Lessons Along the Career Path - page 1


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From the Fall 2003 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Lessons Along the Career Path

by Robin King
Vice President for Public Affairs, Aluminum Association, Inc. 2002 Fellow

 

everal years ago as communications director for a major, global stock exchange, I was tasked with representing the exchange to the public during dual fraud investigations by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. Over that two-year period the media pointedly portrayed our entire exchange as fraudulent, blurring the distinction between the traders being accused and the corporate employees like me. It brought major challenges on both professional and personal levels, especially the painful accusation of Wall Street fraud at small investors’ expense.
  During this same time frame, personal, small-group, and church studies were bringing increasing conviction in my heart regarding biblical truth. In particular I noticed how Christ wanted people around him to not only appropriate his truths into their lives but to also live the truth out in their day-to-day lives.
  It made me wonder: Was I compromising my integrity as a believer by defending an institution accused of fraud on the one hand and defending Christ’s truth on the other? This led me to look for reasons why God might have placed me in this role at such a troubled time for the market.
  After looking back over my role and job description, I realized that, for the past few years, my primary focus had been to fight for corporate disclosure to investors by companies and trading firms, promoting a practice of delivering truth fully and quickly to the investing marketplace. Where companies and trading firms had failed to be forthright, they had to expend a great deal of effort in order to change their ways to protect future investors and markets in the United States. I could see that, at a minimum, this new emphasis on disclosure by companies and markets to investors—my core responsibility at the exchange—had taken center stage in the investment world. I could see, too, how God had placed me in a role where I could actually help to promote truth in public investing. He had given me an opportunity, not just to believe in absolute truth, but also to help foster a practice of truth-telling in a key sector of our nation’s life.
  As I understood my God-given role more clearly, I gained a greater confidence in the Lord’s work both in and through me, and I developed a peaceful confidence in my employer while in this difficult role. I realized that believers are called to work for open truth, honor, and mutual respect in our workplace, responsibilities, and community relationships, even in small and simple ways.
  When the investigations concluded, new rules and compliance practices now required much more open disclosure than ever for companies and the market. The satisfaction of my work to advance these practices was heightened when, a few years later, Enron, WorldCom, and Imclone were judged very harshly by investors and the public for violating truth and trust.

Reconciliation in Conflict

  Just as God wants us to bring truth to our business dealings, he also calls us to reconciliation with others. As difficult as it is to deal with corporate practices, interpersonal strains can be even more challenging.
  I had been struggling for a long time—for several years, in fact—with a colleague whom I considered to be arrogant, rude, and sinful in his dealings in the workplace. Nothing I tried seemed to improve my relationship with him.
  Then one day, much to my amazement, he mentioned something about his church. I began to look and listen for ways to learn more about his beliefs. Some time later, he again referenced his church, so I asked about it. To my further surprise, I found that he was not only a member but also an elder of an evangelical Christian church. I could hardly believe it: Had his church made a mistake or had I?

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