Just weeks before Christmas, a sizeable number of workers at Twitter were told they were no longer needed. Okay, maybe not in those words, but layoffs always leave that not-so-subtle message. Thanks (for your work here) but no thanks (we can do without you.). Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?
To be fair, I feel for those kindhearted employers who simply must make those hard decisions to survive. And the same for businesses that just can’t make it. I know this. Simply closing the doors and never giving advance warning to people losing their jobs is just rude and insensitive.
Timing is also important. My son was going through a very difficult situation years ago with an ill child. He had moved to California from Idaho to join a small technology related company that valued his skills. The firm went belly up and gave him notice just before Christmas. Bad form.
Another failure of business termination is the great surprise farewell. Corporations and large companies are especially known for this. Everything seems to be normal at the workplace until one day it isn’t. And on that day, “x” worker is called in to an office and the human resources person is there with the manager. They hand person “x” walking papers (usually with all payroll settled) and tell him or her to pack up. The exit is usually carefully supervised. And no…you can’t say your goodbyes. Just turn in any keys, parking pass or whatever and get lost. (Well, that IS how it feels.)
I’ve been fortunate to have several departures that went much better. Whether in terms of weeks or months, I knew changes were coming. And I was one of them. Hey, it happens. Most often, I was treated well.
By God’s grace, He has perpetually moved me forward into my next “assignment” with seemingly perfect timing. That is about to happen again.
First, a little back story. In moving to Chicago in the summer of 1999, I was employed at Moody Radio in Chicago. It was my pleasure to help a couple hundred thousand souls start their day each morning. Just before Thanksgiving in 2013, my role came to an end. A few months later, another radio opportunity came up and I was back into talk radio.
After four and a half years at AM1160-Chicago doing talk radio, I was on to creating a YouTube program and podcast. And in the midst of this, our church needed help, and I took on a part time position to help navigate a pastoral transition. It started as a six-month commitment. That season will end on December 31st – three and half years from my start date! I did not anticipate my role would last this long.
Even though I’m 71 and “deserving" a rest, people consistently ask me, “So what’s next?” My best answer is, “I don’t know.” People often seem unsettled about my response. In part, it’s because we are so driven to have a gameplan for life. I gave up on that years ago.
I’ve become quite comfortable leaving the details of my future – the next day, week, year or whatever – in the hands of God. This does not mean I don’t make plans when needed (like for travel). But I’ve come to rely on God revealing to me the things I should pursue, in His perfect timing. And right now, I don’t plan to pursue anything after December 31st.
Does this diminish my sense of worth or identity? Not at all. I know what God has gifted me to do. And there are plenty of opportunities to use my gifts to serve. And while I’m not actively looking, no one has come knocking. Yet.
One of my favorite Bible verses reads, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3, NIV) My daily personal time with God finds me quoting Psalm 138:8: “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (ESV)
Before year’s end — for those interested in my journey — I’ll expand on my “plans” to be available for service.
That’s Forward Thinking.
You can find a number of YouTube episodes and podcasts of Mark’s program, Moving People Forward at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCosyuBzdSh1mXIas_kGY2Aw?
For more information on the Elfstrand Group, please visit www.elfstrandgroup.com