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Posts Tagged ‘decision making’

I have a story that has been in the making for a few months that I am finally at liberty to share.  After 23 years with the same company, I have decided to make a job change.  I announced my resignation last week and I will be starting at the beginning of next month.  I wasn’t looking for a new job, but Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”  This is what I have tried to do and I will be “starting over” in just a few weeks.  Let’s look at how this works.

For the past 3 – 1/2 years I have travelled all over North America helping our paper mills put reliability in place.  I have been away from home about 70% of the time.  At the end of the year the mills slow way down through the holidays so I get to spend the last two weeks close to home.  I noticed during that time that stress and tension were more the norm than relaxation and peace.  I was really concerned because I recognized that for a marriage of over 26 years, my wonderful wife and I were not communicating very well.  We took a vacation the last week of the year to Orlando that turned into our worst vacation ever.  I can admit it now, I was looking forward to getting back on the road.  I had the first seven weeks of 2012 filled with week-long travel.

One week into the new year, Lisa had an accident where she badly breaks her leg.  The compound, open fracture resulted in a week-long hospital stay, two surgeries, and a 12-week prognosis before she can put any weight on her leg at all.  In fact the doctor was very guarded about how the recovery will go.  Lisa’s leg wasn’t the only thing that was broken at that time though.  Part of the hard shell that was developing over my heart toward my wife was broken.  I am not proud of the fact that I was becoming hardened toward Lisa, but I realize that I was.  And I thank God that He has changed my heart and is continuing to make me a better man and husband.

Obviously I saw that I had to make some changes in my schedule.  I notified the people at the mills that I would have to scale back my on-site support a bit while Lisa was in the recovery mode.  I still travelled, but people I work with were very accommodating.  Instead of 4 & 5 days at a plant I started having more 2 & 3 day weeks.  And we were able to get various family members to stay with Lisa while I was gone since she was immobile.

As I was praying about what to do, I began to wonder if I needed to consider a job change.  I recognized that my heavy travel was at the very least a major contributor to the malaise we experienced at the end of the year.  Having to call upon others to help Lisa while I travelled also brought to light the demands my schedule made upon others.  At this point I think it is important to understand what I was praying and how this worked out.  I was not seeking another job.  I was simply open to whatever God wanted me to do.  While I have often prayed, “Lord, thy will be done.” I usually am looking for a particular answer.  Or perhaps even more accurately, I am not considering certain answers that might come up.  At this time I got serious about being open to anything God wanted me to do.

God works things marvelously.  About two weeks after Lisa broke her leg a good friend asked to have lunch with me to talk about a potential career change for himself.  As we chatted he asked if I would be interested in being a site maintenance and reliability manager.  The position at his plant wasn’t open, but it was a potential.  Working with Jim would be great and because of that I entertained the idea.

A week later I went into the Linked In website which is a career based social networking site that I am on.  When I say I am on, I mean that I visited it once four years ago when it looked like my job was going to end back in 2008.  I have gone to it about a half-dozen times since then.  While I am there I see that my resume info is the same as it was in 2008 so I update it.  Again I am not specifically looking for a job.

The next business day I get an e-mail from a new tissue plant starting up in the area.  Because my conversation with Jim had gotten me thinking about some real positives of working locally, I give them a call back.  We set up an interview and over the course of the next 6 weeks I have three interviews.

Now I need to reiterate that I was not really looking for a job.  I thoroughly enjoy the work I have done.  I have very good working relationships with the people at the mills and I know we have been successful at making tangible progress at the plants.  The calculations at the end of last year indicated that the plants I have worked with on reliability improvement have seen over $30 million per year improvement in the past two years.  I enjoyed my job and we were successful.  If my only consideration was my career, I would be foolish to be looking for a job.

But, I was trying to be obedient to God’s leading.  As I prayed I felt a gentle nudge to keep investigating this opportunity.  The job I am going to is a very good fit for me.  I will be in the role of the people I have been working with at our paper mills over the past 3-1/2 years.  Instead of consulting, I will be in the doing mode.  The work will mean long hours.  Having had similar roles before, I also know it will mean different stresses to what I have experienced during my time in corporate roles.  The decision to leave was by no means an easy decision.

I have shared with you before about how I have experienced God speaking to me.  While this particular decision has many of the same characteristics, it was not exactly the same.  Having only made one job change 23 years ago, I am very out-of-touch with all the expectations and practices.  I do not like negotiating, but I understand that is part of the process.  In the end, I don’t think I did a good job with the negotiating, but it is probably a moot point.  The offer my new company gave me is very fair.  In some ways I am better off than in my old job, in some ways I am not as good.  The result is that the compensation was NOT the deciding factor.  And this is a good thing.  I only negotiated enough to get the package somewhat close to my current package.  I did not want to be chasing money and miss God.

I was looking for an overwhelming peace in the answer.  Interestingly what I had for about a week was calmness, but not the definitive peace I have experienced in the past and I was hoping for at this time.  I scheduled a quick follow-up visit to clarify a few points.  I was not able to give them an answer, but I spent about an hour and a half speaking with the gentleman who would be my counterpart at the sister plant.  It’s funny now because a lot of what we discussed reminded me of the difficult and hard aspects of the job.  He left me with a zero-pressure feeling.  If the job was not for me, then we would all be better off recognizing that now.  As I shook his hand I felt great about his candor and the decision was simply a matter of what the Lord directed me to do.

As I walked out to my car I asked the Father… “So what do you want me to do?  Do I accept the job?”  And the answer was a clear “Yes” and then the peace came.

This morning I begin the wrap up of my old job.  I have two weeks to talk with friends and co-workers at my current company.  I want to leave them with as much good as I can.  For me that first means leaving them with a clear understanding that God loves them and desires to be fully involved in their lives.  He is real.  He is love.  He is our true hope.  Next it will be to share whatever information or encouragement I can to keep the reliability train rolling.  Please join me in praying that these final days will be God-filled, God-directed, and God-blessed.

Thank you for joining me in this journey.  I pray God’s richest blessing upon you today and always.

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