I loved Jon Tyson’s principles of cultivating a missional career, but I am also trying to translate it into an environment that is much less career-oriented. Fort Wayne, Indiana is not where you move to climb the corporate ladder or become a famous actor.
New York City has a massive amount of people who have moved there specifically because they are serious about their careers. I would venture to guess that most people in Fort Wayne are here for other reasons, things like
- We wanted to be close to extended family when we started having kids
- I grew up here and like it
- I’m on my way to somewhere else
- It’s a good place to raise kids
- Housing is really affordable!
One of the nagging questions I have is how to talk to these kinds of people about living missionally in their workplace. Unlike New York City, people in Fort Wayne generally aren’t passionate about their work. It’s more of a means to an end. But they still spend a majority of their waking hours working, so how do you take those six principles and translate them for a place like Fort Wayne?
No answers just yet, just the question. I wondered if you readers have any thoughts.
OurSpace Fort Wayne/Jodi Dean says
As an individual that is developing a coworking space in downtown Fort Wayne, I have found a few people that are passionate about work. What I find that those who are really passionate leaders in their industry are hidden in the mainstream society within this city. The top three reasons are 1.) Passionate people work long hard hours and are rarely seen in leadership positions outside their field, so their influence on civil society is very limited. 2.) Fort Wayne has continued ebbs-and-flows with its creative communities – arts, building design, architecture, technology and science – where individuals pick up the ball to drop it again. Thus, the creative class members leave Fort Wayne to pursue their talents in regions where opportunity is ample. 3.) Family Friendly. Family and friends are great, however they are not the whole piece of the pie. As an individual within the coworking environment, I can’t fathom not having support of local creative and business leaders. However, there is a practical side of work that enforces the notion that if I would not have put my ‘nose to the grindstone’ there would be no coworking community within Fort Wayne. Thus, whilst an individual who is passionate about their employment they may only work 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., because they are equally able to be passionate in Fort Wayne. Unlike New York, many managers within the ‘Summit City’ are likely to grant well-wishes to someone going home early to spend time with their families.
In regards to being passionate about work, it means being flexible. Within that allowing individuals to create communities, on merit and talents, to help them push out their creative energies farther out into the community. Thus, it means allowing individuals to have the freedom to take on projects that have special meaning. Additionally, it means taking the ‘suckiness’ of office politics office. It means being more forgiving if the man wears a polo shirt instead of a shirt and tie, or if the woman wears a pant suit instead of a dress. It means being decent to each and everyone, and working hard to maintain relationships. Last it means the church needs to get behind entrepreneurs. Too many creatives have brilliant ideas that could lead multiple cool jobs, yet their passions are stuffed under the Indiana bedrock. Why? Simple, there is a lack of mentors, guidance and incentives within the church community. A leadership program in the local churches could help in this process.