By Matt Hardwick
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary…” (Matthew 5:23-25)
At last, I had decided the right time had come to turn in my resignation to my employer. I wanted it to be an easy transition for the company, so I had taken all the work, made notes, organized, and prioritized projects. Throughout my tenure, I carried a heavy workload and always refused to compromise my integrity and character. Culturally the company wasn’t in alignment with what was important to me, so I prepared to resign gracefully.
A week into my final two weeks of employment, a colleague informed me that my manager had made a disparaging statement regarding my departure. He had said, “ He just can’t handle the pressure that is inherent with this industry.” The resignation letter that I had written never indicated professional pressure being the issue. In fact, my expressed reason was that I was “disheartened” by the culture.
This immediately got under my skin. After a deep breath, I remembered that I had just read a workday reflection that challenged the reader to consider ”Is there someone you need to stand up to or stand up for?” I knew I needed to get to the bottom of this before this falsehood became my legacy. I asked my colleague if she had heard him correctly and once confirmed, I asked for and gained her approval to confront him.
Ten minutes later my manager showed up at my desk. I took the opportunity to stand up for myself to ask him why he said what he said ? He acted confused so I quoted the statement to jog his memory. He flew off the handle, angrily denying he had said anything and yelled at me to get out to the shop where we could discuss the matter further .
I reluctantly went. He continued to deny the statement until I said, “ I understand if you said something and didn’t mean it.” He then confessed to the statement and said he truly didn’t mean it . After I explained that I didn’t want to leave with any negative footprints, he calmed down. I asked genuinely, “ How do you really feel?”.
He lost it again. This time in tears, he said that he was hurt and felt like he had let me down. He didn’t know how to deal with the fallout of my departure, that it had put a lot of extra stress on him and he could show any signs of weakness or distress to the remaining employees. The last half of the sentence is unclear. I sincerely forgave him on the spot.
Later he called to apologized and reassure me that my transition and theirs would be positively handled moving forward. Mine would be an amicable departure and moreover, he would be honored to write a professional letter of recommendation should I need it.
God wanted me to use the previous CIC reflection as a tool of inspiration on that day and turn something that could have ended in division and anger, to create unity and a stronger friendship.
A week later I received a text on my personal phone from him. It was a screenshot of a group text he sent to the whole department on my last day with the company. In it he publicly honored my work and my character to the glory of God. In closing he had written, “I and others are better people for having worked with you.”