Monday, September 19, 2011

Quit Marketing and Become a Vicar

According to a study in the US, clergy top the list of 10 Happiest Jobs, (ht eChurch blog), just pipping firefighters, teachers and authors. There are quite a lot of marketing and IT - related jobs in the 'most hated' top 10.

Do I agree? well, here's a few things I love about my job....
1. I'm doing what I enjoy, and getting paid for it.
2. Being involved at many key points in people's lives, beginnings, endings, new relationships, and getting to help people mark, celebrate and make sense of what's going on.
3. Seeing people discover the reality of God and the love of Jesus, sometimes over several years, but having the dog collar is often a way in to some fascinating and potentially life-changing conversations. It's amazing to get the chance to do something of such significance.
4. Flexibility: there's the chance to focus on what I do well, and (I'm blessed in being part of a very good team at a local church) to let others do the things I don't do that well.
5. We're not paid that much, and your house is chosen for you. That takes me out of a whole load of worry about housing choice and costs, and trying to find satisfaction in possessions rather than in quality of life and relationships.
6. Working from home means I get to see my kids whilst they're still awake, and don't have lots of traffic and stress to put up with.
7. Variety: an average day can take in a funeral, a new baby, a mission strategy meeting, and hooking up with people in several different setttings. It's possible to get jaded if you don't look after yourself, but it's impossible to get bored.
8. I get the chance to use most of my gifts in one way or another, and to do stuff that I'm passionate about. There are lots of jobs out there that are pretty hard to do with a passion: they pay the bills, and that's it. I honestly can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.

There are downsides: I've only a finite amount of adrenaline and most weeks it seems to get used up, there are situations every week which cause me massive stress, at times there's a big cost to family life. Happy? yes, but there's more to it than simply happiness: calling, fulfilment, purpose, identity, significance, God, the happiness is just a by-product.

Update: I did actually do a short spell in marketing before ordination, for Clarks shoes, and it was one of the better departments in the company to work in. Some of the experiences from there were quite helpful post-ordination, and some of the marketing folk were fairly decent. Just in case you think I have a total downer on it!


  1. I used to be in Marketing and Sales before ordination. I must say that I loved it and became ordained because I believed that God was calling me not because I didn't love my job. It was great fun and I got a real buzz out of it. It was great fun flying round Europe and sitting in a cafe in Lichtenstein getting a phone call that I had won a deal from a German Landesbank.

    Downsides of this job include working from home, finding it harder to switch off work and only one day off a week, more evenings out, the pay.

    Upsides are that it is great to see people move on their faith journey, to know I am doing what I am called to do, to know that wheras that none of the systems I sold are still in use that some of the conversations and ministry has made changes for all eternity, that I am still a work in progress and I can't hide behind "success" and wealth.

  2. Hi David
    Thanks for this post. I love your thoughts. I have been in ministry for 15 years already and it is always good to remember why we 'do what we do!'
    God Bless
    Delme Linscott