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.
Thanks for sharing! Just what was needed today as a reminder to “seek first the face of GOD”. I will hold on to this reminder today and going forward.
Thanks John for sharing this, and for the encouraging words of wisdom.
Much Love for you John Cole. You’re an inspiration, brother.