5 Ways to Survive and Thrive in Job Loss

by | Oct 3, 2015

Have you ever lost your job? If not, has a close friend, coworker or family member lost theirs? I have been in this situation many years ago and I can tell you that it was one of the most difficult and enlightening seasons of my life.

Whether we love our work or not, we are wired to work. We need our work for numerous worldly reasons. But more importantly, God created us to work. God was a worker, He made us in His image, and therefore work becomes a vital aspect of our lives.

Last week, 450 Walmart associates were laid off at Walmart’s corporate headquarters here in northwest Arkansas. These 450 people were abruptly introduced into a powerful new season in their lives and their family’s lives. It will be difficult for sure. Many go through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). It can be a devastating time if they allow it to be. But it may very well be the beginning of one of the greatest seasons of their lives!

As the Recession of 2008 started and roared through 2010, WorkMatters launched a new ministry during those years called the Joseph Project to aid business people between jobs. What an incredible blessing it was to help hundreds who lost their jobs. Most did indeed have to work through those five stages, just as I did, in varying degrees.

Hear this…God is way bigger than that grief. He loves us way too much to have that be the end of our story. In fact, that is the exciting news. Job loss can and most often is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives and work that far exceed anything we can imagine!

We all need help when a job loss occurs. If you have lost your job or more likely if you know someone who has lost their job, here are five recommendations to make this difficult experience one of the greatest chapters in a person’s life:

  1. Grieve – grieve appropriately. Work your way to acceptance as assertively as feasible. This is a time of honest reflection. It is a time to read the Bible. The Joseph Project recommended this short book as a powerful read to navigate this season – Red Sea Rules.
  2. Counsel – spend time with your inner circle, especially those that have Godly wisdom and experience. Stay with them. Keep reaching out to them. Encouragement and wise counsel are critical ingredients in your story. Be assertive!
  3. What’s next – use this time to explore your wiring. What are your gifts and skills? What do you love doing? We recommend starting with Strength Finders 2.0.
  4. Patience – it is a test no doubt. It will likely take longer than hoped. Go to the Index of the Bible and look up all scripture on Patience. Read and study a verse each day. Trust me, patience will be required.
  5. Get ready – the work that comes next may or may not feel like the perfect fit. My personal experience, along with our WorkMatters team’s experience in coaching and equipping hundreds of leaders between jobs confirms that God will use this event for amazing and unexpected purpose if you will let Him.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

NOTE: If you know anyone who loses their job, step up and serve! Use these five recommendations to assist your friend, coworker or family member to make this a time of growth and flourishing.

Photo of David Roth

David Roth

David Roth has been the president and CEO of Workmatters since October, 2003. Workmatters is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in Northwest Arkansas in 2003 with a mission is to help people pursue God’s purpose for their work. Since then, Workmatters has been used to impact thousands of leaders in Northwest Arkansas and across the U.S. Prior to leading Workmatters, Mr. Roth was vice president, sales and marketing for J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. Before joining J.B. Hunt in 1999, David was the senior vice president of marketing for Manugistics, a supply chain management software provider in Maryland and vice president of marketing for American Software in Atlanta, Ga. He also has nine years of supply chain management experience with McKesson Corporation in San Francisco, Calif. and Harrison, Ark. David has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Arkansas. He resides in Fayetteville, Ark. with his wife, Theresa and has two sons, Dylan and Tyler.