In “freefall” or safe in His arms?

Strange timing! I had been planning on writing a six-month update on my job search status and then this COVID-19 pandemic hit. My, oh my.

To briefly catch everyone up, I was employed at Kodak Alaris/Eastman Kodak for 43 years despite almost constant layoffs the last 34 of those years. During that 34-year span, the Kodak workforce in Rochester plunged from 60,000 to less than 2000 employees. Although it tried various strategies, the company just was not able to successfully make the switch from analog to digital technology. Well, Kodak finally did lay me off at the end of September at the age of 63. As part of the separation package, the company provided three months of career transition training and I attended those helpful classes and began applying for jobs in earnest in December. To date, I’ve applied to 71 job postings and have had in-person interviews with 7 companies and phone interviews with another 3 companies. My big drawback is my age. Realistically, scant few hiring managers would be willing to hire a candidate my age and invest in a ton of training just to see the person retire in a few years. Another factor is that with the decline of Kodak, Xerox, and other smaller manufacturers, combined with the sky-high taxes, Rochester, N.Y. is the worst job market in the entire United States (see article* at bottom).

My severance pay ran out at the end of December and I filed for unemployment the start of the year.  Meanwhile, my wife went on disability in the beginning of August because of health issues and received half-pay thereafter. However, her workplace stopped paying her at the end of November because their insurance company claims she is able to return to work. My wife’s MD has not advocated for her as strongly as he should have. She’s now in the process of applying for long-term disability. In the meantime, we live on my weekly unemployment checks, which will run out the end of June. I continue to apply for positions matching my skills and experience, but in a few more weeks, as the end of the unemployment checks comes into view, I’ll visit a temp agency (depending on the pandemic situation) and ask for whatever job they can find for me for a year or two.

My wife and I are close enough to retirement that we can survive this without giving up our home, etc. However, so many people are now losing their jobs either temporarily or permanently because of the COVID-19 pandemic and entering the ranks of the unemployed. Probably 95% of companies have suspended all hiring except for those providing essential services and commodities. Even our local unemployment agency is shut down. It’s somewhat pointless to grind through the daily job search activities in light of the current circumstances, but the unemployment protocols must still be followed.

The entire world is in a bit of a “freefall” as this pandemic runs its course. Society is being turned on its head. People are not only losing their jobs, but to date approximately 700 Americans have died from the virus and many more will surely follow. The “security” of being part of the middle-class and the upper-class in American society was always a mirage as we’re now seeing. The world can offer no firm, lasting foundation. For believers, it’s one thing to “talk about” trusting in the Lord, but it’s another thing to actually need to trust in Him. Our faith is in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. No circumstance can separate us from our Shepherd. What a joy and peace it is to know the Lord in this crisis! Let’s be a help to others during these difficult times and a testimony of the Lord’s salvation and goodness.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

*Wall Street Journal ranks Rochester worst metropolitan job market in United States

35 thoughts on “In “freefall” or safe in His arms?

      1. Argh. I see the pope has several more big “events” like that one coming up shortly. Unable to attend mass during this crisis, Catholics are floundering and the pope must come up with other rituals to assuage them.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Well well, look at what Francis said:

        “People who cannot get to confession because of the coronavirus lockdown or another serious reason can go to God directly, be specific about their sins, request pardon and experience God’s loving forgiveness,”

        So why does anyone need to go to a priest again?

        David Anders must be thinking of new ways to spin this.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Thanks, SB. I have this particular news story already lined up for the weekend roundup. Yes, as Catholics are prevented from accessing the priest-administered sacraments because of the virus, the hierarchy is presenting stay-at-home “alternatives,” which should have incredulous Catholics questioning the entire system.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. May our GOD grant you to work where you can serve Him most. Tom, I emphatize you in the hunting-for-work-part-of-life. I’m unemployed for 2 years now. Sometimes, I would feel like Jonah-who had to be swallowed by a whale for GOD’s purpose (probably this blog just like the For that reason I tried this blog, maybe GOD wanted me to do this first before He opens an opportunity for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “ For believers, it’s one thing to “talk about” trusting in the Lord, but it’s another thing to actually need to trust in Him”
    That’s a very true statement brother.
    How blessed we are to know our God is absolutely sovereign, therefore in total control of world affairs and our personal ones.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Me too, since my job was terminated 10 months ago there is been one trial after the other. I told my doc last week that if he only stopped finding things wrong with me I would be a very healthy individual.😊
        So grateful that God is in control.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I remember reading a few of your posts a year ago about the uncertainty at your place of work and empathizing because I knew my situation was equally as tenuous. I’m praying for your health, sister! Yup, the Lord is in control and our hope is in Him.


    1. Thank you, Gersom! Every morning we can praise God for another day and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:14.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been daily in prayer for you and your bride, my friend. I hope there is a hiring boom after all this ends. I always used temp agencies, before I started staying home. It was the quickest way to find work, especially during the 2008 crash when we were newly weds and dumb kids who didn’t understand how dire things were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your prayers, sister friend! We’re getting by and doing well and we’re pretty close to retirement. Yup, when I get near the end of unemployment, I’m hoping a temp agency can help me bridge the one-year gap to Medicare, but I’m not rushing it because the pay will probably be close to what I’m receiving for unemployment. My heart goes out to all of the younger workers with children to support who have been laid off. Many will have a hard time in this economic chaos. But as we know from the Bible and history, God uses hard times to draw people to Him. I pray the Lord blesses you and your family (thinking about your husband as he works with patients) and keeps you all safe at this time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am grateful for this update post. I’ve been praying during this time and can’t imagine the situation you are in which is compounded with the trials of the virus spreading in your state. I really hope you will eventually find something. If you ever need me to buy books from my review that you enjoy, let me know. I might not be able to purchase say an eighty dollar theological work that’s limited print for instance, but things besides that I can order it for you on Amazon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, brother! I really appreciate your prayers throughout my job search. Of course, this pandemic puts my “crisis” into perspective. I’m grateful for the unemployment checks, which help us tremendously. Our oldest son texted me today and said the gov’t stimulus package will include a boost in check amounts and an extension of four months. Don’t know if that’s true yet. Thanks so much for the book offer brother! I appreciate that. I still have about a month or six weeks worth of hard copy in my queue (including a couple of unread books I forgot I had) and there’s always cheap/free e-books after that. Hopefully the library is up and running in a couple of months.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I truly appreciate the offer, brother! Thank you for your kindness! But I’ll be fine. I remembered today that I have a JMac book that I put off reading and eventually tucked away in my bookshelf because of its size.

        Liked by 1 person

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