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Article #16-Work

It is a Monday.  The alarm rings. What emotion rises up in you?  Building your Soul Roadmap in this area changes you.  It elevates those Monday morning soul responses,  bringing the totality of you into a new work week of life.  Mind, body and soul all arrive together to address another week in the world of work.

Recently we were invited to attend the Sundance Film Festival.  One aspect of our work is in the entertainment spaces, specifically television and film.  We sat in a theater watching a Premier showing of a documentary 20 Days in Mariupol.  It won the academy award for documentary films category in 2023.  It changed us.  The film crew of three were caught behind enemy lines within the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukraine.  They literally risked their lives to document the war which quickly became a conflict against civilians.  (For a viewing of the film go to Frontline PBS within their archives.  It can now be accessed in many places due to the Academy Award.  Follow the viewing guidelines as it is not suitable for some.)  Their footage was shown to the UN and the US Congress to document war crimes against the Russian Federation.   The film crew, along with their equipment and the recordings on hard drives, were smuggled out of Mariupol in a nerve-racking Red Cross humanitarian caravan bound for Hungary.  One of the benefits of Sundance is the opportunity to have conversations with people involved in the making of the films.  After watching 20 days of Mariupol we had the privilege of hearing the US based editor, Michele Mizner, and the on the ground producer of the film, Mstyslav Chernov in a Q and A session the answer to one question from the audience stopped us in our tracks, the question that was asked of the producer was, “What are you going to do now?”  He said he was flying out the next day, heading back to Ukraine.  His film crew had already left for Ukraine a few days earlier.  Now wait just a minute.  Mstyslav is now a known person of interest to the Russian Federation.  His family members are refugees in hiding.  He is going back to continue to document the destruction in his homeland and the behavior of the aggressor, again at great personal risk.  The risk is now very heightened because he is a known journalist to the Russian Federation.

If he is caught ……

Where do you get that kind of courage?

His reply was it “Is my work.”  Elaine and I looked at one another, silently thinking this is a soul mission not just simply work.  Your work, wherever it may be, can be a vehicle for the exercise of your soul.

Prayers go out….. May God protect him and his crew as they go about His work in Ukraine.

So perhaps you are not a cinematographer in a war zone.  Nonetheless bringing your soul to the world of work can be dangerous and ultimately rewarding.  Years ago, we served a 58-year-old middle manager we will call him Bob, working within a fortune 500 company.  One October the layoff list came down eliminating his entire unit of 38 workers, not him mind you just the workers.  His team was just finishing up on a multi-year project.  His task was to lay them all off just before Christmas when the project was completed.  He objected saying it was bad management to fire people during the holidays.  Keep them on until February was his suggestion.  The executive management pushed back.  No, we need to get “right sized” by year end to meet our bonus criteria.  During consultations with the middle manager and his wife they walked us through navigating the decision process.  The conclusion was that it just did not sit well within his soul.  If he refused to lay off his workers his boss would fire him on the spot for cause.  Our middle manager would lose significant pension and health care benefits.  He was between a rock and a hard place.  We went back to their Soul Roadmap for direction.  This was a family spiritual decision.

In the end he refused to comply and was dismissed immediately.  Turning in his card key and badge, security walked him to his desk watched as he packed 28 years of memories and escorted him out of the facility. Do not talk to anyone there is still your severance package to think about was the final threat.  Corporate America can be dangerous too.  He used up his accrued sick leave and vacation which took 111 days.  This was a dedicated employee manager.  Sitting in the HR offices to sign his final paperwork a surprise occurred.  Someone he had worked with years earlier in another division of the company burst into the proceedings.  “I just heard about your dismissal.  How come you didn’t call me?”

“I agreed to tell no one as a part of the termination agreement”, said Bob.  I wanted to honor my word.

Do you want to come work for me in my division?  I can get you into your 60’s to restore your health care benefits for life and boost your pension you have earned.  I have created a spot for you.

Rescued at the last minute from the jaws of Corporate America.  You see, when we did Bob’s work building his Soul Roadmap this area of work transitioned from working for a Fortune 500 company to working for God serving his 38-member team to meet corporate objectives.  He treated them like a family.  A business family.  In the end his work became a calling.  When his job finally ended, pension intact, health care for he and his beloved for the rest of their lives, well over $250,000 in value, he went back to “work” managing volunteers providing food for the needy in our town of Denver- because the organization, a Christian ministry, saw his value and talent and asked him to come help.  It felt like he was once again working for God- this time providing food for citizens.  God works in mysterious ways.

Your alarm rang Monday, what went through your mind, body, and soul?  Who do you work for?  Your company or God?  Building your own Soul Roadmap can begin your transition from working to serving.  It is a reference point on how to navigate career decisions.

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