One day at work…
VP: “I want to see if you are interested in taking on more responsibility.”
Me: “What did you have in mind?”
VP: “I’d like you to take over this team (holds up an organization chart).”
Me: “That is quite a lot more responsibility.”
VP: “It will be a stretch.”
Me: “I have a couple of questions.”
Me: “What is the compensation?”
VP: “It’s a lateral”. (no money)
Me: “Will I get a different office?”
VP: “Same office.” (no new office)
Me: “What is the title for the position?”
VP: “Manager of <department>.”
Me: “Didn’t we just fire the last manager of <department>.”
VP: “Right. He wasn’t working out.”
My VP is from the U.S. northeast and I am from the south; so I was certain there was a simple misunderstanding caused by differences in pronunciation.
He pronounces the job title as “manager”, which I believe is actually pronounced, “royal majesty and emperor”. Meh… I say To-may-to, you say To-mah-to. So I employed a particular practice I’ve learned over the last few years: I prayed. Interestingly enough, God had yet another pronunciation of the job title. He called it: “servant”. A-hem. Right.
After carefully considering the pros and cons of the new role, I summarized the situation:
No new office.
No celebratory whoop-de-do.
A pretty good chance of being fired if I don’t perform well.
A pretty good chance of outsourcing the department next year if I do perform well.
So I checked my conscience, in a dialogue that sounded a lot like:
The Blue Fairy: Would you like to be
Pinocchio’s Casey’s conscience?
Jiminy Cricket: [blushing] Well, uh, I… Uh-huh.
The Blue Fairy: Very well. What is your name?
Jiminy Cricket: [tipping his hat] Oh, Cricket’s the name. *Jiminy* Cricket!
The Blue Fairy: I dub you
Pinocchio’s Casey’s conscience, Lord High Keeper of the Knowledge of Right and Wrong, Counselor in Moments of High Temptation, and Guide Along the Straight and Narrow Path. Arise, Sir Jiminy Cricket.
My conscience gets a better job title than I do. Go figure.
God provides opportunities for us to demonstrate His grace in ways we might not choose, if we didn’t know Him. I have the pleasure of knowing Jesus followers who turned “chemotherapy” into “cancer church”. I know people that have embraced their “recovery from addiction” and turned it into a “ministry”. I’ve seen peace in the faces of those that lost life-long spouses. I witnessed people with gigantic-family-dramas welcome strangers, while wearing smiles as big as Texas. I personally know people whose marriages are in trouble, whose kids are in trouble, whose parents are nearing the end of the road, and… they have joy.
As one preacher said it: “When others rush out of the burning chaos of human dramas and tragedies, Christians rush in.”
I’m not try to glamourize my new role. It would be difficult to make it glamorous. The job is much more demanding than I expected, requires longer hours than I ever wanted to put in, insists that I juggle several crises at the same time without a misstep, and my favorite: instead of working with computers that do precisely what I tell them to do… I work with people that do not always do so.
Maybe this is going to be a difficult season for me personally but it is going to be a difficult season for the people on my team as well. And I’m fairly certain some of them do not know Jesus. Yet.
And I am convinced that in this nonsensical and illogical path, God has a plan to glorify Himself. I want a front-row seat to see that. Besides, this was never really about the new job anyway….
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11