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Beneath the Surface of Workplace Changes

Job cuts have more ripples than meets the eye. A view from the surface may indicate individuals losing their jobs. But, the social and spiritual fabrics of individuals, families and community structures may be victims, too.

?Downsized? people lose paychecks, their sense of identity, workplace relationships and self-confidence. Remaining employees feel guilty thinking they played a role in their colleagues? predicament. Their loyalty to the establishment may decline, yet they are expected to do more with limited time and resources. Their low morale is no climate for bettering the Bottom Line.

How is downsizing affecting the families and community entities? Money is among the top factors contributing to marital/family problems ? including domestic violence and divorce. One has to wonder, how are the current job cuts fuelling an already alarming situation?

The spiritual arena may not be immune to these down times. The February 1999 issue of Moody Magazine mentioned that tithing has declined to about 3 percent of a person?s income instead of the 10 percent commanded in the Bible. A local church report recently showed a tithing level of about 1 percent as the leader explained how such low giving, in a congregation of 400 people, cannot cover the monthly costs of ministry projects. Is someone who is not sure of when they will have another job or paycheck going to try to hold on to what they have? Sure. It?s hard to love and serve God and your neighbors on an empty stomach.

Community projects are hurting financially, too. Charity programs like those sponsored by the Red Cross of America are being scaled back (reduction of workforce) in response to declining funds.

However, we need to learn to turn challenges into opportunities. A story is told of how an old donkey turned misfortune into opportunity. The donkey had given its owner service for many years. When it was too old to work any longer, the farmer thought of putting it to sleep, but he was not ready emotionally.

Sometime later, as the donkey was grazing it fell into a pit. The farmer thought, "Oh, well, since the donkey is just waiting for death, I will just cover it with soil instead of trying to help it out of the pit." He shoveled soil into the pit. When the donkey felt something strange on its back, he shook his body and the soil fell off. The farmer continued shoveling soil and the donkey continued shaking it off its back. Soon the donkey, stepping on the soil that was intended to bury it, got from the pit and lived its full life.

Setbacks in life are sometimes the best setups for new beginning. How can we learn to turn burial materials into steppingstones? Here are top tips on how to turn workplace (and other life challenges) setbacks into setups for new beginnings.


1. Accept that a bad thing has happened and not because you are not good at what you are doing. Bad things do happened daily to good people. It's part of our learning and growing process. Be open to new beginnings by staying active mentally, spiritually and physically.

2. Resist the temptation to blame yourself, your employer (or colleagues) and God. Blame leads to bitterness, which is the foundation of massive stress, illogical decisions and actions. Blaming is a pure waste of time and it delays and destroys of one?s creativity for building a better future

3. Reflect, through prayer, on what led to your situation. Pray. Jeremiah 29:11 indicates that God knows our predicament and has plans for our future. Faith helps us face the future with hope. Set goals that may help you not be in the same situation in the future.

4. Act on your goals. Deciding to do something is different from doing it. Doing it is what brings spiritual, personal or professional success.

5. Be in-charge of your life. Learn to be flexible. Take risks without wasting effort and creativity by worrying about a past you can never have back. Learn to create and/or recognize doors of opportunities.

6. Help others. We heal faster by helping others heal from their wounds. I repeat what I have said in the past. ?What we do for ourselves can get us by. What we do for others is what gets us ahead; whether in our profession, spiritual pursuits or relationships.?

7. Remember the words of Brooker T. Washington: ?The circumstances that surround a man?s life are not really important. It is how the man responds to the circumstance that is important. His response is the ultimate determining factor between success and failure.?

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