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Push, Pull, and Job Transitions in the Middle of a Pandemic

job transitions

I have friends in church ministry and friends in the marketplace who are in the midst of job transitions in the midst of a pandemic. I also have friends in church ministry and friends in the marketplace that have called me for prayer or counsel on possible transitions in the midst of a pandemic.

The absolute best counsel I have received on transitioning from one role to another comes from Brad Waggoner. Brad was one of my professors in seminary, and later I reported to him as he was Chief Operating Officer at LifeWay. Through those seasons, he was a mentor who I respected a great deal. I still do. According to Brad, whenever you consider a job transition, it is wise to consider “the push” and “the pull.” “The push” are reasons you possibly want out of your current role. It could be you feel stagnant and don’t see opportunities for growth, you want to be in a different industry, or you don’t like the direction of the organization. “The pull” are reasons you are compelled by the new opportunity. Perhaps you have a burden for those people or are very passionate about the mission of the new opportunity. Both “the push” and “the pull” are very real, and often the Lord uses both as you consider a new season. But here is what I have learned from watching friends and colleagues make moves over the last few decades of leading.

  1. Unless there are issues of integrity or ethical concerns, do not leave your job if “the push” is the driving force. You will likely be trading one set of problems and disappointments for another.

2. The “push” from your former role will not sustain you in your new role. You need a strong “pull” to the new role or the newness of the new role will quickly fade. Preachers have often said, God is not only calling you from something, but He is also calling you to something. It is a good word.

Leading and working in the midst of a pandemic has not muted or even muffled the “push” and the “pull” for those considering transitions. Transitions have not stopped. In fact, both the “push” and the “pull” can be stronger in this season. Based on conversations with friends, here is why:

  1. The “push” from current roles is stronger for many because of the frustration surfaced through COVID. Some industries are less stable. Some organizations are poorly led. Some managers are absentee in their leadership. This was the case before the pandemic, will be the case after the pandemic, but is more exaggerated in the midst of it. We are seeing this in many places in the midst of a pandemic: frustration that exists beneath the surface in calm times is often amplified in challenging times.

2. The “pull” to new roles can be stronger too. Some leaders are leading with compelling vision, and some organizations are poised to take advantage of new opportunities. Those opportunities can be a “pull” for potential leaders.

So, what I am suggesting to friends who have asked me for prayer or counsel in this time? Pretty much the same regurgitated counsel from Brad. Be sure you have a “strong pull.” Lots of people are struggling through “pushes” in this crazy time. Be sure you have a “pull!”

This article about job transitions originally appeared here.

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Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, he served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary and has authored or co-authored several books, including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. He is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.