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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sooner or Later

I've been saving this post for a very long time.  As we come to the end of another fiscal year, one in which we have much to celebrate, I want to take a moment to challenge the thinking of a sub-culture within our company that looks for signs of layoffs...constantly.

This was undoubtedly our comeback year so as we move forward to build a better Thomas Nelson I'd like to ask this simple question: how can we as Christians contemplate and come to terms with the gravity our own mortality and eternal destination and yet gyrate uncontrollably at the thought of losing a job?

Over lunch one day Sam Moore told me the story of how he came to buy Thomas Nelson from Lord Thomson.  Undoubtedly many of you have heard or read that story, although some of our newer or younger people haven't.  It is one of the great lines on this topic and what follows is the abbreviated version of what Sam told me.

Lord Thomson, British publishing magnate getting on in years, notices the success of Sam's upstart Royal Publishing on 7th Avenue in Nashville.  He calls Sam to lunch in New York and asks him to come work for him running Thomas Nelson, whose brand had lost its way in the marketplace.  Sam says, "I won't come to work for you but I'll buy it from you."  One of Lord Thomson's staff quickly jumps in the conversation and says, "Lord Thomson does not sell companies, he only buys them."  Sam replied, "Lord Thomson, the Good Lord has designed it so that eventually we all sell."

And so it is with our jobs...

I will eventually leave Thomas Nelson.  It could be after I get my gold watch for my 80th birthday like Jack Countryman (although thankfully he's still here!).  It could be next year in a disagreement with my bosses or in 10 years due to disability or an offer I can't refuse.  I'll eventually leave my job in some fashion just like I'll eventually die.  I've come to terms with both as much as anyone can in advance of it happening and so my work experience is generally positive.

The economic and financial paranoia of this recession is easing.  Our future looks bright.  As we move forward together I encourage you, whether you work at Nelson or elsewhere, to make plans for your retirement; to pay off your debts and to have an emergency fund. Come to work with the same surety and outlook with which you come to your Church.  To strain at job security and swallow mortality whole is illogical and makes your day, and mine, harder than it has to be.

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