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Friday, December 14, 2012

Why I Chose Life Care Services (and turned my life upside down)

After the Harper Collins purchase of Thomas Nelson took place I needed a job. There is no doubt about that. But what job and where?  I was happy that, as I've said before, the market reacted positively to my resume.  The question, though, was where?  Which opportunity would lead me to where I wanted to go with the back half of my career? 

Another issue was about the environment in which I wanted to work.  I spent 12 years working with some really bright and visionary people reshaping the work culture at TNM.  What we created was something special; values-driven but financially successful.  God-honoring on a good day; do-no-harm on the worst of days.  After shaping that, and then getting to work in it, what do you do for an encore? Also, how do you go back to pure capitalism after doing something that engages your heart.

My first overtures to other Christian organizations did not lead to any meaningful response.  Not sure why that was, but it was.  Simultaneously I was reaching out to secular organizations and had resigned myself to going back into "business". 

Of these opportunities the most disruptive to me personally and to our family started to emerge as a front runner.  Like a long-shot, dark-horse gaining ground in the back stretch, the more LCS people I met the more they reminded me of Nelson people.  The more I learned about their business the more opportunity I saw for myself.  The last straw was when I really learned of the company's solid commitment to its values.

Just as a reminder, the Nelson values we authored during my tenure were these:

Honoring God
Serving Others
Focused and Disciplined
World Class Talent
Collaboration
 
 LCS corporate values, by comparison, are:
  
We set exceptionally high standards for ourselves.
We make a difference in the lives of our seniors.
We serve the customer, first and foremost.
We deal honestly and fairly, with integrity and openness.
We maintain a long-term perspective.
We are diligent and persevering.
We are interconnected and interdependent.
 
 
I took the two lists and laid them side by side and starting drawing lines between them.  Although not overtly Christian in its statement, we Honor God when We make a difference in the lives of our senior residents and when We deal honestly and fairly, with integrity and openness.  We Serve Others when We serve the customer, first and foremost.  We are Focused and Disciplined when We maintain a long-term perspective and when We are diligent and persevering.  We pursue and develop World Class Talent when We set exceptionally high standards for ourselves.  Finally, we Collaborate when We are interconnected and interdependent
 
I know some of my friends in Nashville have been disappointed in me for stopping my job search locally.  I know my family situation is undergoing major changes with my living in Indianapolis.  After the first of the year I will be travelling more than I'll be stationary, which is how I used to make my living but is a major change from the last dozen years. 
 
But I also believe that everything happens for a reason.  I don't think coming to a job in another company, city, climate, and industry while finding these same values is an accident.  Where it goes from here I don't know, but it feels as right as anything I've ever done.  It also points out, for my friends forced to leave TNM and for those considering it, that your values can still guide you to a good employer even outside the missionary context. 
 
I hope this job works out and lasts, and I am taking nothing for granted as I work to play my way onto the team.  But I am approaching this on faith rather than trying to cause something to happen, which is 180 degrees out of character for me.  We'll see how this ends up, one day at a time, with a lamp at my feet.

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