Wrong Person for the Job

Wrong Person for the Job (CaD 2 Ki 12) Wayfarer

The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves.
2 Kings 12:8 (NIV)

Many years ago I had a colleague at work who falsified data for a major client project. It was an egregious mistake that cost us what might have been a lucrative client relationship. The reason he did this was not criminal, but personal. He didn’t want to do the work. In fact, it was clear to me that his actions were basically a cry for help. He was in the wrong job, a job he couldn’t stand and for which he was ill-suited, with a boss he greatly respected and didn’t want to disappoint pushing him daily like a square peg into a round hole.

After being caught, my colleague was greatly ashamed. He did the work he’d fail to do. I and another colleague were brought in to assist, oversee, and do our best to smooth things over with the client. In the end, we responded the best we could but, understandably, we never worked for the client again.

My boss called me to inform me that he had chosen to forgive our colleague and that he was not going to fire him, but give him another opportunity. It was, perhaps, the most contentious argument I ever had with him. I told him that he was making a mistake. I argued that our colleague didn’t want to do the job. It didn’t fit his strengths or passions and it was killing him inside. Firing him was not only the right thing to do for our business, but it was also the best thing we could do for our colleague who needed to be freed to follow his gifts and passions to a job that was a better fit for him. I felt so strongly about it that I threatened to quit. My boss said that as a follower of Jesus, he had no choice but to extend forgiveness and grace and let our colleague keep his job. I countered that we did need to graciously forgive him, but to keep him in a job that he clearly was not suited for was only going to perpetuate the problem. I quoted the ancient proverb says: “As a dog returns to his vomit, so does a fool to his folly.”

In the end, our argument was moot. Our colleague packed up his things and simply disappeared.

This came to mind this morning as I read about King Joash of Judah. The Temple in Jerusalem needed to be repaired, and King Joash created a plan for raising the money and tasking the priests with making the necessary repairs. They raised the money, but the repairs never happened. When King Joash calls them to account for not carrying out the repairs, it is agreed that the repairs will be outsourced to carpenters, stonemasons, and construction workers. In other words, the priests should never have been tasked with it in the first place. Priests are not construction workers. Their priests. If you want a construction project to succeed put the right people in the right positions.

In the quiet this morning, I thought about our weekly staff meeting yesterday. It went over by twenty minutes because two colleagues were discussing an internal project I have them working on. They are so well-suited for this task. It plays to both their strengths and passions. It was almost as if they couldn’t stop talking about it. I just sat back and enjoyed their conversation and the moment. The sage of Ecclesiastes wrote that it’s a gift of God when a person enjoys his or her job.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as an employer and a boss is that I want the right people in the right jobs where their strengths and giftedness can flourish. One individual in the wrong job can negatively impact the entire system.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

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