How to Ensure Your Career Aspirations Align With Your Faith

 
Imagine being turned away from a job you have your heart set on because your wardrobe is a little different or you need certain holidays off. When it comes to finding a job as a person of faith, it can be difficult to know where to look and what to expect. Even if you find an employer who’s supportive of your religion, you may feel that the company’s principles and goals don’t align with your beliefs. Stay strong — there are ways to overcome all of these barriers.

Follow Your Passion

You’re passionate about your faith and you deserve to feel the same way about your job. Choose a job or profession that lights you up, feels like a perfect fit, and meets your strengths while challenging you. Even if your career isn’t faith-based, you can feel the same amount of passion about it as you do about your faith, which can make the two feel more in sync. You may also find that your career and your faith are more linked than you thought. For example, healthcare providers are in a position to connect with patients on a deep level and provide them with spiritual support on top of physical support.
 
Maybe you’re in a career you love, but you’re struggling in your current job. You don’t necessarily have to make a career change; finding a new employer who’s more supportive of your lifestyle can make a huge difference. There are plenty of employers who are supportive of all different faiths and who are comfortable with spirituality being a part of your daily work.

Understand Discrimination Law

As a person of faith, it’s important to know your religious rights in the workplace. This is particularly important if you don’t have a faith-based job because your employer may be unfamiliar with the legalities of religious discrimination. Your employer cannot discriminate against you based on your religions or beliefs. Here are some more specifics about what that means:
 

* No religion, faith, or belief set can be discriminated against, including theistic beliefs or non-theistic beliefs; well-known or newer religions; or atheism.
* Employers cannot refuse to hire you based on your faith.
* Your employer cannot conduct a background check on just you or just people of a certain faith.
* You cannot be harassed in the workplace for your beliefs.
* You cannot be separated from your co-workers because of your religious beliefs or any characteristic of them, such as a different way of dressing.
 
Many of these rules may sound familiar because they’re similar to anti-discrimination laws for gender and race. Religious expression in the workplace is protected under U.S. law.

Ask for Religious Accommodations

Part of anti-discrimination law is that you can ask your employer for reasonable accommodations if your religion requires certain schedules, a specific appearance, or other reasonable stipulations. Examples of these accommodations include:
 
* Clothing or grooming habits, even if they differ from the workplace dress code. For example, women can wear headscarves or men can let their facial hair grow. So long as it’s not against health or safety codes, your employer must allow for it.
* Changes in your work schedule. For example, you may not be allowed to work on Sunday or you may have to take breaks at certain times of the day to pray.
* When there are job duties that go against your faith — for example, tasting wine if you work at a restaurant — you should be allowed to not participate.
 
The topic of displaying your religious beliefs at work is delicate. Expressing your religious beliefs in the workplace can’t be discriminated against, but employers may have more rights if expressions of your beliefs infringe on your co-workers’ rights. The most important thing to keep in mind is balance between beliefs, ensuring interactions among everyone are fair and balanced, and always acting with kindness.

Overcome Work Obstacles

As a person of faith, you have a unique way of overcoming work obstacles. Instead of responding from a place of anger or being aggressive to the people you work with, you can turn inward and use your faith to handle challenges:
 
* First, be still. Don’t react immediately. It’s tempting to be emotional in the moment, but that’s exactly the moment when you need to not act.
* Take a moment to pray and ask for guidance. Be upfront about your feelings and give yourself time to find solutions.
* Even if you have a strong relationship with your faith, you can look to others for guidance. Seek out someone you trust and tell them what you’re experiencing.
* Once you’ve taken time to think about what’s happened, consider the other person’s perspective. You can be angry and humble at the same time. Be open to another point of view and ask yourself if you can make improvements.
* Bravely take the next step. That could mean apologizing, recognizing something about yourself that you want to change, standing up for yourself, or even moving on to a different job. It may feel uncomfortable, but that’s not a sign that it’s the wrong choice — it’s just an unfamiliar path.
* Move past the problem. Commit yourself to peace when it comes to this issue. You’ve faced it head on, and you can leave it behind now.
* If you believe your employer has violated your rights, consider contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a complaint within 180 days of the incident.
 
While there’s a lot to be said for facing your problems instead of ignoring them, you will want to make peace with it eventually. It’s okay to say, “I’ve dealt with you, I’m done here,” even if there wasn’t a perfect resolution.

Remember That All Work Is Spiritual if You Are

If faith has a role in your life, then it also has a role in your job or career. Those who are religious or spiritual feel that their faith is a constant in their life, regardless of what they’re going through. This holds true in their work life as well as the rest of their life. If part of your job feels like it’s in direct opposition to your ethics or morals, you have the option to change your job or career in order to find one that complements your life better.

Review & Commentary