Why I’m Leaving My Job

What I Feel Like....

What I Feel Like….

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…..Ecclesiastes 3:1

The rumors are true…..

Actually, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.  It’s taken quite a while to wrap my head around the idea that something I spent my entire life either preparing for or doing is coming to an end.  Finally I decided, and I had my speech all ready.  But when it came time to tell my boss, all I could manage to say was “It’s time, I need to leave.”

And with those words began the unraveling of a 32-year career, 27 of those at my current employer.  An employer I’ve been privileged to work for, that’s helped me grow and contribute to the lives of thousands of our customers.

When I first started working, my young engineer coworkers and I all told ourselves we’d retire as early as we could.  Who wouldn’t want to quit work and just get on with enjoying life?   In the end, I see how simplistic that view was.  Because over the last 32 years, my career and I have become almost inextricably linked.

Bayway (1)

I Spent the First 5 Years of My Career Here at the Bayway Refinery & Chem Plant

My first “real” job was making motor oil additives at a petrochemical company.  For five years I got some of the best experience an engineer fresh out of college could get.  But I began to wonder – was I really making a difference?  The result of my efforts was that car engines didn’t get as much sludge build-up.  Is this what I wanted to look back on at the end of my life?

Drug Active Ingredients are made in equipment like this (NOT MY COMPANY)

Drug Active Ingredients are made in equipment like this (Stock Photo, Not My Company)

And so I completely changed fields to make medicines.  Not stuff like Tylenol or BenGay – we made medicines that treat serious diseases.   I’ve seen many letters from patients, telling us their lives were saved or made so much better because of our products.  I watched as my own critically ill father made an amazing turnaround over just a few hours….right after the hospital started him on one of our products. That made it all worth it.  It’s stories like my father’s that keep you going in a very challenging environment.  What we do matters – often in a very big way.

In 2008, God began to challenge me.  The thought kept coming into my mind “Could you leave all this if I asked you to?”  In my head I said “Yes, I believe I could.”  In my heart, I wondered.  I knew someday God would ask me to make a choice, and I hoped I would have the courage to make the right one.

Assignments came and went.  I had the good fortune to work with our plants and suppliers all over the world. I traveled to South America, Europe, India and China.  My current position is one of most challenging and enjoyable I’ve ever had – as it required us to transform how we do business, and we were navigating major change on many fronts.  I’ve watched my team really step up and learn to do what they needed to – and will need to continue to do long after I’m gone.  They’re a great team, and I’m very proud of them.

And then it came – what I had secretly dreaded.  The “would you be willing to give it all up” moment.  After many discussions with family and select friends over many months, it became clear that it was time to leave.

And I said yes.

I’d like to tell you that I said yes quickly, but in reality it’s been a process over many months.  I’m thankful for a God who is patient with me, who didn’t give up when I started waffling or dragging my feet.   God is patient, but He is also persistent.  Trust me, I know firsthand. So here’s why I’m leaving.

1.  I love my job.  But there are people I love more.

Bottom line – the more years I work, the less time I have for the people I care about – my family, my friends, and the Compassion sponsor children I’ve been blessed to come alongside in many ways around the world. I began to realize that God gave me my job for various reasons – to help others by making medicines available and accessible, to earn a living, to develop skills I’d need to serve Him and others.  But everything has its season.  When I was younger, career was extremely important – because I was young and unskilled, couldn’t make ends meet, and wanted to do something that would make a positive impact on people.  And I’ve done that.

Mom and I (2009)

Mom and I – 2009

But as much as I’d like to stay in my comfortable position, God has taught me that what was obedience in one phase of my life can be disobedience in another. My world at work has changed over the last 32 years, and so has my life outside of work.  My mother has gotten older.  The needs of my family and friends have changed. Just because God put me at my company 27 years ago doesn’t mean God meant for me to stay there forever.  We grow and move on – the only question is when. God has impressed upon me that I need to serve others in ways I can no longer do while working full time.   It’s time for my “employment phase” to come to an end, but that doesn’t mean God is done with me yet.

2.  Life is short

For most of my life, I was looking ahead to what I’d become.  No more.  Now as I look around I’m unable to escape the reality that life is short.  That was indelibly etched on my heart the day my father died.  Friends and colleagues at work have died.  As much as I’d like to say “I’ll just work 5 more years,” I’ve come to realize I may end up regretting that choice.  Because for some, there may not be 5 more years.

