In January 2013, my seizure disorder spiraled out of control. I had three significant seizures most days, and it took my brain over two hours after each seizure to be back to full strength.
I need full brain power to do my job, so I was losing at least half of each day in recovery.
I knew I was struggling professionally, but I didn’t realize how poorly I was performing. Until I talked with Stuart (not his real name).
I called to talk to him about something else, and then we discussed my health. He asked when I thought my seizures would decrease. When he could expect the ‘old Chris’ again.
I told him it would be a month until my medication was even potentially therapeutic. That’s when he shook my confidence.
Chris, you should consider short term disability if it’s going to be a month. You should take care of Chris and not worry about your job right now. Plus, it’s hard for project managers to depend on you in your current health. That’s not a good place for you to be.
I didn’t know what to say. For the first time in over a decade, I was told I was in trouble professionally. I was a problem child, not meeting expectations for my managers. I wasn’t angry, just…stunned.
My health progressively declined, and I did end up on short-term disability while I figured out what was happening with my seizure disorder. As I move forward to a new company next week, I find a profound sense of gratitude blossoming in my heart.
Not every manager would care enough to give it to me straight. Many would just write me up for my poor performance.
Looking back on this, Stuart was not acting under compulsion due to government or company regulations. He was legitimately concerned for my health. Not every employer cares – Stuart cared.
Thank you Lord, for placing me in a company for nearly five years where my managers actually gave a hoot.
Over the past several months, I slowly realized something else. It is like I have been making deposits into a bank that holds Trust, not money.
Each time I met or exceeded expectations, a Trust deposit was made. Each time I didn’t a Trust withdrawal was made. A Trust balance has been accruing and gaining interest for years, because I have rarely dropped the ball.
This balance of Trust is part of what produced care. Stuart knows I am not “acting like myself,” because he knows what to expect from me. He knows the balance in my Trust account with him.
Good work, completed on time, with a positive attitude is the norm. He had seen none of that for the three months leading up to my time off for short term disability. Each time I have not delivered, a withdrawal was made from my Trust account. Only I didn’t notice.
My conversation with him could be reframed in this way.
Chris, your Trust account is almost overdrawn. How can I help? I don’t want to close the account. You have good credit here. Let’s figure out a way to make this right.
Thank you Lord, for opening my eyes before my Trust account went negative.
Do you have any Trust accounts you need to put some deposits in today?
You know, I’ve never thought of trust like a bank, but now that you mention it, I can see all kinds of parallels. I’m wondering about applying this to my marriage now. Hmm . . . something to ponder.
Thanks Chris. You always give me some kind of nugget to mull over and think on. I appreciate you,
You have touched my heart deeply with your honest look at yourself and the way Stuart handled the situation. Many people would have read his intentions very differently when all he wanted was to show real and deep concern. I am so thankful that your account wasn’t closed, but actually deposited into.
You are so right. I could have seen his interaction with me in a very different light. Maybe this is another Trust account at work. You see, he had been interested in what was happening with my family and my health for some time now. I knew it was always about more than “getting stuff done” with Stuart.
Katie, this idea came from a concept I heard years ago from Gary Smalley. He passed around a Stradivarius violin to the crowd, while explaining the violin was worth more than a million dollars. Everyone in the crowd was gasping and treating the instrument with total care and concern. Then he dropped the bomb — “The way you are acting with the Stradivarius. That…is honor. That is how you should treat everyone you love.”
Thank you so much for the compliment.
That’s amazing Chris. Thanks for sharing this with us. Challenged and encouraged.
James, I really appreciate the kind words; and I am glad you are challenged. 🙂
What a heartwarming story! It’s wonderful to think that your honesty, hard work and integrity were being ‘deposited’ into a ‘Trust’ account (love that idea) by your boss and became redeemable at just the right time.
This makes me wonder how much we are depositing into other people’s trust accounts as we live out our Christian faith on a daily basis. And isn’t it marvellous that God has already placed all we need into His? We’ve already been given access to His trust account by placing our faith in Christ.
A great post, Chris, with many a moral between the lines. Thank you! Blessings 🙂 x
Joy, that’s a very interesting thought indeed. How much trust are we putting into others’ accounts by the way we live our lives? Ouch — not so sure I want to answer that question 🙂
Umm… me neither, truth be told. Probably best we don’t know, in some ways! It’s just worth bearing in mind in terms of living as ambassadors for Christ as we bear His image to the world.
This is amazing, Chris. Stuart sounds like the kind of person I would want to work for. I love the analogy of a trust account. Blessings!
I wish you all the best in your recovery. So glad to hear you have a good relation with “Stuart”
Lotta, thanks for the well wishes. I am about to start a new job next week, so we will see if I have a new “Stuart” very soon. Color me nervous
One of the best bosses I have ever had
I really like this analogy, Chris. I am wading through the waters of training my son to be a man, and this concept of a trust bank will be very helpful. Wonderful insight. And good luck to you as you move on with a new company soon. 🙂
Oooh, those are wild seas there…raising boys. I have used this concept with my boys though, and it really connects with them