Break Free Of Your Workplace Identity Crisis

Break Free Of Your Workplace Identity Crisis April 12, 2016




Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)[1] is a severe condition in which two or more distinct identities, or personality states, are present in—and alternately take control of—an individual.

DID sounds like the way many of us work—we are one person on the job and another at home / church. (Not to take away from those who suffer from DID as a debilitating mental illness.)

Forging two distinct identities is a symptom of the vocational divide—a compartmentalized approach to work that is lived as individuals and is fed by the systems and institutions in which we find ourselves.

In this post I want to summarize and link to 19 former posts that in one way or another encourage thinking and practice that will build a bridge across the vocational divide. I’m hopeful the principles here have the potential to do more than span the gap.  When rigorously applied they can fill in the chasm all together.

  1. The Vocational Divide: Why it Matters and Why it costs us


What Drives the Divide?

  1. Eight cultural, philosophical, and spiritual shifts drive the divide
  1. Competing narratives in our imaginations drive the divide
  1. The silence of your pastor about your work drives the divide

The competition between pastors and professionals for 5. the hardest job and 6. the better job drives the divide.


Moving to the Solution Side

  1. Filling in the chasm between your faith and work  happens on three fronts

Thinking: We begin the filling-in process by thinking differently about our work as it relates to God’s kingdom and plan.

  1. Think Differently: Your work matters to God
  1. Think Differently: Understand God’s why behind your work
  1. Think Differently: Faith will be required as everyday reality on the job


Systems: The second part of filling in the divide is to address the system, the institutionalized patterns that characterize the way faith communities and the work-world, relate to one another.

  1. The system problem is a math problem
  1. The System Problem: The Sunday-Monday disconnect and what to do about it
  1. A System Solution: Imagining Church as the locker room for the game we call work
  1. A System Solution:  Embracing common pain as bridge material for crossing the divide


Rhythms: Finally, consider rhythms. Rhythms are the ways we habitually navigate life. Shifting our rhythms is indispensable in filling the divide, in becoming the same person in every sphere of our lives.

  1. Learn how to tackle faith-work divides at the level of your life rhythms
  1. Your Pastor can change your work rhythm by changing his/her work rhythm
  1. Go first, alter the workplace/church separation rhythm and invite your pastor into your world
  1. Build a rhythm of seeking expert advice about your work from the supreme expert
  2. Learn to pray daily for your work the way Jesus taught us to pray


United We Stand

None of us have to live a divided life. God can bring a sense of unifying purpose to every aspect of our lives—including our work.   A combination of thought, systems, and rhythms change will bring each of us into a clear sense that God is with us in our work.


How about you?

  1. What have you learned about the vocational divide over the course of your life and work?
  2. What must you do to be done with the divide
  3. What questions linger?


About the Author:  Dr. Chip Roper writes Marketplace Faith from New York City, where he is the director of Marketplace Engagement at the New York City Leadership Center.  Chip is convinced that a central piece of God’s plan for any city or community is the work that people do each day.  You can learn more about him here. Chip is available for speaking, consulting, and coaching engagements. Inquire via email:

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Pic:  ID 63194119 © Stephan Pietzko |, rights to use this photo were purchased by Chip Roper

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