As I’ve learned in my career, timing can be everything.  Opportunities pass you by.  God has a plan for me – and His prompting has been clear that now is the time for the next part of His plan to start.  Life is short – I need to get moving before I find the opportunity has passed me by.

3. There’s rarely a “good” time to leave your job

For quite a while I’ve been telling myself this isn’t a good time to leave work.  There’s been massive change for several years, and it would be great to reach a point of stability and then leave.  But it’s clear this rate of change is the “new normal,”  and there will never be a GOOD time to leave.  With enough advance notice, plans can be put in place to smooth the transition.  We’ve done that. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll hear someday my team has done even better than if I’d stayed.  I believe I will!

4.  If someone in my shoes asked my advice, in a heart beat – I’d tell them to go.

One day, after I’d rehashed the pros and cons of leaving for the thousandth time, I asked myself what I’d do if one of my people asked my advice on how to handle the very same situation.   And immediately I knew I’d say “There’s no doubt – you should leave.”  I’d be disappointed to see them go, but I wouldn’t dream of holding them back. And with that, it was settled. I knew what I had to do.

And so……

I still want to make a difference.  But going forward, I’ll be doing that in a different way.  I’m not entirely sure what my life in the next few years is going to look like.  But God does, and that’s all that matters. What about you?  Do you think I’m crazy for doing this?  Have you ever made a major life change – or are you contemplating one?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

I Met God at the Philadelphia Zoo

I’ve been away from the blog for a bit….there are some things in my life I’m not ready to blog about…yet.  But don’t worry – all things will become clear very soon!

In the meantime, Hubbie and I had a chance to go to the Philadelphia Zoo.  We hadn’t been there in about 10 years, so we figured it was time.  The weather was spectacular and it seemed like a wonderful time to wander in a beautiful setting and enjoy some time together.   Just the two of us.  And thousands of other people.  And some animals.

You may remember I have a new camera I’m trying to learn to use, and the zoo seemed a great place to experiment with it.  So please humor me as I show you a few of my favorite pics from the day.  Like this one:

tortoise 1

Tortoise Close Up!

Now here’s a face only a mother could love – a mother tortoise, that is. Somehow, when you get up close, you see more of the personality and less of “just a slow lumbering animal.”

We learned a group of tortoises is called a “CREEP.”  How appropriate!  Well, the zoo has a nice area where the tortoises roam free and do whatever their tortoise hearts desire – swim in the pond, creep across the yard,  eat, you name it.

zoo tortoise2

Tortoise Licking up a Leaf

Did you ever wonder how a tortoise eats?  I mean have you really studied it?  We watched the tortoises ripping up grass, but I never thought about how they pick up the small bits of grass since they don’t have lips like ours.  And then we say this guy…. sticking out his tongue to pick a leaf out of the mulch.  Who new???

zoo giraffe5


Then it was on to the “tower” of giraffes – always a favorite of mine.  We stayed a while, watching their leg joints “snap” into place with each step, and then seeing them reach awkwardly down to eat some grass.

zoo giraffe1

Giraffe Stretcchhhhhing for Food

Have you ever seen giraffe eyelashes?  They’re quite remarkable – check out those uppers!

zoo giraffe2

Giraffe Eyelashes

zoo gibbon2

Mother and Baby Gibbon

This little Gibbon baby and his mom were just too cute.  This is the one time he was visible – the rest of the time Mom was swinging on the jungle gym with the baby clinging to her stomach.

zoo monkeys

Do You Know What Kind of Monkey This Is? I Don’t….

I never figured out what kind of monkey these are, but I love their expression! We had quite a time watching this guy who’s aptly named a Silverback Gorilla.   He watched us for a while, all macho-like, then ripped up a big hunk of sod in his hand and threw it at us as he charged us.

Silverback Gorilla

Silverback Gorilla


He did have a softer more pensive side, though….zoo silverback gorilla5

zoo penguins

Humboldt Penguins

The penguins are another favorite of mine.   Just wait until the zoo keeper hints feeding time is near, and all their heads  immediately snap over in his direction!

You probably don’t want to go to the zoo with me, because I’ll totally ignore you (just ask Hubbie – fortunately he didn’t mind, because I was so enjoying the camera he gave me).

