When I was in high school, I played basketball and tennis. I wasn’t particularly good at either sport. There was a time when I was the best basketball player on the team, but during my freshman year I hurt my ankle and was out for a few weeks. After that, I just never seemed to get it back. Most of my friends made varsity our junior year, but I was still on JV. At our school, you were guaranteed to make varsity your senior year, regardless of how good you were. So I did get to play on varsity one year….if you consider sitting on the bench “playing.” I was always a B-team player.
The same was true of tennis. I didn’t even know I liked tennis until I watched my friends play our freshman year. I tried it out, and decided to play starting my sophomore year. I wasn’t great…I was a first time player among a ton of people who had played their whole life. I obviously played B-team. I didn’t even get to play my senior year, because there were already so many good players from younger grades, that I would have done nothing but travel with the team and cheered for them. They would have let me do that, but I decided it wasn’t for me.
When I was in high school, being on the B-team didn’t bother me that much. I figured sports didn’t really matter in the scheme of things. Now that I’m an adult and in the big world of work and adulthood, I’m starting to see that it’s totally possible to be on the B-team even when you’re no longer playing organized sports. I’ve come to realize lately that I’m on the B-team at work.
You see, I work at a software company as a web developer. I’ve been here 7 years, and it’s the only software development job I’ve ever had. I started here as a complete newbie, a total beginner. I had to learn a lot, and the company was gracious to pay me while I did so. I’m grateful for that. But now that I’ve been here for 7 years, I know that I am very valuable to the company…I can do things here that almost no one else knows how to do. It’s just something that happens when you’ve been somewhere this long. And the company knows that my value lies in doing those things. When they decide to start new development on exciting, cutting-edge projects, they don’t ask me to work on them. They give them to the other developers, the ones who were hired with more experience than I had when I started (but not necessarily more experience than I have now). They assign me to doing the rote, everyday, not-as-fun, and definitely not-as-exciting work.
What’s more, I’m starting to notice a pattern. These projects that the newer people are working on are getting wrapped up, and leadership moves the developers on to new projects right away. But what they just worked on ends up having some issues (we call them “bugs), and someone needs to go back and fix them. Since the others are already on new projects, guess who gets assigned to clean up the mess left behind…. Yep, you guessed it. Me. It’s happened on 4 projects over the past year.
So, I’ve come to realize lately that I’m still on the B-team. I’m the junior or senior who gets passed over for varsity, and is then told to wash the team uniforms and towels after the game. I won’t lie…it’s hard on my ego!
So what are my options?
Well, I could whine about it. (I do this a lot….) I could complain about it to leadership, and hope something changes. I could leave and go somewhere where I’m more respected. I’m totally free to do any of these things.
Want to know what I’ve decided to do? I’ve decided to do nothing. I’m going to keep being the B-team player who gets assigned the jobs no one else wants. You know why? Because I believe that God can receive glory in that. If I will continue to do my job to the best of my ability – doing it as unto God (Col. 3:23) – God can use my seeming obscurity for great things…things I may not even realize are happening. That’s my hope.
David was a B-team brother who became a king. Most of the apostles were B-team nobodies that Jesus empowered to change the world. I keep reminding myself of this, and asking Him to use my B-team status for something great.