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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
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.

Comments (12)

  • I will be praying for those who have recently lost jobs and are still looking for new employment and direction. I would also like to share that my greatest time of growth has always come during what other see as my darkest hours. My job loss is bringing me closer to God, which is what He wants and I need. It has also dumped me completely into my purpose; the little pushes only knudged me to drag along one half-step at a time. The comfort a steady paycheck kept me from fully surrendering to Him. Only His grace recognized my need for confirmation, and allowed my stubborness a peep into the good works He can do when I obey Him and use my little to help others walk into their own calling. I should have listened before He had to shout at me; but I am thankful that this lesson is not as painful as some others that I’ve had. I’m rambling, but I am so excited about what God is doing for me just weeks after losing my job.

    “Jobs are jobs.” I like that. It’s not me, the loss of my health or my family. I’m praising Him right now for the lessons and the blessings. Thanks, Seth for another timely and great post.

  • Thanks for posting this. My job will end on July 28th. The contract is not being renewed. It lasted about 9 months and the salary has been terrible. Despite the very low hourly rate, I stayed there because I had hoped to come on permanent with them; that was the original plan.

    Before being there, I got fired last year in February. Lost health benefits and had just been diagnosed with epilepsy and anxiety. It’s been many months of challenges; wondering if God is really helping me, wondering if I will lose the house, wondering how I will pay bills, wondering when I will get hired again.

    So, I meditate on the scriptures. Proverbs 3:19-22 helps a lot and so does Psalm 121. The words of Jesus “Let not your heart b troubled” and his words on worry in Matt. 6. But then doubt comes back because the reality of my situation has not changed and I need it to change. I need the money and I want to earn it. And then I wonder when will this end. Lord, when?

  • In this spot again too, job is turning into part time in a few weeks. It has been a struggle to keep believing truth…why is it so much easier to believe lies? But that has been key, a training and disciplining of my mind to believe what God says and keep trusting that I will be much happier on the other end of knowing what is next. Reminding myself that I still have incredible purpose, value, mission and calling is good too – none of that has changed.

    My friend described her job recently has an abusive relationship that she knows she should leave but it is so much easier to stay. Some of us can be thankful in the end for jobs ending because it really does force us to find a better place that God has for us.

    thanks for sharing seth. it is a hard place to be and we all need encouraging in the waiting.

  • Wow. Had no idea you were unemployed — with no health insurance — as Leah was on the way.

    Talk about tough times.

    Thankful, however, that the iron of those horrid days sharpened you into the man we admire.

    May the Lord be gracious to those still in the wilderness of unemployment.

    Blessings to you, Seth, and to those you comfort.

  • In the same boat as everyone else. It’s not a matter of “why God?” as much as it is “when God?”. When will u deliver me? Anyhoo, thanks for the thoughts Seth. Its comforting to know I’m not alone. God bless.

  • Thanks Seth for posting this. For me, I quit my job back in 2008 to prepare to go on the WR the beginning of the following year. And though I haven’t found a job since coming home 1.5 years ago, I do not regret going. I just have struggled with being home for so long with no job, no money and not being able to do a lot of things or go a lot of places.

    But I still am blessed. I have siblings who have taken me in and have also helped me with a lot of other things along the way. Though, it’s tough to be in this desert place, I know God is preparing me for greater things.

  • So relevant!

    My 22-month-running contract with Microsoft ended June 30th and although it was very comforting to have a regular paycheck, my job wasn’t my world. I was given a month’s notice, so I sent out a ton of resumes, networked and reconnected with friends, and have gone on job interviews. I need a job.

    No matter how difficult it is to motivate myself to search the online career sites & fill out job applications or to call my recruiters asking for updates, I know that for every ending there is a new beginning.

    God has flung the door open wide. He has used me over the years in a variety of roles and my skillset is as broad as it is random. I’m ready and excited to see where He’s going to use me next! and, my prayer is that He needs me somewhere immediately ;D

  • My heart goes out to those of you who can relate to this because of your current situation. Thanks for your comments. We need to encourage one another like that.

  • Amen!
    “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” Proverbs 13:7

    It’s just how one adapts to the changes around them…..bcuz “Therefore do not worry, saying,’What shall we eat? or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about oomorrow, for tomorrow will worry abouot its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:31-34

  • ..In the bible it says, Cast your cares and burdens unto him..also its says,in jeremiah 29:11-14 ‘For i know the plans i have for you says the Lord,i have plans to prosper you,not to harm you,i have plans to give you a future filled with hope….’
    doubt may fill our minds but we need to continuosly seek God,believe that a better day is coming,have faith and be hopeful,Praise him for every situation – All things work together for good.
    i recently resigned from my job because of a situation and to be honest it was so devastating.But i praise God because i know it was for a reason,a good reason.i know he will never let go.
    Thank you for your comments,they give me so much hope.I will keep praising HIM in this storm.
    I pray that you all be filled with the annointing of ease..All is well.

  • ..In the bible it says, Cast your cares and burdens unto him..also its says,in jeremiah 29:11-14 ‘For i know the plans i have for you says the Lord,i have plans to prosper you,not to harm you,i have plans to give you a future filled with hope….’
    doubt may fill our minds but we need to continuosly seek God,believe that a better day is coming,have faith and be hopeful,Praise him for every situation – All things work together for good.
    i recently resigned from my job because of a situation and to be honest it was so devastating.But i praise God because i know it was for a reason,a good reason.He is holding my hand and walking with me,i know he will never let go.
    Thank you for your comments,they give me so much hope.I will keep praising HIM in this storm.
    I pray that you all be filled with the annointing of ease..All is well.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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