I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Many people want to serve God, but only as advisers.”
Do you think your job is to “advise” the universe on how it should function and work better?
(If so, how’s that working out?)
If we aren’t here to advise God, what is our job?
Here’s a way to think about answering that question.
Imagine for a moment that the universe is your employer.
Based on the way you actually live your life – not on how you wish you lived it – answer the following questions on The Universe’s Job Survey:
- What is your job title?
- What department do you work in?
- How high ranking are you in your department?
- Do you have a job description?
- What do your responsibilities include?
- Do you enjoy your work?
- What could you do to improve your performance?
- Does your job have fixed hours and what are the benefits?
- Do you steal office supplies?
The idea of a taking a personal inventory is as old as religion itself. I’ll talk more about that later.
So, based on the way that you live your life, how would you answer?
1. Job title: __________________
2. Department: __________________
4. Job description:__________________
5. Responsibilities include:__________________
6. Enjoy your work:__________________
7. What could you do to improve your performance?__________________
8. Hours and benefits?__________________
9. Do you steal office supplies?
My Answers to the Universe’s Job Survey
I work in the department of human resources. My job description mentions the phrases “do that which is right,” “be compassionate,” and ask “how can I help?” The hours are somewhat on an as-needed basis, but I tend to work more than I need to. I don’t enjoy my benefits as often as I should, alas, due to my constant over-working. My responsibilities include my family, my students, and myself. I have no comment about the office supplies.
Follow-up Question Set #1:
If you don’t like your current job, what job do you wish you had?
(My friend Brandon once told me he was hoping for a job as an oak-tree shade tester.)
How do you imagine you could go about changing departments?
Follow-up Question Set #2:
Which department other than your own do you think rates the highest in job satisfaction? Do you know people in that department?
Which department do you think gives its workers the best benefits – and what are those benefits?
Do you think there is a correlation between benefits and job satisfaction?
Moral inventories are a hallmark of many religious traditions. (Please note: these inventories are not supposed to be done with severe judgment. They are supposed to be an act of accounting – something to help you know what is going on inside your soul.)
Jewish tradition calls its version of The Universe’s Job Survey Hesh’bone Ha’Ne’Fesh – an accounting of the soul. Muslim tradition calls it the same: Jihad Bin Nafs. Twelve-step work calls this the fourth step: make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
I will end this article with a quote from the Bible that is in stark contrast to the notion that any of us serve God as advisers. It humbles me every time I truly contemplate it. The quote is something God said to Moses.
And it’s spiritual-religious advice:
Know before whom you stand.