If my father loved his career more than he loved our family, Hugo Chavez would’ve been my neighbor. No, I don’t mean we would have shared a property line with one of the most reviled dictators in recent decades. But I do mean that my family would’ve lived in Venezuela as my dad’s climb up the corporate ladder took a South American detour.
The news of Hugo Chavez’s death has me thinking a lot about the impact a decision about a possible job transition can have on a family. Because my dad cared about my family’s stability more than his career aspirations, he turned down a chance to lead Chevron’s South American operations after the company merged with Texaco over a decade ago.
Everyone recognizes that when you say yes to a new job opportunity, it marks a significant milestone in your life. But there are times when saying no to a new job opportunity can have an even greater significance on your life’s direction. The next time you are evaluating a life-altering opportunity like a job offer, here’s how to think about it:
- Job decisions reveal past experiences – When you make a decision on a position, what it reveals is the wisdom to evaluate new opportunities based on learning from past experiences. Ask yourself, how does this new opportunity fit with what I know based on the past about myself, my prospective new employer, and the gospel?
- Job decisions reflect present priorities – When you make a decision on a position, what it reflects is the priorities that shape your present decision-making matrix. Ask yourself, how does this opportunity fit with what I find to be most important about myself, my vocation and the gospel’s impact on my life?
- Job decisions shape future opportunities – When you make a decision on a position, what it shapes is the future possibilities available to you. Ask yourself, how does this opportunity fit with where I want to be in two years or two decades?
As it turns out with my father, after he turned down this job in Venezuela, the company found a better opportunity for him that was a more suitable fit for his skill set and long term goals.
Sometimes, doors open that allow God to lead the way. Other times, doors open that enable the enemy to lead us astray. The challenge is knowing the difference between the two. Gospel-centered discernment helps us to take our past experiences, present priorities, and future hopes to make wise decisions when opportunities arise.