Tag Archives: work

Celebration time


I’ve been quiet lately. Too quiet.

Largely because I’ve been approaching the deadline for the printing of our Annual Report.

It’s kind of a big deal. Today was the day. It’s now at the printers.

Hooray.

I’m sure my brother-out-law, Hilton, won’t mind the gratuitous use of this photo of us. It displays the emotion I am currently feeling quite adequately.

Poles apart

Today I didn’t blog much. You’ve noticed right?

Today was one of those days. One of those days that reminds me why it is I love my job.

This week I’m coordinating a photo shoot, so today I took a bunch of friends from church (and my wife, who doesn’t work on Mondays) to Magnetic Island.

We went for a bush walk, to a resort pool, to lunch at the island’s flashest restaurant, and to a backpackers hostel/wildlife park where our eight models were mobbed by rainbow lorikeets. It was pretty scary. For them.

Hilarious for onlookers. I’ll post a photo when we get them…

Tomorrow I’m off to a cattle station for an “outback” experience.

Nathan’s guide to better photography #1

When taking photos for publication don’t take photos of the back of people’s heads. These photos are unusable. They don’t tell a story. And it’s frustrating when you think you have photos of an event to use and you can’t use them.

That is all.

Five essential skills for the modern worker

I don’t really like giving advice where I’m not qualified. But I’m Gen Y. So I know everything about work. Here are my five essential ways to get ahead in the workplace…

  1. Communicate better. Learn to do public speaking – it’s invaluable in meetings and day to day interactions to be able to confidently put forward your views. Learn to write in plain language. Keep things simple. Don’t waste people’s time.
  2. Learn to say no to things you can’t do – outsource. Paying an expert is often the best decision you can make.
  3. Learn the 80/20 rule. Be prepared not to be perfect in order to do more stuff.
  4. Keep up to date with new developments in your field. Read the right blogs and magazines, keep in touch with technology, find new ways of doing things and suggest them to others.
  5. Learn a little bit about desktop publishing and graphic design. The basics are easy.

Introducing…

Well, Tim and Amy have a blog. Excellent.

They’ve both had those live journal things for a while – but reading someone’s journal seems so voyeuristic – and Amy informed my of its existence on the down low – so I haven’t given it the kudos it deserves.

I went to school with both of them, and they got married. Those two points are only tangentially related – I had nothing to do with them getting married, or with them going to school together. But that is what happened.

Tim is also responsible for my incredibly diligent work ethic – he scored me the ultimate university job clerking at a law firm. We job shared for a few years. Actually, longer than a few years – we used to reciprocally help each other with delivery runs (he delivered newspapers, me pamphlets)… ahh, nostalgia.

Anyway, now you can get to know them too – courtesy of their blog. So far it’s just Amy. But it bears Tim’s name, so he may be tempted out of the laboratory at some point.

Amy is also the Amy who comments here heaps – and who disagrees with me the fiercest  when I mention things like the environment. So it’s guaranteed to be worth reading.

Will fly further than a paper plain

Yes pedant, I know I plain appears to be spelt wrong.

A couple of years ago at a work team retreat we were challenged to make a piece of paper travel the furthest. Many people made paper planes. That was the trainer’s intention. I made a paper ball and threw it over the roof of the training centre. I’ve always been one for trying to subvert psychobabble filled training sessions.

Why am I telling you this? Well, paper planes have been the dominant paper projectile for too long. Balls of paper are all the rage.

If I bothered to hand write much, or chuck out any notes, then this would be the notepad for me. The paper is not “plain” – get it? I am sure you do.

It’s designed by a Dutch design mob called Trapped in Suburbia – and you can buy the notepads direct

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Guide to better working

Successful careers are a matter of working smarter not harder. I’m almost positive that’s the case. Every job has “short cuts” or tricks of the trade to make things easier. Here’s a collection of some of the best – from some obscure trades and some normal every day careers.

My favourites:

Mechanic

If you have to change a light bulb where the glass is broken, you can press a potato into the metal base to unscrew the remains of the bulb from the fixture.

Graphic Designer

If you have a client who is unable to approve a proposed design without putting her stamp on it, just put an obvious error in the proposal: a logo that’s too large, a font that’s too small, or a few judiciously seeded typos. The client requests the change and feels she’s done her part—and your design, which was perfect all along, sails through to approval.

Proofreader

If you’re reading too fast, your brain can “correct” typos, preventing you from catching them. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to read a page upside-down. It forces you to pay closer attention to individual words out of context, and you can’t race through pages too fast.

Gifting gifts

The thread I essentially highjacked on Simone’s blog has come to a gripping conclusion – of sorts. I think we’ve agreed to disagree – Simone may still disagree but we’ll see.

But it was a worthy exercise.

It raised, for me, a question about how Christians should use their gifts. And how we should balance use of gifts in a part time capacity verses using them in a full time capacity in vocational ministry.

My thinking is that particular gifts lend themselves to “vocational” use at different times. In the past paid organists were as much a part of church furniture as the organ. They were also essentially resident composers.

Now – web masters and graphic designers are playing an increasingly important role in the spread of the Gospel.

My gut feeling is that the Biblical principle of a worker deserving their keep holds for all excercise. If a job needs doing – and there’s nobody to do it – then pay for it.

The worker then has a decision to make – like Paul did – as to whether to accept this payment (he chose to work instead).

