Dealing with Layoffs, 4

January 21, 2009

The job layoffs that are occurring in every part of the world including our country has sent people reeling in confusion and depression. Suddenly people wake up and realize that a major part of their life is gone. The work part. The feeling is terrible.

I’ve always believed that man is created in the image and likeness of God and that God Himself is a Worker. Remove work from a person and it leaves him with an emptiness he can’t explain. It’s not just the salary, it’s the worth and value of being useful and productive.

Now counter this with the many who are dissatisfied with their jobs, who long for the things they do not have but failed to enjoy the benefits of the things they do have. Who feel that work is a curse and an interruption of weekends. And then you’ll see the irony of life.

Man is always a discontented creature. And he never learns to appreciate something unless that very thing is taken away from him. This is why the happy man is the contented man. He knows that if he cannot have the best of everything, then he makes the best of everything he has.

But the economic challenges are upon us. There are conditions beyond our control. Some of the most efficient and hard working people I know are out of jobs. And if you’re caught in a situation like this, what do you do?

Here are the practical principles:


Get over with!

Take time to mourn the loss of your job, as you would any other loss. Don’t fight it. Admit that this hurts. This is where I strongly refute the “positive thinking people” who think that they can positively think their way out of a difficult situation.

At this stage, all those foolish talks about “visualization, positive thinking, hyper-faith and principles on attracting wealth and good things would sound satirical and tyrannical.” The Scriptures say that there is a time for joy and a time for mourning. This is a time for mourning. So go through the process. The degree to which you effectively work through the shock will determine how quickly you can get back on your feet and mount a successful job search.

However, be careful that in your moments of grief, you let your imagination run wild. Do not let this event in your life cloud you to what you still can achieve. Worry clouds the mind. You won’t be able to think straight. Worrying doesn’t add another day to your life and it leads to further complications.

Larry Roberts was right. He said that worry is the misuse of imagination. Do not succumb to this. You’ve worked hard for the company, a situation has arisen and you have no control over it. You lose your job – you’ll miss it, you’ll miss your friends, certain perks and privileges will be taken from you so what else?

Grieve. But not for too long.

Bitterness and Resentment are the 2 most dangerous things that can happen to you at this point. Bitterness is inflicting harm on others while resentment is inflicting harm on the self. Bitterness is poison and resentment is cancer and they are both perilous.

If a rattlesnake is cornered, it can become so frenzied that it will accidentally bite itself with its deadly fangs. In the same way, when a person harbors hatred and resentment in his heart, he is often hurt by the poison of his own malice. He thinks he is injuring his enemies by displaying his wrath, but the real harm is inflicted deep within his own soul.

Here’s what the authorities have to say:

Dr. William Gaylin, in his book Feelings: Our Vital Signs, pointed out that “resentment often arises when we believe we aren’t getting what is due us from another person. We feel unfairly cheated or betrayed. And brooding leads to all kinds of trouble.”

In her book Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion, Carol Tavris defined resentment as “readiness to feel anger, a rehearsal for anger that doesn’t flower. And the saddest part of it is that we all tend to want to blame another person for the resentment we feel, instead of larger, pervasive issues like stress related to unemployment.”

Grief is part of life. You lost your job therefore mourn for your loss. But get it over with so that you can move on to the next step which is what we will be discussing tomorrow. A self-analysis as to which emotional stage you are in so you can pass it through time.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Lorin L. Bradbury

    The quotes above by Gaylin and Tavris are great quotes. I purchased both books and have been unable to find the quotes in the books. Am I overlooking the quotes when reading the books, or are the citations above in error. Please inform me as to the pages on which the quotes can be found in the respective books. They are great quotes.


  2. Lorin L. Bradbury

    I just contacted Dr. Carol Tavris and the quote above attributed to her is not hers. Good quote though. I would like to find the original author of the quote.

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