Photo credit: Kool Cats Photography on Flickr CC
“It’s time for a change.”
That’s the phrase I often hear around our house, usually referring to the need for me to have a special meeting with our diaper-wearing two-year-old.
It’s also the message I was feeling a few years ago when I made a big decision in my life – the decision to switch jobs.
Have you been there?
It hasn’t been something that I’ve done very often and I’ve never taken it lightly.
For me, in fact, this was only the third time, at least in the “real world”.
(I won’t count when I left Arby’s for McDonalds or moved on from cleaning up after dogs to mowing lawns)
Long before I had even thought about my first real job, my ideas of what it meant to be a hard worker were being shaped by the example of my parents.
My dad, especially, when he wasn’t making memories with me, was helping lay out in my mind what an employee should look like.
He eventually retired after working 45 years at the same company. So I always held up his example as my ideal.
To me, that exemplified commitment and loyalty, things that I wanted to show to my future employers.
My first job out of college was at a great organization that I loved, and I thought I would be there long-term.
However, I left after four years in order for my wife and I to move closer to family. At that point, I already found myself having to put to death the ideal that I had set-up and accept that maybe my path would be different than my dad’s.
Years into my second job, I had to make a similar decision when faced with the prospect of massive layoffs coming down the line.
Third Times a Charm?
Soon, I found myself starting over again with a new employer.
It took time to settle in and find my groove, but I was able to do that and, within several years, I was pretty comfortable there. Maybe too comfortable.
Then a funny thing happened. I started to get stretched.
I was learning a lot about leadership and company culture from books, podcasts, and friends. I began looking at my employer and my role there in a new light.
As I was growing, I began to wonder if my company would grow with me in those areas or not and I even met with company leaders to discuss my thoughts.
At the same time, I had a “chance” conversation with a good friend about where he worked, the way they did business and what they stood for.
So much of what he said resonated with what I was feeling inside, but I didn’t know what to make of it just yet.
Time for a change?
In the weeks that followed, I continued to pursue change at my job while at the same time praying about the possibility that maybe God had been moving in me to prepare me for something else.
How do we know for sure in these situations? There’s usually no big billboard or writing in the sky telling us what to do.
I believe we have to pray, listen, look around us at how God’s working, and trust our gut.
Eventually, I realized that it wasn’t an accident that I had that conversation with my friend or that I’d been learning and growing. God had been preparing me for something else and it was time for a change.
It still wasn’t easy to walk into the office of my friend and boss and tell him, but I felt it was the right move.
It’s been two years since I made that decision and I’m so glad I did.
I had never even heard of my current employer before that conversation with my friend, but I couldn’t imagine a place that more closely matches who I am, what I believe, and what God is molding me into.
What about you? How do you know when it’s time for a change?
Answer in the comments below…
This is a guest post by my friend, Shawn Washburn. Shawn is a Christ-follower, husband, father, friend, son, and brother. He has a beautiful wife, three growing boys, and a sweet baby girl. He spent his whole career in mechanical engineering, doing mostly product design but he’s now involved in manufacturing engineering at a great company. His other passions are coaching, basketball, reading, learning, laughing, playing and resting. I had the privilege of hanging out with Shawn at Grove City College where we lived on the same floor for two years. He recently started his own blog, Washburn Writer. Trust me, you have to go check it out, subscribe, and leave him a comment. Don’t forget to tell him I sent you.
If you are interesting in sharing your stretch marks with The Stretched Community, let me know. I’d love to feature you here as a guest blogger.