Reclaim your soul
When a person loses their job, the losses are multiple and the grief is complex.
In her book Losing your Job, Reclaiming your Soul, Mary Lynne Pulley says, “No matter the corporate euphemism in which it’s couched, the loss of a job remains one of the most devastating events a person can encounter.”
The loss of the work role often includes not only the security of a steady salary but also of work colleagues, especially when one is working in a team; the structure that is provided by the working week; the momentum of a career; and the making of a meaningful contribution to a worthwhile endeavour.
The community in general does not understand job loss as a grief experience and therefore may not empathise with what the person is going through. Working through the struggles of job loss is similar to that of any other significant dislocation in a person’s life and takes a lot of effort and energy to creatively achieve.
This has been a difficult and challenging time in the life of the Synod of New South Wales and the ACT since the 2011 Synod meeting approved a process for evaluation and change of structures.
Necessary realignment of boards and work groups has led to some positions becoming redundant, a process which has been exacerbated by stringent financial measures in response to the heavy impact of the Global Financial Crisis. These losses have been borne not only by Synod staff but also in the wider church due to cuts to Synod programs and allocations, which were unavoidable in the process of restoring the Synod’s capital base.
This situation will be redeemed by careful management and budgeting. Synod allocations are predicted to improve from next year, though how far the recovery will go is uncertain.
Creativity and resourcefulness is already being exhibited in finding ways to manage this change and in some ways we may well be better off for the experience.
Nevertheless, for some of our work colleagues, the loss has become final. To them we say a big “Thank you” for all that they have given to our church during their time of employment.
For many of them this has been a vocation where they have contributed above and beyond the call of duty.
We also trust that for those whose positions have been made redundant (people themselves are never redundant!) there will be significant growth and transformation through this time of tough transition. The possibility of redemption in and through experience of suffering, death and resurrection is central to our faith, and is a path that Christ walks with us.
Without diminishing the devastating impact of job loss, Mary Pulley goes on to reflect, through a succession of true stories, how job loss can also be a blessing in disguise, and the triumph of resilience and hope.
I ask that our whole Community of Faith might be prayerful and active as we support one another through this and other times where the pain of loss and grief becomes difficult to bear.
The Rev. Dr Brian Brown is Moderator of the Synod of New South Wales and the ACT.