A book I’ve been looking for
Over a year ago, I started searching for Catholic business resources, specifically books. I found seven, but I felt like there was something missing. Something current, for one thing.
My husband suggested I pitch an idea or two to write such a book. I shook my head and gave him a few reasons why that wouldn’t be feasible for the publisher or for me (platform, anyone?). I also admitted that my heart wasn’t in writing such a book. It was in reading it.
It was a delight then, to have my review shelf sprout not one, but TWO, Catholic business books recently. (I wrote about the other one, The Catholic Briefcase, by Randy Hain, a while back.)
The book is one that I enjoyed immensely: Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck, by Kevin Lowry.
(Kevin was around here quite a bit last week: focusing on WOMB as part of Looking Closer at the Hail Mary, answering my questions in 140 characters or less, and reviewing my book.)
Yes, but does it apply to ME?
Working from home, juggling small children, writing, and doing laundry and dishes and other such makes me sometimes wonder if there’s any point to reading business books.
Yes, I’m still interested, but shouldn’t I focus on my faith life?
My reading time is so limited, shouldn’t I read the novels and fiction I long for?
There’s usually nothing new or life-changing in the business books, and I can’t help but be cynical about many of the premises: is there any point?
The answer was on page one of Faith at Work:
My goal in writing this book is to encourage you along the path of conversion. Whether you are a CEO, a homemaker, a clerk, a teacher, or a laborer, I want you to think about your work just a little bit differently. Work is an opportunity, not only to earn a living but also to live your faith in its fullness. The only way this is possible is to completely integrate your faith and your work.
Making it real
This book is high on practical advice, even as it doesn’t compromise the high ideals. After each chapter, there are action steps that you can read and ignore or attempt. There are questions for reflection that are low on the eye-rolling touchy-feely stuff and high on the “examine yourself and make a tiny step RIGHT NOW” element.
We all work, period.
I love the fact that Lowry acknowledges the work of everyone–and not just in the introduction. The fact is, we all work. Even if you’re blessed to have your work look a lot like play to the rest of the world (guilty), it’s still work.
Our work is from God–or it can be. It can be for God, too, no matter where or how or when we work. We can bless it and use it to achieve holiness (or get closer, anyway).
Humility, gratitude, patience, oh my!
Through insightful and humorous anecdotes from his years of work and home life, Lowry weaves a few lessons that always seem to hit me close to home. In fact, having a spirit of humility, gratitude, and patience seems about as possible to me most days as climbing the big oak tree in the back yard.
It takes humility to be a team player, and what team is closer to home than the one that begins in your own home? Without gratitude, you miss a lot of beauty in life, but it requires you to look beyond yourself. Patience might seem impossible to some of us (me), but when it comes right down to it, patience is about trusting God.
Faith is inseparable from work.
I knew that, I know I did. Faith at Work, though, reminded me that it doesn’t have to be shoved down anyone’s throat, it doesn’t have to be un-fun, and it doesn’t have to be old news. The beauty of our faith is part and parcel of everything we do, who we are, how we live. Lowry gives us all a resource for being more intentional with our efforts.
Want a copy of your own?
I happen to have a copy here on my desk that you could own. Leave a comment by Friday, May 25 at midnight PST with the biggest work challenge you face, and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll notify the winner sometime next weekend.
There are more Quick Takes, just as there are every week, at Conversion Diary.
I really hope to read this book sometime soon. My big challenge right now is finding balance – I just returned to work after having a baby and I am struggling how to give my all to both work and family while still finding time for the quiet I need. Probably pretty easy to figure out which one of the three is compromised… 🙂
I can not believe how timely this giveaway is, for me, as I have, right next to me, the stack of business books I’ve been pouring over the past two weeks; all-the-while wishing there were something a little more specific and pertinent to my Catholic Faith! Thanks for the chance to win this AWESOME-looking book.
I suppose my biggest business challenge, at the moment, is “implementation”. I have folders of writings, ideas, products, and more, that are ALL good and all worthy of acting upon, but I lack the expertise to know how to “hone it in” and take the steps up to the NEXT level. I’m at a place where many legalities and necessities are at-hand, for my business has grown/is-growing and is ready to take a huge leap; but, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed in trying to determine what “the next thing” and “the next thing” to do, at this point, should be. Does that even make sense? LOL
It always a challenge to balance everything which I guess is my constant macro issue. A more specific challenge lately might be keeping my work stuff from taking over the dining room table so we don’t have to resort to picnic dinners. Though the time outside eating our meal among the sounds of nature on a picnic blanket as a family is lovely! Maybe it’s not a challenge after all. It’s one of those problems-turned-opportunity kind of things. 🙂
Working with people who are getting medical imaging to possibly change the course of their lives always presents issues, and I am generally compassionate as we all process trials in our own manner, however, my biggest work problem is co-workers who gossip and put others down constantly. I’ve chosen to not participate, although to be pleasant, and somehow end up as an outcast–which is fine. It just makes for an uncomfortable working situation sometimes.
