My Work: The Role of a Student
Everyone works; from the high school student working on a homework assignment to the congressman working to pass a national bill. But how does a Christian connect their extraordinary faith to their ordinary job? In this article series, we will learn about work from a variety of Christians in all stages of life.
This first installment is an interview with high school student, Rachel Bailey.
1. What does “work” look like in the context of your life stage/focus?
Right now, work for me consists of both school and a job. I am a senior in high school, so I do schoolwork, and I also work at a bakery/café. I go to school two days a week, spend a couple of other days doing homework, and work at the bakery three days a week.
2. Why do you do what you do for a career/study focus?
I don’t really have a study focus since I’m in high school, but I guess I have a bit of a “career” at the bakery. When I was looking for a job this past summer, I wanted to work in food service because of the experience it could give me. Working in the bakery/café has given me a greater appreciation for people working at restaurants and has taught me about dealing with all kinds of people as both customers and coworkers.
3. When do you find your work to be the most challenging? During those times, what helps motivate you?
I think the hardest aspect of my work, both of schoolwork and of my job, is the monotony of it all. At times, both kinds of work feel incredibly repetitive and pointless. When schoolwork feels useless and monotonous, I motivate myself by thinking about the goal behind it. I want to work hard and finish high school well so that I can go to college prepared. And when I get to college and my schoolwork inevitably feels this same way, I suppose I will motivate myself by remembering the goal of finishing and getting a good job.
When my job feels monotonous, it’s a lot harder to motivate myself. It feels so easy to simply quit the job and go find something else to do, but I try to remind myself that staying in the same job with the same people allows me to build relationships and have a platform to share the gospel with people. I have become friends with many of my coworkers, and the closer we get, the easier it becomes to talk about Jesus with them.
In addition, when I want to give up and not do my job well, I remember that working hard at my job can be a witness to Christ as well, setting an example for my coworkers and igniting curiosity in them as to the motivation behind me doing my job well.
4. What is one thing you wish that others knew about the work that you do?
I think it would be nice if [more] people understood the monotony of it…It would be nice if people understood and were able to better encourage me and others who do the same kind of work that I do.
5. Who do you look up to in your life as a model of one who does their God-given work to glorify the Lord? Why?
One of my former coworkers was an amazing example of doing her job for the glory of God, and I still think of her as a role model. Her name is Megan. Every day, she always did her job to the best of her ability, and she always had a smile on her face. She was kind and respectful to every one of our coworkers and often encouraged me to be intentional in being kind to each of them, especially those of them that many others did not treat well. She was an example of Christlikeness in everything she did, even in her very motivation for getting the job. She didn’t need a job, but she got the job because her kids had gone off to college and she missed working with teenagers. She wanted to be a light and to be able to encourage and mentor younger people.
For several of my coworkers and me, Megan was like a second mother. Even on her last day working there, she told each of us that we could text her any time if we needed anything at all. While doing her job with the utmost excellence, she established relationships with many of us that demonstrated the love of Christ. She was the person that we all looked at and asked, “Why is she so happy all the time? What’s different about her?” There was intentionality in her every action and word, and it was all to the glory of God.