Making All Things New – Alan Chan, Corporate Lawyer
In the next several posts, I’m going to be highlighting the first-hand experiences of four professionals in Denver. Each of them shared at our annual fundraiser and celebration of vocation, entitle “Making All Things New: Finding Our Place in God’s Mission.” We asked them what they sense is broken in their industries, and how they sense God was using them in his plan to ultimately “make all things new.” Alan was a 5280 Fellow in 2019.
In my work as in-house counsel for a large technology firm, I see the brokenness of business culture every day. Working a publicly-traded Fortune 500 company means the pressure to produce wealth and a significant return on investment drives every aspect of our business operations.
Our corporation is beholden to our sales numbers and the expectations of external shareholders. The consequences of missing one quarter’s expected returns can be far-reaching and powerful. As a result, short-term thinking keeps us from seeing the long-term impact of our actions. People, processes, and corporate culture fall by the wayside in pursuit of quarterly goals.
This has a dramatic effect on employees’ lives, especially our frontline sales people, who may feel they are only as valuable as their ability to grow the business. They live with the tension that if they don’t reach their quotas they’ll be let go.
Because I am a leader in the legal department I don’t control sales practices, but I do shape the dynamic our team creates within the company. We strive not to become a bottleneck when asked to review contracts and show compassion for the real pressures the sales teams face. We manage stress well within our department and show forbearance for those whose work we support. As a leader, I encourage my staff to practice Sabbath and fully use their vacation time, two habits that are unheard of among corporate lawyers.
Participating in the 5280 Fellowship has sharpened my understanding of how faith informs my work and equipped me to steward my leadership as my influence within the company grows. I cannot eliminate the pressures of corporate life, but trust God to make our company a healthier, more humane place. Through my work as a lawyer, Christ is making all things new.
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