‘If you’re a Christian you’re not going to lie to me, you’re not going to divulge confidential information, and I should be able to trust you.’
That was what Emilia’s boss said to her as she interviewed for her first ever PA job. Quick to admit that she had no previous administration experience, Emilia felt out of her depth as this CEO agreed to train her on the job – the only criteria he had for his PA was that they were trustworthy.
As it turned out, there was good reason for this – ethics at the company could be questionable, and there were times when Emilia had to make difficult choices.
‘At one point,’ she tells me, ‘my boss asked me to lie for him.’ As you would expect, this presented Emilia, a committed Christian, with somewhat of a dilemma. ‘I’m not a strong character, I don’t like standing up to people, but I knew I couldn’t lie for him.’ She sought advice from her husband Jamie, and her parents, as well as asking God for the courage to stand up to her boss.
In the end, she says, she refused to lie, reminding him that ‘[he] specifically hired me because I wasn’t going to do that.’
His reaction? ‘Well, he was annoyed at first, but then he respected it… as he said, “technically, you’ve got a point!” I was so relieved!’.
Despite situations like these, however, Emilia spent the first few years of her working life struggling to understand how God could use her in the workplace. She felt, she explains, like ‘less of a Christian’ because she was in full-time work not full-time ministry.
After receiving Mark Greene’s Thank God It’s Monday as a gift from her dad, Emilia began to develop a richer understanding of the place of work in God’s purposes. This became even clearer when she and Jamie came along to Changing Light 2017 – a course designed to encourage and equip young professionals for workplace discipleship, refreshed as Re:Work for 2018.
The course was a turning point for them both: ‘having never heard a theology of work before, it felt as though serving God meant being a missionary, serving God somewhere else, not being in full time work.’ The course, however, ‘really gave us a sense of peace and assurance that we were in our jobs because God wanted us there – it helped to remove the sacred/secular divide that we had been living with.’
Even in her busy new job managing six directors of a hedge fund, Emilia is now conscious that she is working for God, to bring him glory in everything that she’s doing. She challenges herself daily ‘to shift my mindset and not get caught into the 9-5, but to remember there’s a purpose, God’s working his character in me, and to be able to point people to him.’
When asked why someone should come along to Re:Work, LICC’s new day conference for young professionals, Emilia’s response is simple: ‘this course is a must for anyone who wants to know God’s will for work, or who wants to work with a real sense of purpose and understanding about how they can make a difference wherever they are.’
This recommendation is swiftly followed up with heart-felt advice: ‘God cares about your work. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, you’re doing it for him. That means that if you’re scared, stressed, or don’t know what you’re doing, if it’s super daunting, you can go to him and ask him for help. After all, if God cares about you, why wouldn’t he care about your work? And if he cares about your work, why wouldn’t you talk to him about it?’