Why I’m Quitting Tobacco
Before I go any further with this post, let me just clarify…I am not a smoker. I used to smoke cigarettes back in my high school and college party days but have been smoke-free for almost 8 years now. The “quitting tobacco” thing is an ode to one of my favorite TV characters Don Draper from the show Mad Men. I’ll elaborate on what this represents in the next paragraph and how it applies to my situation after that (for those of you who know what is going on with me currently, this blog has some catching up to do with my real life and was written a few months ago fyi.)
Mad Men is about an advertising firm in the 1960’s with an office on Madison Avenue in New York. The firm’s biggest account is a tobacco company called Lucky Strike. After several decades of doing business together, Lucky Strike decides to consolidate their business by moving to a bigger agency that they feel can better handle all of their needs. It’s at this point that Don writes an article published in the New York Times entitled “Why I’m Quitting Tobacco”. It has a “she didn’t dump me, I dumped her” type of feel to it, but it was intended to be an ad for the agency and change the conversation about them in a time when many were questioning if they would still be in business. You can view a short clip of the scene here:
So, as you can see, this article wasn’t about quitting smoking, it was about transitioning his career from depending on the tobacco industry. In my case, I’m transitioning my career from depending on “Corporate America” so to speak. I was let go from my job as sales manager at an IT consulting company last November. I’ve been in sales for almost 13 years now and felt that I was steadily building my career in an industry that would be both enjoyable and lucrative. I have worked for several good companies and with a lot of good people. I’ve sold products for big companies and small companies. Very high ticket items and high volume products. In-person, over the phone, you name it, I’ve sold it.
I could have found another similar job very easily since the experience I have with the particular software this company sold was very rare and recruiters were consistently contacting me about other opportunities. However, I didn’t feel any peace about applying for other similar jobs and wanted to take advantage of this time to reassess my situation.
At this point, I’m not just looking for another job. I want to be involved with something that I’m passionate about. Something that is more in line with my purpose in life. Something that really makes a difference in other people’s lives as well. Rather than building corporate America by default, I want to deliberately let God guide my next steps and make the way for me, wherever that may be.
In my opinion, working a regular job and building the kingdom of God don’t have to be exclusive. Just because you are working a secular job, does not mean God can’t use you to be building His kingdom at the same time. I’m just saying for me, I think it’s time to really time to get with God and see what He has for me rather than just trying to find a way to pay my bills and worry about God later, which if I’m being honest, was the case for me in the past.
My situation is rare in that at my age I’m still not married and have no kids, so I can afford to take some time in making a decision about the next steps in my career. But just like Don, one of my major accounts decided to go in a different direction. Just like Don, I feel my best work is ahead of me. And just like Don I feel that I need to quit depending on a major account to take care of me. I’m reminded of the scriptures in Matthew Chapter 6 where Jesus talks about how God cares for us:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matt. 6:25-34 (NIV).
It’s verses like these that give me peace during a time like this. So it’s with these in mind that I’m quitting taking on the mentality that I need to care for myself. I’m not going to lie, it is a bit scary. I’m not sure where this will take me but I do know that God will be with me through it all and that is all I need to know. If you’re interested in following my story further, I will be posting Thursday evenings. They will not be focused solely on my situation, but updates will be provided along the way. You can also follow me on my social media pages at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thanks for stopping by.