I’m worried about a layoff next year. If we have a recession, I am likely to be the first one out the door. What can I do to be prepared?
Preparing for a Layoff
Dear Preparing for a Layoff,
There is a great deal in your question that I can relate to. Having been through a corporate layoff in my prior career in the oil and gas industry, I am aware of the fear and stress that go along with facing an unknown future. However, contrary to you, I was not prepared.
Downsizing, reorganizations, and mergers are part of life. The Bureau of Labor Statistics for August, 2019 indicates that the average length of unemployment is 22.1 weeks ( just under 6 months) and 20.6% of the unemployed were out of work for 27 weeks or more. This fact alone should give you a strong indication of how to get prepared if a layoff and/or recession does occur in 2020.
God can be fully trusted, despite a possible layoff. He will be there for you even if things seem out of control. Keep an eternal perspective, prepare and walk in faith.
Prepare now to minimize stress.
Don’t take it personally, unless you brought it upon yourself. If you did, learn from your mistakes! Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” He may be moving you into something far better than you ever imagined.
Temporarily, most people can reduce their expenditures substantially without a major reduction in lifestyle. It just requires some planning: being patient, avoiding quick financial decisions, and never spending money you don’t have even when you have available credit. It means tithing faithfully, avoiding get-rich schemes, and sticking to a budget. Those who have surrendered their finances to God also experience His faithfulness.
Pray for peace and contentment during this time. Go on a spending fast and cut all unnecessary expenses. Sell what you don’t need. Ignore the media and renew your mind with Biblical truth. Enjoy creation, spend time with friends & family. Seek simplicity and be thankful.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1: 2-4 ESV)
Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 8:7 that no man knows the future. As much as we may think we know what will happen next year, we truly do not know will happen in the next moment. Worry involves looking to the future and projecting unpleasant events that may or may not occur. The truth is, you and I do not know if there will be a recession next year or if you will be laid off. We do know that we are to live prepared for the future but keep our thoughts on today because this is all we have.
As I look back on the layoff that I experienced, God used it for my good, especially the lessons I learned from the pain of being unprepared. You are wise to be looking ahead and ready should it happen, now you can rest and enjoy each day that you have regardless of what tomorrow will bring.
Read more about preparing for economic hardship in The S.A.L.T. Plan, a practical guide I wrote about carefully planning for hard times, and how to increase your faithfulness with your God-given resources.
Originally posted on the Christian Post, December 27, 2019.
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