I LOVE being at the zoo and watching the animals – all the different kinds of animals, each so different from the other.  Some very beautiful, some not – but each amazing in its own way.  I get transfixed, and it makes me forget the other things pulling for my attention – all the deadlines, problems and uncertainties in life that can hang like a dark cloud over me.  When I’m at the zoo, I am just amazed at what I see.

flowers As I planted flowers at my house the next day, I thought about how much I enjoyed flowers too.  I’m not particularly good at growing plants, and I rely heavily on Miracle Grow to prevent plant disasters.   I realized I got that same feeling from digging in the dirt, looking at the delicate roots and various flowers of my new baby plants, and then sticking them in their new homes on my deck.

I think I figured out why I love hanging out with animals and flowers. They’re all part of God’s creation, aren’t they?  That’s obvious, but that’s not all.

In Genesis 1,we read about God creating the plants and animals and placing them in the Garden of Eden – for us.  Eden was to be our home, where we would live with God and enjoy His creation.  Can you imagine that?  It blows my mind, really, to think that God would ever want to hang out in person anywhere with me – ME. But that’s what the Bible tells us.  God made the garden, and He made it all very good –  a beautiful home for us to be with Him. Can  you imagine hanging out with God, learning from Him all the intricacies of all He created, and why He made each one as He did?  (I personally want to know why God made scorpions….)  It’s kind of like having a personal tour of the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo – only on a much grander scale.

Well, you probably know that Adam and Eve messed everything up – for themselves, and for you and me.  They sinned, and that was the end of living with God in the garden.

And today, society tells us God is dead, God started things going and then left it all alone, God doesn’t care, God is angry at us, God just wants to punish us, etc.

But it’s all wrong.

Because when I read the Bible, I see something very different.  I see a God who created a beautiful place for me to be with Him – and that means God WANTS to be with me.  And after Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t leave mankind totally alone in the world with no “tour guide.”  Because God still wants to be with us.  God’s desire to reach out to us didn’t end – it was just complicated by our sin marring the relationship.

And in this broken world, He gave us bits and pieces of His creation – clues as to what He originally intended, places where, if we will just slow down and stop, we can see Him in nature and catch our breath to realize that….yes….God IS there, revealing Himself and His creation to us. It never ended – God still wants to have relationship with us.  And so even though we live in a far from perfect world, God is still there, showing us His creation as He’s done since the beginning, revealing His glory.

And when I see it, I am amazed…..

That explains my zoo trip.  I met God at the Philadelphia zoo that day.  God showed me His creation…and I watched in awe.  And took some photos to help me remember my special time with God!

Well, you may not care for the zoo like I do.

You may not be impressed by my animal photos.

But you know what?  Everyone has their own part of creation that speaks to them.  That makes them forget time, worries and cares.  That makes them stop and go “Wow – God, this is AWESOME.”

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.     – John Calvin

YOU have one of those special places too, where – whether you realize it or not – God is waiting to meet you, to delight in showing you what He has made, and in doing so, telling you about Himself.

Where is your place?  Perhaps for you it’s a waterfall, a field of flowers, the ocean waves, a forest, or a beautiful sunset.

My friend, Murgendra Mehta, meets God in His creation as well, and captures the beauty in wonderful photos (his make mine look like child’s play).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mrugendra taking pictures at a zoo (as soon as he reads this, I’ll probably get a call to tell me he HAS taken pictures at a zoo).  But put him in an area with nature or waterfalls, and he takes tremendous shots – ready reminders of God’s creation when we can’t be in nature ouselves.  Here are some of my favorites – you can click on the photo to link back to his webpage to see which are YOUR favorites.  (If you like, you can also purchase his work on the website).   I LOVE it when God shows me His creation.  The presence of God makes me forget everything else.  Deep inside of me, God has placed a desire to enjoy His beauty and reflect on my Creator.  It’s what He always intended – that I would enjoy the beauty that He made for me.  Too often, I get caught up and miss out on the wonder of God’s creation.  But I’m convinced my world would be much better if I would intentionally make time every day to enjoy creation, where God delights in showing off for me.

The Bible tells us that one day God WILL make all things new – restoring creation to the original beauty He made for us.  And I will be in God’s presence.  It will be perfect – just like God intended it all to be.

Today we just have the preview – a dim view of what God intends.  It can be easy to miss.  I need to stop and look.  But it’s there.

I met God at the Philadelphia Zoo.  How about you – where do you meet with God and marvel in His creation?   What makes you stop….captures your mind….makes you forget all else by God and His wonder?    I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments….