Job Loss and Social Responsibility: Some thoughts and questions

Today I have been thinking a lot about Bryan and my current situation (well, pretty much every day lately I think about this a lot) but today my thoughts went in a different direction then they had before…

Bryan and I have seen this job loss very much as an opportunity to figure out what we really want to do, what jobs would really be good fits for us and what we are really passionate about. We have so far known about this job loss for almost 3 weeks and we have only two weeks left of paid work, but we have each basically interviewed for only one job each. That’s not a lot – that’s not the way most people do a job search. And many of you (myself included at times) would call us lazy. But, really we have been feeling careful, more so than lazy. We haven’t wanted to just jump into another job that won’t fit us or fill us up. We don’t want to just jump into a job that will pay the bills but that we won’t feel passionate about. So, we have only considered jobs so far that really interest us and that we could see ourselves really enjoying and feeling excited about.

Though we have felt stressed financially lately when we think about the upcoming change in our employment status, I think we have each also felt free to explore our options and take the time we need to consider them because we do have some last resort options available to us if it comes down to it. We have been incredibly blessed and if we needed to we have things available to us if it really comes down to it, even though we would love to work things out without resorting to those options.

But, I was thinking today about the many, many people who don’t have options available to them like we do. There are many people who, once fired, need to find a job as quickly as possible no matter how bad of a fit it might be for them or how bad the pay or how demeaning the position. They have no other option. There are many people who, when faced with unemployment, can’t find work because of a lack of education, or ability, a bad turn in the job market, or whatever. As stressful as our situation has felt at times it is NOTHING compared to the struggles of many, many families around the world.

So, here’s what I was thinking… How do I in my current life situation take into account and respond responsibly to those in far worse current life situations. I believe that my life and my actions are not separated from the rest of God’s children. I believe that what I do with my life, my time, and my resources will affect God’s Kingdom, either for good or not for good. My life does not get to be lived independently – it will have an effect, whatever that effect may be.

So, with that in mind… Do I have a right to take the time I want to take to figure out and find a job that really fits me when so many others can’t do that? Do I have a right to ask others for help and support when they could be spending their help and support on behalf of those with far greater need then me? Do I have a right to be stressed and worried about my situation when the situation of others is far worse? What is my current responsibility to those in need? In a time when my own world and life and finances are very uncertain what is the role that I should play in bringing God’s kingdom to those who are in need?

These are some of the thoughts and questions that have been bouncing around my head this morning.

Rejoicing in the journey - Beth Stedman

Photograph by Beth Stedman