Retrenched! What Now?
What do you do when one day, you get to work and there is an email waiting for you that says “I’m sorry Steve, but we have to let you go.”
Instantly your heart starts to pound, your mouth goes dry, your throat closes up and the room starts spinning. Thoughts of betrayal, shock and disbelief fill your mind.
“How can this happen to me?”, “I thought my job was safe...”, “What about the bond and school fees?” “Where is God in my life!” You sit back in your chair speechless, when suddenly your phone rings - it’s your boss and he wants to speak with you.
the times we live in
When things go wrong in our lives, the first thing we tend to do is to blame God and to doubt our faith. It’s almost as if, all our years of serving God and experiencing His blessings are tossed out the window when the carpet is ‘pulled out’ from under us.
Statistics SA shows that in the first quarter of 2009, companies retrenched 25% of their staff. These figures are huge, considering that supposedly 1 in every 4 people you know will be ‘let go’.
So the question is how do we as anointed, blessed, protected, saved, set-free children of God cope with what is seemingly out of our control? How do we reconcile our faith with our circumstances? I think we need to tackle retrenchment (or any negative situation for that matter) on three levels - spiritual, soulical and physical.
We live in a fallen world, and as believers and members of Christ’s Kingdom, we are enemies of the devil and his evil kingdom. Therefore we must understand that he will try to derail God’s plans for our lives and discourage us in our walk. However, we need not be ignorant or prey to his devices as we have the Spirit of God in us, who through Christ has made us more than conquerors! (Read Rom 8:30-39)
Too many Christians walk around with a defeatist attitude as they don’t realise that Christ has overcome the world and that He lives in us!
However, I must also say that God is Sovereign and that if we belong to Him, we know that the footsteps of the righteous are ordered by God (Psalm 37:23). That means nothing takes God by surprise. He knows the plans that He has for us (Jer 29:11) and He will bring good out of every situation (Rom 8:28).
So in order for us to get through the difficulties of life and particularly retrenchment, we must go back to the Word, hear what God is saying to us in this situation and seek His Will for our next step. Perhaps this is a test of our faith and we need to work through a few things? As long as we open our hearts to God and close our hearts to bitterness, we will get through the test.
For the sake of this discussion, I am going to take the word soulical slightly out of context (bearing in mind that the soul refers to your mind, will and emotions) and use it to illustrate the importance of our mental attitudes. It is a widely accepted concept that ones soul is the unregenerated part of your makeup as a human being - hence why Paul instructs us to renew our minds (Rom 12:1-3) and to take every thought captive under the submission of Christ. (2 Corinth 10:5).
Sometimes when we are faced with an unexpected situation like retrenchment, we may think that it ‘came out of nowhere’. In some instances, this may be so, however we must remember the principle that Galations 6:7-9 teaches: “...A man reaps what he sows...Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
If we are sowing sloppy work, bad attitudes, a misuse of company resources (such as the phone, internet and stationery), then we cannot be surprised when our bosses dismiss our performance. If we are not working as if unto the Lord , we musn’t be surprised. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favouritism.” (Col 3:23-25)
If we are not actively attempting to grow our skills base and our contribution to the company, then we cannot be upset when the pink slip lands on our desk.
Much of what has been discussed under the soulical level, applies to the physical. In other words, there are real (non-spiritual) reasons that may have led to your retrenchment. Some of these are out of your control (eg: the recession, a company liquidating, a slow-down in demand for your product or service or just simply, bad business practice by company management).
There is nothing that you can do about these external factors. Bemoaning the economy or your previous employers will get you nowhere. What you can do though, is “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Prov 3:5-6
Some of the reasons you have been retrenched may be within your control (ie: your performance, attitude or personal decisions). If that is the case, you need to evaluate what you have done wrong, and determine not to fall into the same habits again. Christ has given us every skill, every talent and every opportunity that we will ever need to fulfil our God-given potential and destiny. We need to step up to the plate though and work our talents, improve our skills and seek out opportunities.
A brilliant quote reads: “Most people miss out on opportunity because it shows up at their door in overalls dressed like work.”
If you have been retrenched there are a few practical solutions that you can employ (pardon the pun!) to find new work.
• Don’t be afraid to humble yourself and offer to work for free (for a short period of time) for a company in the same Industry, to prove yourself and hence secure a new job or at least, temporary work.
• Re-evaluate your CV, make sure that it’s up-to-date, impressive and original. Personally deliver it to companies you would like to work at, and follow up consistently!
• Think out the box - try working in another industry (even if it is in a junior position) and gain new skills. Maintaining your pride is not worth being unemployed.
• Speak to friends and family. Use the social networks you have built up over the years to scout around for new opportunities.
• If it is allowed, approach your previous clients/suppliers and see if they have any work for you. They already know you and may be willing to take you on a consultancy basis.
• Place notices up either at your church or your local grocery store. Search websites on the net (like career junction or biz community) that will allow you a free listing and provide a catalogue of jobs. Also check your local newspaper. If you are looking for work, you will find it! Just be creative.
• Chat to your minister or pastors. Ask them to pray with you. They may also allow you to use the church database to advertise your skills - you never know. Just ask!
• Approach people in your church for vacancies. The Body of Christ should be our family, so we should not feel
embarrassed to call on them for help.