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Don’t trust your boss with your identity

Who can you ever really trust with your identity? Who sees who you really are?   My answer: Not many people and most especially, not most bosses. The end of the year is a good time to do a review of the stuff that’s important in your life, beginning with your identity. Where…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Who can you ever really trust with your identity? Who sees who you really are?
My answer: Not many people and most especially, not most bosses.
The end of the year is a good time to do a review of the stuff
that’s important in your life, beginning with your identity. Where do
you get it? For most of us, from a lot of places, but particularly from people who tell us about ourselves. When they do, we get to choose to believe them or not.

So here’s a good principle: Be careful about trusting someone with your identity if they are focused on evaluating your role. They usually aren’t trustworthy.  Even if your boss is also a
friend, your
boss may not say everything he’d like to say.

Too often we find
ourselves in a role that doesn’t fit us. It happens in a lot of
different ways. Maybe your first boss understood you, but moved on.
Maybe there was a re-org. Maybe someone else got promoted. The workplace is complicated.
I’ve got a friend who finds himself in this space. He used to have a lot of responsibility. But the organization shifted around him and all of a sudden this guy is in what the military calls no-man’s-land. He’s not adding value as he could be, caught between his need for a salary and a role that doesn’t fit him.
Who knows what his boss is thinking. He may be
under pressure to meet budget requirements and may be reviewing the list
of candidates he’s going to cut right now. My friend could be on that list. And
when they sit down to have a conversation, my friend’s boss could say
almost anything just to get it over with. Maybe hurtful things; maybe he’ll stretch the truth.

Sure, we all make compromises and take jobs just to get paid, but too many of us allow that role to define us. We allow our boss who doesn’t really know us to define us by the work we do. And in the process, we put ourselves at risk, entrusting something that is precious to someone not worthy of the trust.

In some circles, it’s called “working for the Man.”  The Man is that boss, that impersonal individual about whom you have no illusions. He may hand you a paycheck, but he’s not to be trusted. How can you trust him? He doesn’t begin to know the things that wind your clock.
Still, we do it. We want to trust someone who holds our fate in our hands. We want to be safe. Yet if he doesn’t know who you really are, realistically, can he really help you become the person God intends you to be?
Your identity can be a fragile thing. It is impacted every day by your life experience. We men, especially, tend to look at our identity through the lens of what we do. Encounter enough failure and you may begin to think poorly of yourself. I was never so depressed as when I was unemployed.
The world is set up to shoot you and your dreams down, to move you toward mediocrity. People actually want to see you fail so they can feel better
about themselves by comparison. Most people aren’t to be trusted. They’ll say anything. Who knows why they say it?
We followers of Jesus
believe that God created us and understands us. He sees us not as the
mess we are, but transformed through our faith in Christ. Scripture tells
we are in a way, sons and daughters of the most high God. He loves us and wants to tell us the truth about ourselves.
Have you asked him what he thinks of you lately? It may change your life.

Comments (3)

  • I was just pondering this morning about what my life was like when I lived it my way, compared to what it is like now after asking Christ to be Lord.

    One of the things that came to my mind was my jobs. I had the degree and had a good job making pretty good money and it was okay, but I was never really satisfied.

    Now, I have no credentials for what I am doing. God just kind of placed me in this position without me ever really realizing what He was doing. I often feel “unqualified” by the world’s standards. But as I ponder this, I always come back to the same thing. If God placed me here, then He has approved me for this position and has deemed me qualified by His standards. What better credentials can you get than that?!

    So the words that I am getting from God today are “approved”, “qualified”, and “appointed”.

  • Seth – this is speaking so much to where I am in life right now! I’m glad you wrote this… thanks for the reminder. I’m in a role right now that doesn’t fit me well and I think it’s hard for both me and my boss. This is such a good reminder to look to God for my identity and continue to do the best I can in a tough situation.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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