I wanted to take this moment to wish everyone a blessed and special Holy Week, filled with opportunities to reflect on our lives as Christians, but also on our work in the world of business and economics. For me, this week marks all that.
makes us who we are in the EoC: the institution of the Eucharist/Communion, Jesus Crucified and Forsaken (“My God, my God….”), and the Resurrection. Our experience of living this business lifestyle of communion gives us the chance to follow Jesus’ path in an exceptional way: together! With His presence in our midst and with our decision to become ‘one’, we understand the costs, but also the fruits of this communion.
These last two weeks, I have had a clear reminder within my own company of the suffering and loss we often embrace and say our ‘yes’ to in this adventure of the EoC: two of my employees turned in their resignations and will be leaving the company. In both cases, it will ultimately end up being good for the company and good for these employees, but there is always a certain degree of sadness and a sense of failure when this kind of thing happens. We often ask ourselves: “Why did this happen? Is there anything we could have done to prevent it? What change in our management style or company atmosphere could be improved to make us more of an EoC business?”
A personal examination of conscience is always in order, at least for me. It often helps me to see with new eyes possible causes, if there are any, and improvements to consider: Did we make an initial good hiring decision, and find someone who likely would find the work fulfilling? Did we provide opportunities for professional growth? Did we establish strong relationships with the employee? Was the employee given the chance to make a contribution in the company?
Sometimes, though, after asking ourselves a number of these questions, we do not find a clear answer, and can simply only conclude: yes, it is a good time for the person to leave (or to be let go).
I remember thinking, naively, when I first started the company that if we built the right kind of EoC company, there would certainly never be any turnover of employees. I mean, who would want to leave such a great company, right? And, to make matters worse, going through the first 6 years of the business without the loss of an employee convinced me that this conclusion must be true! In fact, I think I was a little proud of a ‘zero employee turnover’, thinking I somehow caused it to happen with my great EoC leadership (and loving) abilities! Then, after we had our first turnover, reality set in. I realized that I had become ‘attached’ to the idea, and ‘attached’ to my employees for selfish kinds of reasons. After all, it felt good to have everything go so well in a company, and to have people around you really enjoy their working environment and each other.
I’ve since come to understood that all we are called as entrepreneurs in the EoC to do is to love those God puts next to us in each moment, and to ‘try’ to build the best EoC company that we can. That’s really it. Each person’s destiny and life ‘journey’ , although it may include coming to work at our company, may also include leaving it at some point for other ‘reasons’ and other ‘seasons’ in their lives.
During our ‘going away’ celebration party this week for one of the two employees, I began to share with everyone how much I would personally miss not having her here, but also wishing her only the very best in her next position. Julie (my wife) and I then made several jokes and personal comments that made it clear how well we knew this ‘unique’ employee. When it was her time to speak, she began to cry, and tell everyone how much we all meant to her, and how she came to think of us as a ‘family’, despite needing to leave. She recounted how we had all supported her during the illness and death of both her father and her dog, two of the closest people/things in her life. It was a touching moment, with tears flowing from all corners of the room; it reminded me that perhaps the most important thing we have to offer the business world, is a chance for others to ‘breathe in’ our atmosphere when they are with us, and then take it with them when they leave, and spread it to others. Wow, what a thought!
With this ‘aha’ realization and ‘special moment’ this Holy Week, the ‘hurt’ in my heart as I embraced this ‘loss’ was suddenly transformed into pure joy, and a resurrection.
Happy Easter to all of you from someone who was given an early ‘peek’ at the empty tomb!
J. Mundell, Indianapolis, U.S.A.