What to Do When Your Work Compromises Your Values

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Picture this: You worked really hard to pay off all of your debt. You were knee-deep in school loans, credit cards, a car note, and a few personal loans and medical bills. But you cut up your credit cards. You got gazelle intense. You shaved your budget down, lived on rice and beans, and picked up extra jobs.

It was hard and it didn’t happen overnight, but you did it. Now you’re debt-free! And on top of that, you got a promotion at work! You’re making more money and owe nothing to anyone (Romans 13:8). It feels pretty good, right? Things are shaping up.

But then you find out you’re getting a company credit card now that you’re in a role “with more responsibility.” Yikes. It’s uncomfortable to even read it—can you imagine if that happened to you? Does it make you squirm a little?

Maybe you’ve never been in that exact position. Maybe you’ve been asked to sell a product that you don’t believe in or you were told to treat someone differently based on their age, race, gender, or income. What do you do in those situations? It's a sticky subject with a lot of variables. But if something about your job is causing a check in your spirit, you have three options.

1. Set your boundaries.

Sometimes we forget that we're allowed to say no. Don't feel like you always have to say yes to what someone asks you to do just because you're in the office. Now, that isn't permission to be rude, slack off, or not be a good team player. But it's okay to let your coworkers and boss know what you believe—and to say no when you're asked to do something that goes against those beliefs.

2. Look for a compromise.

Is there a way for you to meet in the middle? If you can get the job done without sacrificing what you believe, then great. Think about Daniel from the Bible. Daniel 1:8 (NIV) tells us that he "resolved not to defile himself with royal food and wine." Instead, he asked for vegetables and water. The guard in charge gave Daniel 10 days to try his alternative—and in the end Daniel was healthier than the other men who ate the royal food. He found a compromise that worked for him and for the guard, and he never had to sacrifice his values. You never know what compromises you might be able to reach until you start exploring your options.

3. Find another job.

This is probably the most uncomfortable option. Most people don’t enjoy change. A lot of us would rather live with discomfort than rock the boat. But if your work doesn’t line up with your values and you start sacrificing what you stand for to keep your job, it's going to affect your spirit. That doesn’t mean you should quit your job without a plan. But if you’ve exhausted your other options, it might be time to dust off your resume and see what else is out there. And that’s okay. 

At the end of the day, our work is more than a job—it’s an opportunity for worship. In fact, the Bible is clear that we ultimately work for God, not just for people (Colossians 3:23). But it’s hard to feel like you’re serving your Creator if you’re working in an environment that asks you to set aside what you believe in order to get a job done.

career | @ChrisBrownOnAir