How to start your new job well | City Bible Forum

How to start your new job well

Six suggestions for how to honour Christ in your career-change

How to start your new job well

Tue 7 Dec 2021
Six suggestions for how to honour Christ in your career-change

With widespread reports that the beginning of 2022 will bring the Great Resignation, we recently explored how to decide if it’s time to leave your job.

But what about what comes next? You’ve finished your previous job well in a way that honours Christ, and bears witness to your colleagues. But how might the Christian faith shape the way you begin that new job – whether it's starting out in the workplace for the first time, or changing mid-career. Here are six suggestions:

1. Before you start, consider what you want to do differently

A new job is one of those rare opportunities in life where we get a chance to make a fresh start. Inevitably we’ve reflected from time to time on the kind of person we are with our colleagues, and the ways we work, and have thought, “If I could start over I’d do that differently”. Well a new job is your chance to do that!

So before you race into your new job (and potentially develop patterns that you’d prefer not to) take time to reflect on those things that you want to do differently next time around.

2. Come out as a Christian early

One of those things might be to “come out” much earlier than you have previously as a Christian. For me this has always been a high priority when starting a new job, to nail my colours to the wall as quickly as possible.

There are at least three reasons why I’ve always wanted to make my Christian faith known to my new colleagues as soon as possible. Firstly, it actually becomes harder the longer you wait. Secondly, I want them to know about the most significant thing that makes me who I am, namely my faith. And thirdly, I want them to know what motivates me to work as I do; not because I am a nice person but because of how Christ is changing me.

We don’t need to make this a big deal. It can be as simple as slipping into conversation social activities we’ve done on the weekend with friends from church, or sharing about a conversation you had at a mid-week Bible study on an issue that your colleagues might also be discussing.

3. Start as you want to continue

As a Christian it may be your strong desire to love and serve others through your work, and be a blessing to your colleagues, loving them, and sharing your faith with them. But sometimes we might think the time for that will come – to begin I just need to get settled in, and get myself established before I focus on others.

However, while starting a new job can sometimes feel overwhelming as we try to wrap our heads around new processes, people, and policies, nevertheless we should start as we wish to continue.

In part, because the longer we wait to be the kind of person in the workplace we desire to be (and know that God wants us to be) the harder it becomes; new patterns and habits don't take long to be established! So as you begin that new role, pray that God would give you the eyes to see opportunities in the midst of the overwhelm of a new role to be the kind of person He wants you to be in that workplace, glorifying Him and loving others.

4. Speak well of your old employer and colleagues

You may have left your old job on good terms. Or maybe your departure was more challenging. Either way, you can commend the Christian faith by being a person who speaks well of their old employer and colleagues. This is not to say that we should be dishonest if the workplace we left was a terrible, toxic environment. But rather we can be honest about that without speaking in a derogatory manner about people. And we can speak of the positives of our previous role and the people we worked with.

Especially if you have moved to a competitor within your field your speaking well of your old workplace will be attractive and winsome. And it also communicates to your new colleagues that you’ll speak well of them when they’re not around, and after you or they leave this latest role.

5. Really get to know your colleagues

Perhaps one of the things that you wish to do differently in your new job is develop deep relationships with your new colleagues. You perhaps regret that you didn’t start on that earlier in your previous job and then it just felt, well, too late to begin.

If that’s the case don’t make the same mistake again! The fresh start of a new job makes it easier in many ways to invite a colleague out for a coffee, than suddenly after months in the job start to become that sort of person. Of course, it is never too late to start! But again, it’s so much easier if we establish these sort of patterns from the outset.

6. Keep in touch with your old colleagues

Finally wonderful opportunities for the Gospel can arise with former colleagues when you are no longer working with them if you stay in contact. Catching up with them communicates that you are interested in them as a person, not just simply because you had to work together. And without the potential threat of HR policies which might have stifled your conversation in the past (!), you’re free to speak more frankly about matters of faith and spirituality.

In all these suggestions the priority remains the same. Start as you wish to continue, by coming out quickly as a Christian and working in a way that commends the Gospel, taking every opportunity to develop deep and lasting relationships with your new colleagues for the sake of the Gospel.

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