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God and Downsizing: How to Thrive in a Chaotic Workplace

?All generations experience change. You cannot predict the future, so don?t waste any time worrying about it. The challenge you must accept, right now, is to make yourself better every day.? Jeffrey R. Immelt, Business executive

Today, many working people have experienced downsizing. And those who have survived workplace lay-offs know a relative or a close friend who has been displaced. We always talk about how our times are tougher than the days when our parents kept the same job for forty-five years.

However, from my experience as a youth in Kangundo, Kenya were I was born and raised, I agree with the perspective presented by Mr. Immelt. Further the book of Judges presents a classic example of what is needed to thrive in chaotic times.

Gideon, an Israelite, and his men had a challenge. They were surrounded by the Midianites and Amalekite armies. Logically, to fight those two armies Gideon needed every able man. But God advised Gideon to let those who were fearful return to there homes. Two-thirds took their gear and headed home leaving behind ten thousand, a number that God thought more downsizing.

Next is the most important lesson if you want to survive workplace downsizing practices. God?s instruction this time was for Gideon to lead ten thousand men to a river. Those who drunk water in the traditional way, bowing down upon their knees, were to be send home. The men who lapped like dogs were to remain in Gideon?s army.

Get this, only three hundred, out of the ten thousand, lapped!

These are the people who understand the gravity of what was going on, were flexible and acted a little bit differently. Scooping water and lapping like dogs allowed them to keep an eye on their enemies.

God downsized Gideon?s army because He didn?t want men priding themselves on their own capabilities. Economic, competition, emerging technologies are some of the factors that are leading to workplace downsizing.

The men who were sent home ?lost their face? since fighting for their country was a sense of belonging, identity and doing God?s work. More than a paycheck is lost when a person is downsized?Confidence, sense of belonging, relationships and loyalty to organizations are some of the things lost.

Here are a few lessons for us:

1. Change has been and will continue to be a way of life eternally
2. Understand the challenges (the enemy armies) that your industry is experiencing
3. Forget comfort zone (bowing down to drink), stretch your creativity, push your talents to perform at a higher level, explore new possibilities
4. Be flexible and learn new ways to do the things you do
5. Do what you must, as you develop yourself to do what you want
6. Prepare for the unknown future now by being a perpetual student
7. Learn what you can control (concentrate on it) and what you can?t (don?t waste energy and time on it)

Key lesson
8. Never surrender your dignity by blaming others for your circumstances. Always know that you are the CEO of all you do (Dr. Vincent Muli Kituku). Your attitude, choices and actions are entirely your own responsibility. Others may create circumstances that may require you to change your way of life, or even where you live. However, you choice your attitude towards the change. You choose whether to be flexible or not. You choose whether to learn new things or not.

??The challenge you must accept, right now, is to make yourself better every day.? Jeffrey R. Immelt, Business executive

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