My biggest challenge at work is trying to avoid participating in all the gossip talk. I’ll do good for a day or two but then I find myself getting drawn back in.
As a homeschooling, SAHM my biggest work challenge is BALANCE. Many days I feel there is just not enough of me to go around for everyone who needs me. It sometimes seems when the schooling is on track the house is a wreck or when the house is in order my little ones need me. Of course finding time for exercise or alone time with my husband is always a challenge…
I would love a copy of the book Faith at Work. 🙂
Right now with my government job we are in a downsizing transition – that is always a difficult time as change is ALL around – being a unionized workplace helps – I do what I can for the employees as an employee but I do more when I put on my union hat – life has challenges all over, it’s what you do with those challenges that make you who you are
There are two big challenges to my work-not being allowed to forthrightly proclaim my faith and finding my employer becoming more accepting of things that go against my faith………….but if you look on the smaller day by day of my work it is the way supply teachers are treated that causes my heart to ache some nights.
Working from home without letting work take over my home or life is my challenge right now.
My biggest work challenge has been trying to juggle work life with everything outside of work.
The hardest thing for me is to recognize that even though my running of the household and my writing and teaching do not financially support our family, they are still important to my family. I shouldn’t feel guilty when I invest time or money in these activities.
Sarah, thanks so much for the terrific review! I really hope Faith at Work provides encouragement to your readers, many of the challenges described in other comments are familiar – and discussed in the book. Many blessings!
Praise the Lord! I was typing ‘Finding purpose in workplace without paycheck’ and it surprisingly came out of this: Amazon.com: Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck. I proclaim this is my Jesus Moment today (the moment when we know his presence, or are surprised by the depths of his love) Book shipped! (hopefully not falls into the South China Sea)
My hardest thing is to remember that at the crazy times Jesus is right here, siting next to me. I let my my worry, anxiety and the crazy stuff it does to my thinking take over when I am so very close to the One who I can count on to see me safely through the day. Honestly do not know why I don’t see this in the midst of the day. Troubling.
I am a homemaker and freelance writer. My biggest challenge is time management. It’s easy to focus on any one type of task to the exclusion of all others. Even when the task is a good one, balance is always needed.
biggest challange is I’m 90% physically disabled. 🙂 and require special chair/computer monitor. When they break, it’s very expensive to replace so with military budget cuts….
My biggest work challenge is demand management and an overloaded request pipeline. I lead a group of six engineers and five techs. We are a service unit to an internal service group. There is a tension between being flexibility and discipline & standards.
My biggest challenge was accepting that working below my education and training was the right thing to do for my family. I left my previous field, in theatre (yes, I was actually making a living) to take a merit position at a local hospital, which only requires a GED, so that I could have a better schedule and family life while still helping to provide for my family. For a long time I felt like a failure, and got rather down in the dumps about (okay, really down), but now I see the immense benefits it’s had on my life in just a year – we’re actually more secure and stable than we ever were while I was pursuing my previous field and I’ve found that I know have the opportunities to provide a stable environment for my family while getting back to the part of the field that I truly love – youth theatre/education – without having to worry about it paying the bills.
My biggest challenge is my 1 hr each way commute that eats into my family time. I love my job as an analyst, the people are great and the company truly embraces work/life balance (we get to work from home one day a week). But, getting a family dinner on the table while our two kids want my attention is difficult. My husband was unemployed for 9 months in 2009 and I was blessed to be able to increase from part-time to full-time work so that we could keep our financial head above water. Even though my husband has a great job now, I simply don’t trust the “recovery” enough to quit or cut back on my work hours. Together, my husband and I make it work as best we can. Thank you for the opportunity!
Sorry, I didn’t answer the question. My biggest difficulty is two-fold but lout interrelated. Balancing all the responsibilities I have while not overextending myself.
I just want to affirm everyone on here who has posted about their challenges at work. And thank you Sarah for promoting this discussion. Much to pray about!
My biggest challenge at work is the negative atmosphere that has crept into our workplace over the past few years. Teachers are frustrated with the administration, parents, students, and fellow teachers. It makes for a difficult environment for learning and growing!