Giving Up Everything with David Dwyer
David Dwyer was one of the most influential book publishers during the Internet revolution. He would go on to be the Head Storyteller at Microsoft for five years. But Dwyer was willing to give everything up to follow the Lord’s prompting to become a missionary. We interviewed Dwyer in 2013 and talked about his career journey and how he approached promotions and raises.
Dwyer shares about his career journey including how he ended up at Microsoft.
“It’s interesting. I never set out with a goal in mind to have X job in so many years, making X amount of dollars. [My wife and I] were thankful for simple provision and walking in the Lord’s will. The scriptures say not to worry about tomorrow, so we didn’t. The Lord really blessed us. I spent almost all my career in publishing. [Handling everything] from Sunday School curriculum, to some of the best-selling books on web technologies. I was the Publisher at New Riders where we published the world’s best-selling books on Photoshop with Scott Kelby, web design with Lynda Weinman, and web usability with Jakob Nielsen. It was really cool being part of the emerging consumer web as we know it today and leading the charge on the publishing of digital photography. I got to hang out with some of the most influential people in these areas and publish their books. More importantly, they are friends to this day. After that run, I spent five years at Microsoft where I was the Chief Storyteller for Windows Marketing. I designed and shaped the consumer Windows story through web properties at Microsoft.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34
Dwyer opens up about how he approached promotions and raises.
“I’ve never had to pursue a position; I’ve always been offered them. Therefore I’m always in a position of choice, ‘Do I want to move up, over or out?’ [Laughing] I’ve never had to sit in a job review where I’ve had to argue for more money, or argue for a new title. I wouldn’t know how to do it. However, there was a time when I did something phenomenal while working for Addison-Wesley. I only received an average raise that year. They said, ‘We can only give you an average raise.’ I thought, well this is the one time of year we talk about these things; I’m not happy about this; and my wife will not be happy about this so I told my boss, ‘Look, I’ll agree to the raise, but I want you to promise me something today.’ She asked, ‘What’s that?’ I said, ‘The day I leave this organization and I resign please do me a favor. Don’t ask me the question. What will it take to keep you here? Just don’t insult me that way.’ She said, ‘Are you planning to leave?!’ I said, ‘No, you’re not hearing what I’m saying. I love what I do and I’m going to continue to do it the way I do it, I’m just saying, don’t insult me when I go to leave here by saying what will it take to keep me here. Because if I go to this extreme to advance the company and its an average raise, what am I supposed to tell you? I would prefer to stay at a place that’s going to reward extraordinary work.’ That’s just the way business is sometimes and I understand that. I just do not like playing games so I wanted to be sure to set my expectations for the future.”
Seek wisdom. If you have to have a tough decision to make or a challenging conversation, seek wisdom from God and others. God has given us people in our life that have had similar experiences to us that we can glean wisdom from. Whether it is how to navigate a conversation with a co-worker or boss at work, deciding what internship to do, or if you should switch careers, pray and ask God for his direction. Sometimes, it is helpful to take a day or weekend away, eliminate distractions and pray.
Don’t worry. Take time this week to reflect on Matthew 6:25-34. Write down the ways God has provided for you this past year including friendships, opportunities, and resources. Pray and ask God specifically with the things that you are worrying about. Think about how you can focus on today and what God is currently calling you to versus worrying about the future and the unknown.
Be willing to go. Whether it is Microsoft or the mission field, be willing and ready to go wherever God calls you. It is important for all of us to view wherever God has placed us as our mission field. This can be the classroom, playground, office or sports team. We don’t have to go overseas or join full-time ministry to be a missionary. God wants us to share Christ with the people that are around us every single day. Think through people in your life that you can share Christ with.
To read out entire interview with David Dwyer, click here.
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