When the Job is Gone
…by Beverly Graham
Recent events reminded me of a milestone in my career and my life. It was over ten years ago. I don’t remember the words that were used. Truthfully, two hours later I didn’t remember them. I was in shock, though the signs had been there. The company where I worked for 28 years had been acquired, resulting in restructuring, reorganizing, downsizing, lay-offs…and I was one of many who were impacted.
As Christians we are told not to be defined by our job; but many of us are identified with our job. Mine was ending. My supervisor called one morning and gave me the news. I had 60 days to find another position within the company. After the first 30 days, I could no longer report to my office.
For the first time in 28 years, I had no place to “go” during the week. I had an “identity-crisis”. My experience may not be exactly what you or others have known. But I have no doubt that the emotions I felt are very similar to those of anyone who has lost a job. And there were many. Hurt, anger, denial, grief, depression, self-doubt, helplessness, guilt, shame.
Show me the way…for you work for my good.
Yet God used this event to teach me. “I am your security.” No person, and certainly no job, can provide real, lasting security. People let us down. Companies look to the bottom line. God alone can provide what we really need. 1
“I am in control.” We say that God is in control but do we really believe it? Every day was an opportunity for me to relinquish my perceived control and surrender to God’s control. Looking back at how God orchestrated my job search, I know there is no way that I could have managed it on my own. He went before me, opening some doors and closing others, allowing me to see Him at work for my good. 2
“Encourage others.” In all those years with my former company, I had been on the other side…watching co-workers leave as our company reorganized, re-engineered, laid-off, down-sized, right-sized, etc. Some found jobs within our field, some changed careers, and some retired.
Encourage one another and build each other up. 3
I never knew what to say and often felt guilty that I still had a job. Now I know how to show compassion to those experiencing job loss. It doesn’t matter as much what we say as simply acknowledging what the person is going through. I understand the isolation when co-workers not impacted by a lay-off avoid those who are. I know the importance of having someone to talk with, honestly and openly.
Unemployment has dropped over the last 10 years, but chances are that you or someone you know has lost a job. The impact can be devastating to individuals and families alike.
Reach out…and not just once. Be the safe place for someone to come and talk. Share information about job opportunities. Ask what you can do to help, or better yet, think of something on your own. Offer to serve as a reference or write letters of recommendation. If you are a co-worker, express your gratitude for the opportunity to have worked with this person.
Your words will encourage them…”as long as it is called Today.”
Beverly Graham , a former engineer and planner in the telecommunications industry, is Ciloa’s Chief Financial Officer, member of the Board of Directors, and person primarily responsible for keeping her husband, Chuck, in line. Beverly and Chuck have 5 children, 2 adorable grandchildren, and live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA.
1. Read Psalm 143:8-12.
2. Read Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11.
3. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
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First Photo: Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images