Is there such a thing as job security?
I graduated in 2008 in the midst of the global financial crisis. That was the year the Lehman Brothers investment bank collapsed, sparking an international banking crisis. It was known as the Great Recession, and considered to be the most serious since the 1930’s Great Depression.
It was only in 2010 when I landed my first real job. But during the job hunting years, I remember a friend from church who told me that my identity was not in my job. She said that I was God’s child, regardless of whether or not I had a job or the kind of work I did. Though work would give us fulfilment, dignity and the ability to earn money, it is not ultimately what defines us. She was right – because four years later, I lost that job! The company folded and all 60 of us were retrenched.
Here today, gone tomorrow
My time as a young working adult throughout my 20s has made me think about the idea of job security. The old expression, “job for life” seems like a fairy tale. Apart from being retrenched from my first job, I also saw two CEOs fired on the spot. In my second job, my team was reshuffled overnight and I lost a talented designer. The night before, we were working so hard to meet a deadline, taking turns to sleep on the couch. The next day, he was fired.
Today, the economic impact of COVID-19 is being labelled the coronavirus recession or the Great Shutdown of 2020. SOCSO has just reported that job losses have increased by 42% in the first quarter of the year, and that one in five Malaysians have lost their employment due to the pandemic. Personally, we hear of business owners who value their employees and will only resort to retrenchment as the last option. Their approach is a 30% pay cut for higher-income earners, followed by lower-income employees if the lockdown continues.
Job loss is a real fear and it can cause much anxiety, especially if we’re the breadwinner of the family. Perhaps the hardest part is in realising that we are not in control of the “forces”, like the virus spreading or the boss’s decision to let people go. But it’s in times like these that we can find comfort, hope and assurance in God.
Lift up our eyes to the mountains
The psalmist says in Psalm 121:1-2 “… where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” He would not let our foot slip because He watches over us day and night. If you have experienced job loss, or know anyone who has or may be at risk of it due to the pandemic, perhaps now is a good time to reflect how:
- God is still in control. When our well-being is threatened by external factors that are outside our control, God remains good and faithful. He is there even in our darkest moments, though we may not always sense His presence.
- Our identity is not in our job. Our identity as Christ’s beloved child means we are not defined by what we do – but who we are – even when we do nothing and are stripped of our possessions, career and achievements.
- Money serves us, not the other way round. The Bible has much to say about money and stewardship, so this is a good time to plan the way forward financially. For some, it may be holding out on buying the new car, or cutting down on the café coffee. Whatever it is, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (Proverbs 21:20, TLB).
- God gives us a community to help us. The Christian life is one rooted in community, so don’t walk the journey of job loss alone. Have friends in church or outside stand with us in prayer, listen to our struggles and celebrate with us when we pull through.
- God protects those who trust in Him. The sovereign God watches over His children and He protects us because He loves us. We may experience hardship as a result of living in a fallen world, but though we may be “struck down”, we are not “crushed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). These challenges will pass if we hold firm to the Lord in quiet confidence and trust. – W.P. Lim
Lord, help me to remember that my identity is in you.
I trust that You will provide and help me through this difficult time.
Your Word says that those who hope in You will never be put to shame.
Remind me that even when I have a job, I work for You and not for men.
About the Author
Wan Phing Lim is a contributor to Our Daily Bread Ministries Malaysia. Born and raised in Penang, she studied Politics and International Relations at The University of Manchester before turning to a career in writing. Now based in Kuala Lumpur, she writes across a wide variety of genres in print and digital – including lifestyle, travel, education and technology. In her free time, she loves a good cup of coffee, books, films and writing fiction.
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