The day I got the worst news of my career in IT, I was so young I didn’t even realize how bad it was.
I was the chief information officer of a large financial services company and had enjoyed years of success on the job. Even so, one morning I read in the newspaper that the CEO, the man who had hired me, was out. Though I was upset about my boss, I thought my track record would protect me. I was naïve.
So I just kept working. Three months later, I walked into a meeting with my new boss, and an HR representative was there. Then I heard the words that signal the worst news an employee can hear: “We’re going in a different direction.”
I left the office, jumped into my car, and drove.
At the time, I had two kids in high school. I thought, How can I provide for them and for my wife? I found myself at church, face down in the chapel crying out for strength. I laid my Bible flat on the floor in front of me, and it flopped open to Jeremiah 29:11. The verse read, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Over the years, I had seen many people encouraged by these powerful words. Now I needed to lean on God’s promise.
I looked up. In the chapel, there’s a stained glass window of Jesus walking down a road carrying one lamb while another lamb presses up close. I realized I used to be walking but now Jesus was carrying me.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a famous verse. The next two verses should be just as famous: “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
My fear vanished. I got up and began looking for work. It took a long six months. The day my severance ran out, I began a new job in a new state.
Facing my greatest fear as a CIO taught me the importance of seeking God with all my heart. The best way I know to do that is to read the Bible daily. Don’t wait and react to what comes. If we’re not fed spiritually, we’ll be weak. Keep fed, keep close. I hadn’t done that before, but I’ve done it ever since.
I’d recommend finding a time every day that’s yours, say 10 minutes, in the same quiet place. You can use a through the Bible in a year reading plan or read a chapter every day. No matter how much you read, go back to the one verse or passage that stands out. You’ll see something; whenever we’re in the Word, there’s something new. And it always seems to say the right thing at the right time.
To remember what you read, snap a photo of the verse with your phone and look at it several times a day. The practice should be a good reminder to think of others first. That outward focus helps a lot with layoffs.
Another help is to meet more with fellow believers. A great place to do that is the Dallas / Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast, scheduled this year for Friday, Oct. 5 at the Irving Convention Center. Every year, thousands of Christians and non-Christians meet there in a relevant business environment for tech professionals where a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ is presented. Consider becoming a volunteer, a table host, or a corporate partner today. #DFWTechPB #FaithatWork
John Cole chairs the Merv Tarde Values in Leadership Circle of the Dallas / Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast.