Job and Job Loss
Have you ever been confused about what you are meant to be doing? During our formative years our psychosocial environment, education and personal choices shape our individuation process. Think about how long it takes to become your own person, the years of school and many attempts to find the right job, the right partner and the right location. If motivated and positive about our future, “what do you want to be….” can be a positive experience. But often, becoming our own person is not the easy access ramp to a successful career and happy life especially not in today’s job market. What about when you lose your job? I arrived slowly to the concept of vocation and to the discovery that work is intimately related to my happiness and contentment. Everything changes when you lose your job. Al my ideas about vocation fly out the window when I do not have a job. I know vocation does not come from a voice “out there” not even when it is a job offer. It comes from a voice “within” calling to fulfill my original mission given by God. From our earliest childhood clues appear about what God calls us to be. A sure sign for what we are meant to do is the joy we feel doing it. Not having a job crates a huge gap in the lives of people who love their job. Some career changes may not be our choice. A lay off, pink slip, reduction in hours and wages may test their coping skills.
Losing a job for men and women who love being useful and who love to serve can be particularly difficult. Losing a job may bring on Job Loss Grief
The five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance, or getting on with your life associated with death are analogous to the stages experienced by people who lost their jobs and cannot re-employ quickly. Just as with other types of grief, a person with job-loss grief can make choices to progress into a new stage of life, though life may never be the same or the individual can regress and stagnate in despair and anger. The healthy and productive way to progress always involves making life affirming choices. Finding a support group, processing emotions, affirming self by letting go of guilt, renewing relationships and family ties, deepening spirituality are all part of a new way of being. Like the phoenix rising out of the ashes, a person is born anew, a new love ignited.
Of the 8 Srategies for Coping with Job Loss, I found journaling, and volunteering helpful. For me, volunteering was a way to remain true to my love for serving. In the in-between time, I continue my spiritual practices and keep connections with friends and family.
I completed training to be crisis hot line counselor at EMERGE the Center Against Domestic Abuse. I joined an enthusiastic dedicated group of people, who create opportunities for change in the lives of people experiencing abuse.
Attempting to live by the reality of my own nature without denying my limits or potentials is rigorous soul work. I agree with Florida Scott Maxwell, “I grow more intense as I age.” The intensity has to do with a deeply spiritual view of useful activity gleaned from the Swedenborgian concept of “uses”, a desire to serve. This desire leads me to seek new skills to advance my ability to serve. See Divine Love and Wisdom Number 297 Divine Love and Wisdom #297
I ask what God requires of me at this stage of my life. In Micah’s voice God answers, “do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God.” (Micah 6:8) I interpret this to mean a journey away from my ego-self towards God’s leading. In Let your Life Speak,Let Your Life Speak, Parker Palmer names five “shadow casting monsters” that must be faced on journey toward self-discovery. These monsters are: the insecure self, second is the notion that the universe is battleground, third is functional atheism, a conviction that we are the only ones who can make a difference, fourth is common to most of us, the fear of chaos and messiness, and the fifth shadow is the fear of death itself. If unexamined, these shadow-casting monsters destroy our ability be truly useful. Uses are linked to what Swedenborg describes as the life of charity; a life that combines a spiritual awareness with an active life in the world. See Charity, Number 158 http://www.sacred-texts.com/swd/cha/cha04.htm
We live because we give ourselves away generously and lovingly in service. Poet Wendell Berry speaks of it this way:
Now more than ever you can be
Generous toward each day
That comes, young, to disappear
Forever, and yet remain
Unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
Not to give yourself away.