Re-Envisioning a Calling | Greg's Story

Greg had a career on staff with a large church working with children and families--a place where he thought he would be forever; but when a management decision eliminated his position he found himself burned out and trying to figure out what was next.

When the decision came, there were a lot of emotions. I was shocked by the turn of events. Never saw it coming and I was hurt by the way things were done. For awhile there was a sense of disbelief--I couldn't comprehend the people I worked so closely with--people I respected and loved, would treat my family and I the way they did. There was confusion and anger.

Initially, I was confused about what to do next. Emotionally, I needed recovery time, but my family also needed to be taken care of financially. While I could have easily moved to seek the same type of position, it was a bad time. My boys were in high school. My wife had a job she loved. But the big limiter was that I had spent my life dedicated to a single career and I was good at it. I didn't have other skills.

I found myself pursuing a lot of different avenues trying to make a living. I wound up getting my insurance license. I picked up some contract work for consulting and writing in my field. Getting the insurance license was a turning point. After 10 months of pursuing that avenue, it affirmed to me that regardless of what had happened in my previous job, I was still called to ministry and wanted to passionately pursue that. Some would look at pursuing the license as a waste of time, but for me, I needed to do it to clarify that what I was called to do was still valid and simply replacing the income wasn't enough.

All of my experience was working with families and children. So little in our culture is geared to that. It was important to me. I realized that to be successful I had to do what I loved to do. Once I hit that point, it was just about figuring out what that looked like.

As more and more consulting and writing came to me, I began to realize that there was a need at the macro level to connect people with resources. I started a blog. I launched a placement service. I began coaching, consulting and pouring into the people who had the same type of roles I had just left. Encouraging them. Equipping them.

It is still a start up business with all that goes with that, but my wife is supportive. I have remained within my experience and passion, but it doesn't look the same. I had to come to the point that I wasn't limited to the way things used to look. I had to be creative and find that there are other ways to fulfill my calling. Today, I have a totally different work method than I had in the previous 20 years.

If I were to counsel others at a crossroads where their career suddenly ends, I would tell them that it is okay to give yourself time and space to get over the loss. And let go of justification and defense. It's okay to be confused. Okay to be angry. Feel the pain, but don't let that stop you from going forward. At some point, you have to move ahead even though it is messy and unresolved.

One of the things this experience has made clear to me it that I have to remain within my passion. I could have transitioned to something else, but my passion would have shriveled and died. You have to find what you love to find success in work. I think if you had asked me that before all of this happened, I would have said that. But then it was head knowledge and now that has moved to heart knowledge.

© Cathy Hutchison 2012

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