Jacobs Engineering

Jeff Goldfarb served at Jacobs Engineering in Finance Mergers and Acquisitions for over 23 years. He shares the importance of bringing faith with us wherever we go, including the workplace.

Christ Wants to be Part of Everything, Even the Workplace

Jeff Goldfarb: Christ wants in the workplace too. So he wants to be part of everything. You don't just do your church stuff and your not-for-profit stuff and this, he wants in on all things. Well, I think it's important because it's part of you, right? And so you need to be yourself at work. You need to be yourself wherever you are. If part of you is a Christian and a believer in Christ, you bring that wherever you go. You don't shut it at the door before you go into the office. It's not only for church, it's when you're in the community meeting your neighbors, walking the dog. My wife has a phrase called her mail route, and if you think of a mailman going down the street, everybody you touch in a day is an opportunity to engage for Christ. And so we all have our routes. Sometimes it's flying on airplane and talking to the flight attendant. Sometimes it's the coffee, the person at the coffee shop, but we all have that route.

So I think you can't at work, it's super important because ultimately, especially somebody like me in the job that I have, we're there a lot half our day. And so it needs to be part of that too.

Jacobs engineering, in fact, we're changing the name from Jacobs Engineering to Jacobs Solutions, but it was a big engineering construction company. When I say big right now, there are probably over like 55,000 employees, fortune 250 public type company all around the world. One is we do infrastructure, so highways, roads, bridges, transit systems, airports, things like that. And then the other is called critical mission services, and that's where we serve the government. So we do services for the government where we'll take pieces of the government and run it, parts of the intelligence communities, NASA, cybersecurity, things like that.

How Do I Share My Faith in the Workplace?

And so it's like a 13 billion company doing those primary things. So how do I share my faith in the workplace? That was really an important question to me. Like what does this faith matter if it's not about in the workplace too? And I remember there's this, I think Casting Crowns song called Between the Altar and the Door, and it talked about how everything seems great when you're at the altar and you're praying in church on Sunday, but then by the time you get to the door and you leave the door, what am I doing when I leave the church? In my job, I was the person responsible for how many people we were going to go lay off and who was going to get laid off. And how I brought Christ into that for the first time maybe in my life, I was real serious about prayer.

Every morning when you're got tons of work to do, my normal instinct would be to go in at six in the morning and no, I was spending time with God. And my initial thought was, Christ doesn't want to get involved in layoffs and firing people and things like that. But then I'm like, wait a minute. He wants to get he in on all things and this is part of what we need to do in business. And so he wants in on this process too.

And you could see God had showed up in the process. What I did for work is I do mergers and acquisitions, so I'm negotiating on the other side, across the table with somebody. And if I have Christ on my side and that person doesn't, then I should be doing better. But ultimately I learned to, one of the keys, why I think I became good at that job is that I ultimately realized it wasn't about winning and losing that the person on the other side of the table from me, Christ loved him just as much as he loved me. He may not realize that, but that's true. And so it really changed everything in the way I went about negotiating. So it was more about how I did it rather than the results.

I wouldn't say I took my faith. I'd say I took myself. I'm definitely not out there preaching the, oh, this scripture says this and you need to believe that and all that. But I believe that you take yourself and then if you take yourself and this is part of yourself and you don't edit that part of yourself out when you're having conversations with people and you're genuine, then I think that's sort of the way I take my faith. It's by taking me, I wouldn't say it's never really intimidating. It's interesting. One of the things in Jacobs, one of our taglines if you will, is you need to be able to bring your whole self to work. Okay? Originally started with our prism network of about L-G-B-T-Q and people should be able to bring their whole selves to work. But I sort of talked to leadership and said, look, Christians need to be able to bring their whole selves to work too.

And I think that Christianity is the most inclusive. We're really focused on inclusion and diversity for all the right reasons. But Christianity is the most inclusive or is a very inclusive religion. And it's all about inclusivity because we're supposed to love everyone. And I think sharing your faith really starts with A, doing really good work. B, working hard, C, having working, not working on, but having good relationships with people. And then once you do all those, then it's easy. It's easier to speak up about things and share things.

This September, the company offered an early retirement program to everybody over a certain age and certain level, and it really shocked us that we ended up deciding to take it. But through a whole series of things, actually really during this COVID period, it really led us the decision to make it. And certainly a lot of that is because of how God is weaving his way through our lives.

During COVID, I've had the best time with God every morning of my entire life. So a lot of what's been happening, I can actually seek more clearly because I've been spending this time with God.

Finding Your Purpose in Christ

Certainly I've benefited from some strong men's groups at church, and then certainly I've benefited from this operation Timothy program that CBMC, Christian Businessmen's Connection does. And it really made a lot of the difference. That's where I had the aha moment about the Great Commission and having a purpose in my life. Operation Timothy requires you to, not requires, but you do a purpose statement as part of Operation Timothy. So I said, okay, well, I'm transitioning from this job to whatever. I'm going to go really look at my purpose statement and see how I need to update it. Well, here's the good news. I didn't need to update it at all.

So my purpose statement wasn't to be a great M&A guy at Jacobs or to do this at Jacobs or get promoted. My purpose statement was about ministry and discipleship and family and things like that. So now I'm just fulfilling my purpose in a different way. The way I go about fulfilling my purpose will be different, but my purpose didn't change, and I think that's huge. One pastor somewhere is that Christians never retire. And so I don't feel like I'm retiring. I feel like I'm just trying to figure out what I'm going to do next and how to serve God in that process. The first time ever, I feel like I don't know what the plan is and I'm good with that. The typical type A anal me would be like, God, I have 27 steps and this and that, and I'm good with that.

And I've went to church for years and you hear people say, I'm excited to see what God has in store for me. And genuinely, I'd be like, yeah, right. And I'm genuinely excited to see what God has in store for me, the time I've been spending on that couch since March 12th. I've seen how he's been weaving his way through me and my family over these months, but also in the past. And I have to say I'm genuinely excited. I'm one of those guys that I used to sort of make fun of that's up there saying, I'm genuinely excited to see what God has in store for me, and I don't know what it is.

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