked me to pray abt it first. He prayed for me at the end of the interview as well. He admitted he really was in need of an assistant with the kind of skills and experience I have gained over the years but he still wanted me to think it over and let him know after much prayer.

    Now, I enjoy a long weekend – Sat & Sun off at my current Company. The ministry is very busy on weekends with several prayer services taking place and I would only be entitled to take one mid week day off.
    I did pray about these things at that time and decided i can’t take such a huge cut in my pay package, no, not at this age / time in my life – i am 52 and single. No, I decided that i didn’t feel called to go into a Ministry office position either & no, I could not compromise on my long leisurely weekends!
    But this open position at the Ministry office has always been at the back of my mind somewhere… i don’t know why i have been thinking about it off & on ever since i interviewed with the Pastor. Yes it seems daunting to take on a new position in a new environment so i left it at that.
    I then asked my brother in law who is already in full time Ministry to interview for the same position because my sister and I both felt he would be fully suited to the role. But he lives very far away from the Ministry’s office and the Pastor told him it would not be feasible for him to drive down daily for over 2 hours to come to work for him.
    Yesterday my Performance Appraisal was done with my manager – i was unhappy with the appraisal, and have been generally unhappy with my appraisals done over the last 3-4 years. I have also been having difficulties working with my manager – he’s 77 yrs old and belongs to the old school of managing and can be very demanding and unfair at times. i have, however, learnt to manage his office.

    This morning i asked the Pastor if the position at his office is still open. He messaged him back to say it still is and i could come in and meet him on Saturday.

    Does anyone here have any views on this. suggestions / counsel most welcome


  2. Elizabeth… I am sorry to hear about the situation you are in. Without knowing your situation it would not be right for me to offer any specific advice. I would simply say that you have 3 choices: Stay where you are and attempt to bloom as best you can. Leave for this other position and trust God for what it lacks. Or… something else. I say that last one because it seems you have locked your decision into a choice of two options. God often has an answer that is beyond what we thought we were limited to. I will pray for you. I believe that if you rest this decision in His capable hands… you will find His peace in whatever choice is made. (Philippians 4:6-7) Blessings!


    • hi pastor Presnell thanks for your prompt response. its so full of Godly wisdom..
      yes i seem to be stuck somewhere….not knowing what’s up ahead..
      as you said so rightly i seem to stuck on one or the other – for now i decided not to go ahead
      and meet the Pastor for the ministry office position because i can’t get myself to work on Sundays, i believe its biblical to rest on the Sabbath day. But its not at all unusual for Ministries in India to have their staff working full time Sundays. its in fact the done thing here! all the major live in retreats, large prayer meetings happen over the weekend so everyone can attend. Personally i can’t understand why the office staff need to be on duty on Sundays at least …………
      I need SPECIFIC PRAYER for our brother Henry Jose, OUR ELDEST SIBLING.
      ITS TOO LONG A STORY SO I AM NOT GOING TO put it in here, but i trust the Holy Spirit will lead you as you pray for him, SUFFICE TO SAY – A LOT OF EVENTS TRANSPIRED OVER THE LAST 25 YRS OF HIS LIFE AND HE remains TODAY A SINGLE MAN (ABOUT 56 YRS OLD), AND EMBITTERED WITH LIFE, DISTANT FROM GOD BECAUSE HE FEELS HE HAS BEEN GIVEN AN UNFAIR DEAL in life and nothing really worked out for him – the saddest event in his life was that he could not return to flying full time after he qualified in 1987. he hasn’t flown in 25 years..OUT OF THAT BITTERNESS HE TREATS HIS SIBLINGS UNFAIRLY and esp. my sister and I have been at the receiving end of this treatment because we live with him at our family home.
      Myself for the last 25 yrs since i hv remained single too, and my sister, whose marriage is in a crisis, has also joined us at the same home since 1 & 1/2 years after she returned from Australia in Oct 2013.
      Okay Pastor so a lot of heartfelt prayers are needed for Henry, myself and our sister Mary Hemant

      In Christ lovingly,

      elizabeth jose
      mumbai city,


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