I had one of those “major life events” a short time ago, but haven’t posted about it to this point. I guess I needed several weeks for the dust to settle.
In early-July, my boss informed me that one of our company’s major corporate customers was not renewing their contract for 2020. That was definitely NOT good news. That particular customer accounts for about 40% of our sales. My boss advised me to prepare for the inevitable. For the next couple of months, I read the daily reports as the customer in question began methodically pulling our equipment out of their stores and returning it to our warehouse. Arriving back to work on the Tuesday after Labor Day Weekend, my boss called me into his office the first thing in the morning, usually not a good sign. As I suspected, I was being laid off at the end of the month.
I began working at K* in 1976 when I was nineteen-years-old. At that time there were 60,000 people working at K’s massive manufacturing, research, logistics, and administrative facilities in Rochester. But foreign competition and the subsequent switch from analog to digital technology began impacting K in the mid-1980s. The layoffs started in earnest in 1985 and have continued non-stop for thirty-four years. From what I can gather, there’s now probably less than 2000 Rochesterians working at K and KA (the company that was spun off from K and where I ended up).
My boss asked that I continue doing my job in the interim while simultaneously training my replacement. Needless to say, September was a difficult month.
So, here I am, 63-years-old and unemployed, with twenty-two more months until I’m eligible for Medicare. To complicate things further, my wife was forced to discontinue working in early-August because of health issues and was placed on short-term disability. There’s a very high probability that she will eventually be switched to long-term disability.
But this is not a self-pity party. The Lord is Lord of the valleys as well as the mountain tops. I was blessed with 43 years of employment at K and I’m not all that far from retirement. As part of its limited severance package, KA has provided three months’ worth of assistance from a “career transition” company. I’m currently using those services and creating a resume in preparation for some job hunting.
I have many brothers and sisters in the Lord who are dealing with challenges much more serious than losing a job at age 63, so I didn’t write this as a whine fest. But I was still a bit angry and bitter. All I needed was two more years, Lord! Well, the Lord has been teaching me many things in the last six weeks. When everything seems to be going fine and we’re living in our “it’s all good” bubble and familiar routine, our faith can tend to become lackadaisical, but it’s in trials and tribulations when we truly lean on and lean into the Lord. This is a fallen world and if you haven’t experienced any “major life events” yet, you surely will. This world doesn’t offer much in the way of safety nets, but our Sovereign God, who knows all of our circumstances, is our immovable Rock and High Tower!
Postscript 1: One day I was feeling particularly stressed because of all of the red tape issues I had to take care of due to my pending unemployment, mostly signing up for various types of insurance. To make matters worse, I had let my reading material queue run dry. Oy vey! In “desperation,” I went back to my half-finished and neglected copy of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ “Studies on the Sermon on the Mount.” The next chapter just so happened to be “Be Not Anxious,” followed by “Birds and Flowers,” “Little Faith,” “Increasing Faith,” and “Worry: Its Causes and Cure,” all sermons on Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus’ teaching on worry and anxiety. Praise God for His care and encouragement!
Postscript 2: My 24/7 full-time job and joy is following Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” – Matthew 6:25-27
*Due to legalities, I’m being purposely circumspect about the name of my former company, especially in regards to their current troubles.