Saturday, July 10, 2010

How a Christian Leaves His Job

For the past two weeks, sports media outlets like ESPN have been filled with incessant talk and angst about Lebron James' free agency decision - will he leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, his hometown team? Who will have the benefit of his considerable skills - Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls?

It's "over the top" and resulted the unthinkable - eclipsing coverage of the World Cup Finals! On Thursday night, Lebron James announced in an ESPN special show that he was going to the Miami Heat. It was followed by a heated response from the Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert. Gilbert characterized Lebron's actions, in particular, the manner in which he made and announced his decision as "a several day, narcissistic, self promotional buildup...". While Gilbert's response was particularly edgy, he was not alone - many others in the media found it distasteful.

The point of this post isn't about Lebron's character or his choice to leave Cleveland Cavaliers. Most of us won't be playing professional sports anytime soon and when we leave our place of employment, it won't be as public. However, I'm wondering if there are lessons to learn from Lebron's actions that can apply to how our own employment opportunities. In this high paced, transient, corporate world we live in, many of us will have more than 10 jobs in our lifetime. Sometimes we're forced to leave our place of work due to a termination, but often, we'll have opportunities presented to us. What's the right way to leave a job that happens?

I'd like to suggest that "love for neighbor" is one of the primary issues we should consider when we are presented with our own "decision". Unlike marriage, we're not expected to stay in a job "for better or for worse" or "till death do us part". However, as Christians, we're called to act in a loving manner, not simply in the context of the church and family, but in all of life... including our place of work. This means that when we are considering to leave our place of employment, we should do so with kindness and care toward those we work with.

We should ask ourselves the following questions and wrestle with the answers-

"Is this a good time to leave?" - if you're in the middle of a project, your role is critical and people are counting on your contribution, it's probably not the right time. Trust that God will make an opportune time for your departure such that you won't alienate your fellow workers and cast a bad light on the reputation of Christ.

"How will my departure affect those who remain and how can I make that transition easier?" - if you choose to leave, then do so in way that can makes it easy for the organization to transition your departure.

"How can I be sure not to demonstrate respect for those who remain - fellow employees and management" - hint: no gloating about your new wonderful job (... and no ESPN special show to promote yourself and publicly humiliate the team you're leaving)

"How can I recognize the good things about the current place of employment and how I've benefited from it" - think about all you've gained in experience, friendships that have enriched you, help that you've received over the years .

Anything I've missed here - what are your thoughts?


Jimmy said...

i like the list because it is like loving you neighbor. it is also following Phil 2:3-4 --"do nothing out of rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourself. let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.
the one thing that i might offer is to ensure that you have dealt with any relational riffs, as much as you are able, prior to leaving or as you are leaving. as much as is possible, don't leave any bad baggage and don't take any with you.

transitioning out of a company does take trusting God and paying attention to his leading.

thanks for the post

Red Letter Believers said...

I like how you bring in our faith to the actual leaving of a job. Too many people used to 'take this job and &*%$ it.' while they walked out the door....including Christians.

But our departure should be for the right reasons -- and should be done with grace, truth and honoring to God

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good thoughts, ESI. It all boils down to loving God and neighbor as Jesus said. It's never supposed to be about us. That would make it especially difficult to leave a job in the first place, though I can understand how some new opportunity might fit better with our interest and abilities.

Every Square Inch said...

Jimmy - thx for your thoughts. Agree with your words of wisdom - resolving relational rifts Is something to address before departing.

RLB - thx - leaving well is just important as starting well in a job - maybe more so

Ted - I don't believe that we're obligated to stay at a job indefinitely - we are free to pursue good opportunities that fit with our talents & interests -but whether staying or leaving we should honor God

Red Letter Believers said...

ESQ: Congratulations. I've highlighted your blog on the High Calling "Around the Network" round up for the month of June.
Check it out this afternoon at
-- David Rupert

Every Square Inch said...

David - forgot to thank you for featuring my post. As always grateful and honored.