As part of a series entitled, “When You’re Going Through Hell Don’t Stop,” I spoke for the first time this past weekend about my experience of being fired 5 years ago.
I did this in part because I’ve come across literally hundreds of people who have been fired. I had no idea it was such a common occurrence, because it has only happened to me once. And I have to tell you, once is enough.
But as I’ve gone through my own journey, I’ve identified 5 fears I had to deal with while I was going through my own private hell of being jobless for the first time in my life. And I’ve found an awfully lot of people face them as well.
- The fear of rejection. At the core of every person I’ve ever met (including me) is the primary fear of not being wanted, not being enough; smart enough, good-looking enough. Whatever you call it, it’s ultimately the fear of being turned out and rejected. At the core of losing a job is realizing that fear. Someone is literally saying, “We don’t want you here anymore. Your services are no longer required.”
- The fear of failing. Why we are so afraid of this, I can’t quite understand because everything any of us have achieved in our life has come through a series of failings. We fell down the first time we tried to walk. Even professional baseball players are considered wildly successful when they can hit 3 out of 10 times at bat. And yet somehow we have failed to distinguish the difference between failing and failure. Failure is when you fall down and refuse to get up, to learn from the failing, and get back in the game.
- The fear of humiliation. My firing was very public. It made me feel like I had let everyone down. It was humiliating. But I found that humiliation is a part of my faith. Humility is something that God is going to cultivate in my life whether I cooperate or not. I can take the humiliation of my firing and learn from it, and allow it to make me truly humble. Or I can become bitter and angry and arrogant for no apparent reason.
- The fear of isolation. When you get fired, you have nowhere to go. You no longer have the privilege of an office and all the amenities, a team, a group, comraderie. You’re isolated. You get up at home, and there you are.
- The fear of being cut off. All of us have this core fear. We see it a lot in the children of the Depression. As they became adults, they became hoarders and stingy. Some call it frugal, but really it’s cheap for fear of not having enough money, of somehow waking up and realizing there is no more salary, no more retirement, no more insurance; what am I going to do? You feel abandoned and isolated.
If you’ve been downsized, laid-off, or fired and you’re facing these fears, the best thing to do is to get up and move against them. Let them be your teacher. Better yet, go to iTunes and search David Foster at The Gathering and subscribe to the podcast so you can hear each one of these weekly talks that will help inspire and move you ahead as God seeks to forge a firsthand, fruitful faith in your life.
Remember, pain in life is not optional. Gaining from that pain, is. Those who go through it and understand God’s purpose in it get better, not bitter. Which are you?