Industrial chaplain asks: Are you happy in your work?

First published in Andover Business

by Rev Derek Overfield, Industrial Chaplain and Minister, Andover United Reformed Church

‘If you’re happy and you know it . . .’ , the song says ‘Clap your hands’ but in the office where my wife once worked humour was banned, because the manager claimed: ‘If you’re laughing then you are not working’.

I thought women could multi-task – type and laugh at the same time but apparently not.

So what about you? Are you happy in your work?

Today many jobs are tedious and repetitive. In some workplaces there are demands that result in stress and the consequent inability to cope. It would seem there isn’t room for humour on the factory floor or in the management suite.

As Industrial Chaplain I seek to embody the message of the Gospel.

The word, more than any other in the Bible, that gives content to the Gospel is ‘joy’ – not merely fun and laughter, but more the knowledge that we are playing our part and contributing something to the whole.

Monday (and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday . . . ) might be tedious, boring, stressful or just downright difficult, even with an element of danger. Yes, of course. But if the job, be it MD, supervisor, sales advisor or home-maker (what I knew as housewife, or in these enlightened times, househusband) or industrial chaplain does not have the possibility of real joy then someone should do something about it. But does not the Christian Gospel say that ‘Someone’ already has done something about living and working as if what we do and why we do it really matters?

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