Redundancy is a word none of us wants to hear, yet for many of us, it’s a reality we are going to have to face.
When my boss meets with me to discuss the redundancy and the future of the organisation in another building, another phase of its operation, it hurts a great deal.
Knowing I’m not going to be involved in shaping its future, I’m no longer needed, it feels as if with each meeting a plaster is ripped off, I’m stabbed and the plaster is put back on.
I am told that the prison population contains a worrying number of young talented football players who have been nurtured by a premier league club but, because of injury or the stiff competition, have been “let go”. The impact of losing a future that has been one’s intense desire for as long as you can remember is devastating. The football life and the military life alike generate the most unbelievably intense passion. These are not just jobs; they amount to an identity, an investment of our being, our state of mind.
Passion for one’s occupation is not wrong. To be fulfilled in work is one of God’s blessings. To find your vocation in life is to discover and be able to use and develop the gifts that God has given you by his divine grace.
Where I work there is a tangible sense of bereavement, the spark has vanished and heartbeat is faint, There have been tears, even wails of anguish. The loss of one’s job is bad enough, there is also the loss of one’s identity some of the questions we’ve all wrestled with are:
Who am I?
Am I any good at anything?
Will I find a job?
How will I cope?
It’s not just the loss of Job, it’s the loss of community, as a group of people who work together we’ve built a community, we’ve broken bread together in the form of sharing cakes and thoughts together, we’ve shared the high’s a low of being human with each other, yet one word has dismantled that community forever.
I can only speak through my own personal circumstances, but from what I hear from others in the same place some of what I’ve said is true for them as well.
In times of austerity unknown for at least a generation, we can perhaps be even more grateful for Jesus’ reminder that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. Having our treasure invested in a job is never enough for a meaningful life.
Investing in the treasure of a relationship with God is the only identity that finally counts.
I end with a prayer that sums up everything I’ve said:
Loving Father, we live in a society that often values people according to the work they do and the salaries they earn. People without work can feel lost and discarded. Teach us, good Lord, to value them as you do. Help us who know them to assuage their bitterness and anger. May they find peace in the knowledge of your love, and the confidence to offer themselves for retraining and employment. Grant them that security in your love which will enable them to bounce back from their sense of rejection, and know that delight in your providence through which they may move forward and prosper in new-found work or in their new way of life.