Cheating at Work

January 24, 2012


I just finished reading the book When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley. I got this book for free through blogging for books. I was interested in this book because that is a topic we covered quite often in Bible College. The families of ministers often suffer because of the demands of ministry. However, this book was written for all people who may find themselves here.

Andy Stanley starts this book by pointing out that everybody cheats. I’m not sure if he used this phrasing to grab attention but it worked if he did. Life is full of expectations and demands. We have jobs, families, exercise we want to complete, hobbies, house work, school activities, church activities, and the list goes on. However, we only have 24 hours in a day and that is just not enough time to get every little thing done. No matter how hard we try, we will never accomplish it all.

This is where the line “everyone cheats” comes in. He says in order to accomplish what we feel like we need to, we cheat. What he means by that is we do not devote all the time and energy toward something that we could be so we can devote more time and energy toward something else. This is not a bad thing, we have to do it. It is just a matter of where we are cheating and unfortunately most people cheat their families and devote more time to work.

He lists reasons why we cheat our family and devote more time to work. One reason is that the rewards are pretty instant and tangible at work while it takes time to reap the benefit of our family. Also it takes time to see the effects of us cheating at home. So we continue to do it because we convince ourselves that everything is okay.

Now before I go further it is important to point out that Andy Stanley also says it is possible for the spouse who stays home to be cheating as well. She may get caught up in doing tasks at home that her children or husband feels neglected. He may be so focused on a project that she feels second rate.

That is the problem. We may try to convince our families that we have to take this conference call or we have to work 60 hours a week, but when our family feels neglected there is a problem. We may not even be trying to make them feel that way but our actions are showing what is more important and they are picking up on it.

In the last part of the book Stanley helps the reader to form a plan. If we plan out how to stop cheating at home then hopefully we can stop a crisis from happening. No job is worth losing our families! Talk about how both of you are feeling. Discuss ways to cheat at work. In order for her to feel like a priority will you need to be home by 4:30 everyday? In order for him to feel like a priority will you have to stop taking those calls at home? What will it take? At first don’t worry about how it will happen. Just focus on the vision. Think about what needs to change and make a commitment to making it happen.

He then goes through a process for getting your boss on board with this decision and uses the example of Daniel from the Old Testament. Daniel decided he would not  eat the food provided for him by the Babylonians. It was nonnegotiable. He asked for the favor (not demanded), then he listened to his supervisors concerns, and then he asked to set up a test.

I absolutely loved this book! It is a short read but is packed full of helpful advice and stories of those who have dealt with this problem. My family is so important to me. I tell people that it is more important than my job. I believe that it is. But do I live that way? Are my actions telling my family that my job is the most important thing?

I was surprised to read that while starting the church that Andy Stanley preaches at, he decided he would only be as successful as working 45 hours a week would let him be. That is unheard of! He would leave meetings early, leave the office by four, do whatever it took to stick to 45 hours a week so that his family was not being neglected.

I not only want to tell my family that they are the most important but show them as well. If you feel the same way, then you should read this book! If you do not feel the same way you should also read this book and think deeply about it. God has given us a gift through our families. Let’s do what it takes to keep that gift!

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2 Responses to “Cheating at Work”

  1. […] When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley. All through Bible College I heard about how to be effective in ministry. Many of the professors talked about how they had put in 60-80 hour work weeks. It was just to be expected that ministry came before everything else. Stanley took a completely different approach. He is now the preacher at a very large and thriving church in Atlanta. But he mentions, even during the start of the church he would keep himself to a 40 hour work week and would be home by the time his wife requested. He wanted to make sure his marriage and family were not suffering while the ministry was thriving. I had often felt guilty about leaving the office at 4, but this changed my perspective. […]

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