This was one of my biggest mistakes at my last position.

Often times when I was asked to do something or be somewhere, I’d think to myself: “So-and-so needs help or backup. Well… If I make these particular arrangements, I can do this.” I was so eager to be part of a church community – that I didn’t have to drive 50 miles to see – that I’d make time to hit whenever there was a church event or need. Don’t get me wrong; I mostly enjoyed it, however I wound up setting myself up.

My constantly being available taught certain people that I was always available. It taught them that they could dump as much as they wanted on me because I would see that it got done. It taught them that my time and energy was not as valuable as that of my coworkers. And in one particular case, it locked me into a situation where I was often one of the only people available at all to do a vital task that would fall apart.

If you are ever in a situation where “it all hinges on you” week after week – and you aren’t being paid for it – get the fuck out, because you are being manipulated. It’s painful, but let it fall apart and let your employer have to deal with the fallout. There’s a fine line between displaying commitment and being your employer’s doormat. Draw it early. If you wait too long, greater are the chances that your employer – particularly if he has manipulative tendencies – will react strongly to the “take away.”

One of the most contentious arguments I had with my former employer was calling him out when one of our most regular and committed servants was placed in this situation week after week. Some pastoral types like to talk about recruitment and retention, but their lack of action reveals their laziness in this key area.

Having everything placed on their shoulders week after a week is a good way to burn your most committed people out.

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