Maximized Leadership: Are You a Clock Watcher or a Calendar Watcher?

“Is it really Monday already?”

“The weekend can’t get here quick enough!”

“Do I really have to get up and go to work today?”

John G. Millers says that “some people hate their jobs, feel trapped, feel under appreciated, and are miserable about what they do each day.” Their dissatisfaction with their work turns them into “clock watchers.” Each day begins by counting down the hours until quitting time or until the weekend. The days are long, the work is tedious, and any passion for the job is absent. I worked with someone just like this during my first year out of college. I taught at Pepperell Middle School in Lindale, Georgia and I loved going to work every day. I was located in a classroom right next to a more experienced teacher who apparently had the gift of whining. As a 21 year old young man, my thought was, “Why do you work here? If this is so horrible, why don’t you go do something else?”

I was too respectful to say it out loud to an elder to whom I was newly acquainted. Sadly this teacher was cheating. She (in this particular case a female, but I have encountered as many men with the same issue) was cheating herself and she was cheating the students. I do not know about you, but I want someone teaching my child who is passionate and excited about the opportunity to serve my child. I determined at 21 years of age that I would always do my work with passion and that if I could not that I would step aside so that someone who had passion for the position could give the role what it deserves. I still hold to that today.

Most of the leaders that I work with are blessed to serve in some vocational ministry. Their job is a ministry and their ministry is a job. However, the ministry dynamic does not immunize those who serve in ministry from potential dissatisfaction. Let me say that there is nothing wrong with looking forward to the weekend or to some much needed time off. However, if you lose your passion for what you do, for what the organization is all about, and you live for the weekend instead of for the opportunity to serve….then you must take honest account of yourself. I have served in my current ministry for almost 18 years. I can’t believe it. The time has flown by. I am more of a “calendar watcher” than a “clock watcher.” I have seen the years fly by doing what I love…serving the Lord through a series of ministry assignments at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

I heard Dr. Johnny Hunt say recently that you should always look forward to going to work and always look forward to going home. When both are true you will not simply be balanced, but be content and much more effective wherever you are. Be true to yourself and more importantly be true to the Lord. Be sure that the person serving in your role does so with passion. Hopefully, it is you!


  • Steve: Do you have a study that would be good to use for our life group of about 20 folks. We found your Coffee Shop book enlightening and entertaining. I would like to hear from you about this. We have used Kyle Idleman’s and David Chang’s writings. The group is one of many from the Morehead Kentucky First Church of God. Thanks and keep writing. Roger Alcorn

    • Roger:

      There are study guides for my newest book “Why They Stay” at However, I do not have a study guide for “The Coffee Shop That Changed a Church.” Thanks so much for your comments and I am so glad you enjoyed the “Coffee Shop” book. It is a great story with great application for churches. Take care! Steve Parr