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Lessons Learned
The current recession has fueled a barrage of store closings, plant closures, massive layoffs, cutbacks in service and an 8.5 % unemployment rate—the highest in 25 years. To date, 5.1 million jobs have been lost since 2008.

Coupled with these grim statistics, is the apprehension that pervades many sectors of the economy. Workers across the board wonder if their jobs will be here tomorrow. With fear and trepidation, they perform their tasks while waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Losing one’s job, at any age, is a highly traumatic experience.

At 21, I landed a position as a waitress at a trendy café in Sacramento. Serving sandwiches and wine coolers to the lunch crowd was not only fun but filled my pockets with ample change. Two weeks into it, my employer called me aside and said matter-of-factly, “We’re going to have to let you go.” A hard steel vice seemed to grip my throat, as tears welled in my eyes. “But wwwhy?” I stammered. Coolly she replied. “You hold the menu too close to your face when you take the customer’s orders.” Dumbfounded, I stumbled out the door and began looking for another job.

In my 40’s it happened again. Rumor had it that a sizable layoff was looming over the manufacturing plant where I worked. A world wide drop in the price of computer chips had everyone on edge. Anxiety and dread infused the air until that crisp December morning, three weeks before Christmas, when 100 of us received our walking papers.

The last time, I was in my 50’s, handling a position in health care that was extremely complex and demanding. Hurt and dismay engulfed me as I was caught completely off guard by a bad report from my manager. I had been asked to resign but would be allowed to stay on for a couple of months while I looked for other employment. As I tried to respond, the sound that croaked from my throat was not my voice but I had to use it anyway. Numbly, I made my way home. That night I could neither eat, nor sleep.

Valuable Lessons Learned

Through each of these unpleasant scenarios the following valuable lessons have been learned:
  • A termination or layoff doesn’t lessen your value as a person one iota. You are still cherished and precious in God’s sight. The Lord created you and sent His son to die for you. You are very special to God.
  • Always keep your resume updated and at the ready—just in case. 
  • Keep your debts to a bare minimum and regularly stash money into an emergency fund. By doing this you can live on unemployment insurance, should you need to. 
  • Focus on doing your best. Don’t get derailed by other people’s opinions of you, right or wrong. Excel at your work and others will be forced to take notice, sooner or later. 
  • Don’t backbite or gossip about your boss, or any other workers, for that matter. Even if you are being misaligned, rise above it! Let your focus be on doing the best you can possibly do.
  • Allow God to vindicate you. Your excellent work will become obvious over time. Your boss will not be able to ignore it.
Surprisingly, my last termination was completely reversed. My manager actually came to me and apologized. She admitted she was wrong and had misjudged me. She praised my work and asked me to stay on.

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By Kathy A Lewis. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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