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Losing your job

The times that I’ve lost my job have been traumatic. When I was 24, my boss told me they didn’t need me. Unemployment was cruel. Getting the check at the unemployment office felt degrading.   You waited along with everyone else and then there was that check that was maybe enough to buy gr…
By Seth Barnes
The times that I’ve lost my job have been traumatic. When I was 24, my boss told me they didn’t need me. Unemployment was cruel. Getting the check at the unemployment office felt degrading.
 
You waited along with everyone else and then there was that check that was maybe enough to buy groceries. You took the part-time jobs that showed up and you schemed about how to get out of the hole you were in.
 
When I was 29, another boss called me into his office and told me “We need to make a change.” Karen was pregnant with Leah – our fifth child. Heart in my throat, I asked for another chance – it felt sudden, so out of the blue. I’d poured so much into that job. I had no backup plans. But it was a done deal.
 
It felt like a kind of death. I had given up a lot for that job. We didn’t have health insurance. We had mortgage payments. It was a dark night of the soul. I talked to God a lot.
 
A few months later it was in that bleak place in life that I started AIM. Slowly, hope was resurrected. And I vowed never to treat others as I had been treated. That has not always been an easy vow to fulfill, but I work at it. I can see how God used that time in my life to build compassion and a deep yearning to lead well.
 
I was reminded this morning of just how harsh it can feel to lose your job when I read my friend Robert’s post on his recent firing.

Went to work.  Went pretty well.

Sold one of the things that my bosses pushed us to sell.  The customer
was so appreciative of my service that he shook my hand and heartily
thanked me.

Just then my boss appeared at my side. 
Wanted to chat. 
Upstairs. 
In the office.

Yup.

Got fired.

Bang.

**

I know.  You’re not surprised, any more than I am/was.

Was gonna b— at/with them, but it was a done deal.
Why beg people you don’t respect to regain what you don’t want?

I have my opinion about the final straw.  They have theirs. 
But it doesn’t matter.

I could have quit whenever I wanted to.
They could have fired me whenever they wanted to.

I would have left if I had a better opportunity.
They simply beat me to the punch.

No tears.  No regrets.  No fear. 
As the French say, “c’est la guerre” or “such is war.”

[Men who wonder why the French word for “war” is feminine have never been divorced.]

I endured for 40+ months in a hard job in a harsh environment.  The next
day another long-term endurer got fired.  Many of the extant are doomed
… and they know it.  Dreading their call to The Office.

So be it.

Jobs are not Saviors.  Jobs are jobs.
Jobs are not “who we are” or “what we do.”
Jobs are jobs.

I worry about people who are freaked out over losing a particular
position — as compared to the loss of income/benefits.  It’s as if they
have unhealthily blended their identities with a job/title/position or
path to Eden.
The good news is, Robert is seeing God come through for him in some wonderful ways since this happened. It has not been easy. My prayer for those of you who are having to struggle through a hard time in this economy is that you’re able to see God’s goodness in what may feel like a very bleak place.

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