When someone is made redundant, it is not only their job that they lose. They are suddenly presented with a big financial problem, of course. But they also lose the structure, the relationships and the purpose that shaped most of their days. People's sense of their own worth can be terribly damaged. Often that has an impact on all their friends and family, because the anxiety and hurt of the trauma cause relationships to become strained. Children and partners can find the new circumstances just as difficult because of the change of atmosphere at home.
If this is describing you, these words are written with sympathy and in the hope that that you will find them sensitive. The Christian Enquiry Agency is able to offer individual conversations by email to those who would like to discuss their thoughts about God or the Christian faith in these circumstances. To contact the agency confidentially, click ‘Find Out More’ below.
If you have been made redundant, there are several things that you need to address:
You need someone to listen to you who will not attempt to change the subject because they are embarrassed by the fact that you are not your usual self. Christians believe that God has put them together in communities (churches) in order for them to find support. Do not attempt the keep your feelings to yourself, but seek friends.
You need to address the new financial circumstances you are in. If you live in the UK, advice about what your entitlements are is available from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (follow the link under ‘Practical suggestion’ below). However, you also need to adjust your spending to fit the new situation, and a first step is to work out without panicking what monthly expenses are necessities and which are luxuries that can be cut.
You need to think about how you are going to get your next job. So ensure your CV is up to date, and that the applications you make for jobs read well and do not have spelling mistakes. Most churches have people in them who have experience of this kind, and it is hoped that asking for help of this kind would receive a positive response. Be prepared to apply many times and do not give up hope.
And also, you need to think who you are. The true you is not simply an employee. Your job was only a small part of you. Christians believe that the way God sees you is not as a worker, but as a person with skills, a person with love to share, a person able to do good in the neighbourhood, a person who creates things that add to the beauty in the world. At this point in your life, all those things can take on their full significance. You may find this to be the occasion when you think about the way you relate to God, because he is absolutely unable to reject you no matter how you feel you have been rejected by others.
The Christian faith is based on death and resurrection. Jesus Christ, whom Christians follow, took that journey. His followers invariably at points in their lives experience the same. Redundancy is the end of a job, but it is only one incident in the ongoing life which God has given you.
Find out your rights, benefits and contact addresses of those who can help you at http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/work_e/work_work_comes_to_an_end_e/work_redundancy_e.htm
What the Bible says about it
An extract from the Bible:
[Jesus said:] ‘I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds ... Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.’
Where to find it:
About these words:
Jesus talked about life as a cycle of death and resurrection. Like a seed, his death would produce life that far surpassed everything that had gone before. Jesus’ followers have always found inspiration in the fact that bad experiences that happen are part of a cycle out of which better things will come. Like Jesus, events that seem deathly will one day be seen to have made life better.
And they said...
Revd Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist:
Faith allows you to hold on. When it's real dark it's faith that will get you through. You can't stop fate or unforeseen, unpredictable circumstance. And fate can't stop faith. So when the [Bible] writer says, 'Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things unseen,' faith is a weapon. Without faith you surrender. You cannot win if you surrender, but with faith all things are possible.
Oscar Wilde, playwright, 1854–1900:
The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc (fired as CEO in 1986 and rehired ten years later), 1955-2011:
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.