A Time to Stand Up

First On-Site Meeting of the Christian Professionals of Greater Atlanta

Two weeks ago, I hung up the phone after speaking with a good friend that I used to work with. I was totally shocked and saddened to learn that someone we both knew had just taken his life. The gentleman worked for a competitor and was very well known and respected in his industry. I would go so far as to say that everyone who ever met him, liked him immediately. At least I did. We met once at a customer’s site and I was immediately struck by his presence and vitality. Now he is no longer with us.

This was the second instance of its kind that I had heard about that week.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the first on-site meeting of Christian Professionals of Greater Atlanta. The group was formed on LinkedIn, as a subgroup of Christian Professionals Worldwide. I always enjoy opportunities to bring Social Networking to real time by meeting people in person. I had a great time meeting so many wonderful people at this event.

During the course of the evening, Peter Bourke, volunteer Chairman of Crossroads Career ® Network (http://www.crossroadscareer.org/) and Principal at The Complex Sale spoke to our group. He made several references to his newly published book, A Better Way to Make a Living… and a Life during the course of his powerful presentation. To learn more about Peter Bourke’s book and his purpose for writing it, you may visit http://www.betterwaytomakealiving.com/.

The messages that I send in this blog post are inspired by the content of Peter Bourke’s presentation.

Message to Career Seekers:

Stand tall and remain strong! You are still who you were before – perhaps even better!

While times may seem difficult now, this too shall pass.

One may ask what gives me the right to say these things? It’s quite simple – I too am in transition. My last day with my previous employer was December 18, 2009.

I believe that I am even better now than I was then and am using this time to seek out an opportunity to serve a new organization. In the meantime, I’ve created an LLC which I intend to use to provide value to clients seeking to bring their sales and marketing efforts to the next level.

I have been abundantly blessed by the support of my family and friends during this time of transition. My time of transition has been made much less difficult by knowing that I can pick up the phone and call my family or friends and they will be there to listen and offer guidance.

Is this the time for you perhaps pursue a dream that you may have of starting your own business? My response is a resounding yes!

Message to People of Faith:

We are called upon to serve and rise up in the name of our creator to help others. While I approach this topic from a Christian perspective, I know that every religion professes to have this mission. The time for us to proactively reach out, lend an ear and provide positive words to others is today and everyday.

People are hurting all across the world today and are looking to People of Faith to see whether we walk the walk, or just talk the talk. Join me in walking the walk and reaching out to others. I know that when I walk the walk, Jesus Christ is right there beside me.

Does this just pertain to reaching out to career seekers? Absolutely not! Peter Bourke references the fact that there are seventy-five million people working across the US today who are “chronically miserable” in their work.

Add to that the fact that many people have become underemployed or have received drastic cuts to their salaries.

In fact, the two people whom I mentioned earlier were both employed at the time that they took their lives.

If you are one of the “chronically miserable”, I challenge you to change your situation by reaching out to others. It will make a world of difference in the lives of others, as well as your own life.

So, let’s get out there and do what we are called upon to do! Let’s reach out, reach up and stay in the game!

I challenge everyone to use this time to draw upon your faith, as we are called upon to do, and become a difference maker in the lives of others!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Shannon Thompson says:

    Jeff,

    I am very sorry to hear of your colleague who took his own life. Sometimes it just does not make sense that seemingly happy people would do something like this, but we all have to keep continuing to work in God’s plan for all of us.

    I am proud of you for venturing out into your own business and I admire your entrepreneurial spirit! Recently, my company was acquired by a much larger company and I was one of the lucky ones who were retained, but several of my colleagues were not retained within the new organization. It was very difficult for me to reach out to these colleagues and try to reassure them that things will work out in an uncertain future.

    However, I will take a leaf out of your book about embracing it as an opportunity and discovering something that you may be passionate about. I’m hoping that many of them will be encouraged and inspired by your thoughts.

    Although I was retained in the new organization, I am very open to networking opportunities, especially Christian-based affiliations, so please keep me in mind whenever these meetings take place.

    Kindest Regards,

    Shannon Thompson
    Cell: 770-324-5712

  2. Dianne Levy says:

    Our current financial dilemna is hurting so many people and I add my sympathies for the loss of your friend. People close to me have suffered strokes and heart-attacks from the stress.

    My last day of employment was December 11, 2008! I’ve never been unemployed (I’ve worked since age 9). It’s been a shock, I’ve been embarrassed and at times felt “over the hill.” Fortunately, my retirement income kicked in mid-2009, so I can tread water until the economy changes.

    God does work in strange ways: This time has created some of the strongest bonds and friendships of my life — through Unity Church, through JCC, through a group called Marin Family Action (www.MarinFamilyAction.org). We are raising funds to help our neighbors in need and we are bonding in our desire to move forward in a positive way, while fighting back to save homes from foreclosure. We have saved a few homes and are learning how to save even more.

    Bless you all and regards,

    Dianne Levy
    Dianne@DianneLevy.com

  3. Lillian DeAngelo says:

    Well written and beautiful said.

    My heart aches for the family of your friend.

    Lillian

  4. Ruth Adkins says:

    Jeff:
    I am always moved by your blog entries, but this one touches close to home for all the reasons you recognize. It is difficult to embrace the tragedy of suicide – accepting that emotional pain for some people is more of a burden than they can bear. I pray for those who are no longer with us; I pray more for those left behind to move forward without the man or woman who struggled so significantly.

    Now “is” the time for us to support and inspire others, more so than at any other time in history. This season isn’t about being out of work or about struggling through tough economic times. It is, as you so beautifully state, about caring for the needs of others more than for your own. As we take that focus off ourselves and consider the needs of those in our Circle of Influence it becomes evident that God can use our talents to do some pretty incredible things as we allow Him to. We must first be acceptable to change ourselves, and change is difficult for most of us. His vision for us, though, is always so much greater than our own, and He’s never failed me yet, so I get excited when I consider the changes I see others going through as I begin to imagine just how many lives an individual can favorably influence as processes are completed to improve the lives of others.

    You are an excellent example, Jeff, and I am proud to consider you more a family member than a friend. You look beyond your own needs to consider how God can use your talents in various situations, and then, instead of sitting idle, you generate activity to move forward, knowing through Faith that He’s gone ahead of you to clear the path and may a way for great things to evolve.

    THANK YOU – again – for sharing your thoughts and your Faith. None of us would have endured the journey we have to this point if not for the principle that moves us forward; faith, trust, and knowledge to know we are not alone – at any time, but especially in times of difficulty! God bless you, my friend, for using that big heart He blessed you with to favorably influence the lives of so many!

    Hugs and prayers,
    Ruth Adkins

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