I also think there comes a time where a worker playing an essential role should be paid full time in order to free them from that work for the cause of the Gospel.

So the responsibility of the church is to pay – while the worker should consider their gifting as God’s providence and receive the payment (or not) accordingly.

There are different ways that this can work – an article I read about Mars Hill suggested that graphic designers who attend that church “tithe” their time and talents. There’s also an interesting discussion happening at “Communicate Jesus” about how the church should approach the issue. And another discussion in a similar vein at Sydney Anglicans.

The Communicate Jesus article features a quote from the Mars Hill creative director which would seem to indicate some sort of contradiction with the other post –

“I once had a chat with AJ Hamilton who runs all the media stuff for Mars Hill Seattle. I asked him about how he managed to achieve the quality of design across so much of their output – the online work for Death By Love being a prime example. He said they make a habit of recruiting the best designers. Okay I said, but how do you keep them? Answer: they’re the best paid staff in Mars Hill.”

It’s interesting that this is all coming up at around the same time – it creates an opportunity for some synchronous thinking.

Your thoughts?

On Work

This is a long post. Be warned.

Discussion on Simone’s blog has evolved in an interesting direction. And one I’ve been meaning to write about for some time – or at least since the “Ministry Matters” day the Walkers held a few weeks ago.

The debate about the value of secular work vs vocational ministry puzzles me.

Before I begin I want to say that I affirm the value of secular work – in most cases. So long as the job is in some way about “bringing order to creation” I see it as being of some merit. But to suggest that God is as glorified in secular work as he is in “ministry work” just seems odd.

It’s odd because I think the Bible’s pretty clear that one is more valuable than the other, that there are rewards for ministry (including anything that serves and builds up the Kingdom of God) that don’t exist for those who diligently work in their vocation.

The very fact that we get so little information about Jesus’ pre-ministry vocation in the Bible but so much about his ministry and preaching would suggest there’s a difference in value. But that’s a fairly long bow to draw…

I brought up the distinction between the two types of work in the comments on Simone’s post about rewriting song words – because I think it’s right for artists to be protective of their secular work – that which earns them their living, but I think the standard is different for those who are in ministry. I think their aim is to glorify God and serve the body of believers with their gifts.

I don’t think using gifts – for example a gift of communication – for your job is the same as using them for the spread of the kingdom. Luther and Calvin both affirm the value of secular work – and the value of using God given gifts in secular work – but you can affirm this without putting it on par with ministry.

My understanding of what both Calvin and Luther have to say about work is that it’s a valuable activity and should be tackled with gusto. They see work as a means to create or restore order – and again, I’d argue that for the Christian this is most likely to be expressed through the ministry of the gospel – whether by preaching, or teaching, or hospitality, or acts of service – than through secular work (I’m not saying this has no value – just less).

Overt glorification will always win out over intrinsic glorification – both in value and effect.

Full time ministry is a special calling – with special responsibilities, special rewards and special consequences for doing the wrong thing.

There’s also a hierachy within the context of ministry (where preaching and teaching is considered more valuable than other gifts – see below for the passage this idea comes from).

Let me back up my thinking with some Bible verses (which I’ll copy directly from my comment on Simone’s blog…). Obviously the “Great Comission” means that “making disciples” is the fundamental priority of all Christians. And lets face it – nobody is converted without some input from the word of God.Actions alone aren’t enough. They are important though.

1 Corinthians 3 is where I’d be drawing most of my thinking from with regards to the greater heavenly valuation of ministry.

Verse 8 implies a reward directly linked to ministry.

8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.

Verse 9 implies that Paul is specifically talking about ministry…

9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Verses 10 through 15 seem to be linking the heavenly outcomes for those in ministry with the quality (not quite the word I’m looking for) of their work…

“10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

I contend this isn’t talking about the vocational cleaning of toilets – though that be done well and to God’s glory.

I don’t think you can form a doctrine of work solely from the exhortation in Colossians 3:17…

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Then 1 Timothy 5 suggests gospel workers are worthy of double honour…

“17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.”

Then you’d have to consider Ephesians 4 – which suggests acts of service are a gift, but I don’t think it equates exercising them in the secular context with exercising them in order to serve the body of believers…

“11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

And finally, 1 Corinthians 12. The whole chapter is relevant. It starts off by establishing that while gifts are different they all come from God – but then the chapter only really deals with gifts that serve the body – again, not equating secular work with serving the body of believers.

“4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.” And the last few verses seem to establish a hierachy – and exhort us to desire the “greater gifts”… “28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts.”

That’s my thinking anyway. And I’ve spent enough time on this. I have work to do.

Creatures of the swamp

My employer has committed to raising funds to save an iconic North Queensland wetland. Until recently I thought wetland meant swamp. I was apparently mistaken.

I went there yesterday with some film crews. And took some photos. Check them out here… or if you’re too lazy, here are some highlights…

Training Day

I had training today. Theoretically I’m now a nicer person. It was called AussieHost and it’s all about becoming more customer focused. It was an entertainment extravaganza…

A mug’s game

Do you work in an office? Are you sick of going to get your daily caffeine fix from the dripulator and finding – or rather not finding – your mug. Your pride and joy – perhaps a Dilbert mug with an insightful commentary on office life… Usually it’s because a colleague has pinched it.

Well, with this bad boy the joke is on them. Or the contents of your mug will be if they’re not paying attention. And let’s face it, that’s probably why they pinched it to begin with…