“You are fired.”
Well, actually it was worded somewhat more courteously: “We are going to let you go.” Our chin dropped below the heels of our boots, without a word for what must have seemed forever to them. Then, they added: “You have been shirking your job.”
“Are you really sure this is what you want to do?” we asked in our first response, and repeated the question more times during the remainder of the rather lengthy, quiet
conversation. Certainly, it was no confrontation, with no raised voices.
However, their next statement: “We didn’t think you would be surprised,” set us back just about as far. After 36 and a half years working for one business, and putting our heart and soul into it, well, why wouldn’t we be shocked?
Further into the closed door session with boss and bookkeeper, we were told we had been warned that business was down sharply and to pick up our pace. They claimed we had not done so, and then emphasized: “You spend too much time talking about horses on our phones.”
We have been warned about our work methods several times in our career. One time we were told, in a tone of reprimand, we could leave or change positions, which didn’t seem very professional. Of course, we said, “We love to work here, regardless.”Oddly, that time our work load declined sharply, and our wages increased very markedly.
It’s true that we have always considered horses a part of our life and never thought anything about talking to anybody for extended lengths of time about whatever it was to do with horses. That’s the way it has always been.
Regarding our recent work ethic, we had continued our regular pace, although we did not make a “big show,”because, in our opinion, the economy is in the most difficult situation it’s been in during our lifetime. Although those hit hard in the early ’80s might not agree, we think these times are comparable to those of our forefathers in the’30s.
Well, that’s all beside the point, evidently. However, we shook our employer’s hand and even said thank you. Minutes later when the owner who hired us as a starving, just out-of-college brat arrived, we did the same thing; truly in appreciation for all that he and the business have provided us.
We fully expected and intended to be in the chair for many years, maybe until we died or became incapable. Yes, we are numb, as one described us. Yes, we are still in shock.
Many co-workers expressed disbelief as well upon the announcement made by management before we could make the rounds to tell those who’ve become close friends.
However, we now look back at firings of some close acquaintances years ago before it could be blamed on the economy. We were stunned and upset about their situations, because they were, in our opinion, extremely dedicated and hard workers. Fortunately, they all came out of it better than before.
Likewise, we are one of the many who are unemployed now. Before us, others were fired from our business, and we have many acquaintances who have lost their jobs in the past year. We are not alone in this situation.
Interestingly, when the grocery store our family had operated for over 33 years was destroyed by fire, Mom was the age we are now. She passed away from cancer in less than four years, and we always thought the dreaded disease was caused by stress from the loss of the store, which she had dedicated herself to for much of her life.
We do not intend to become so strained over our predicament to cause that. Actually, as much as it deep down hurts our feelings, and especially our pride of position, we are confident: “It is part of the plan.”
We have for most of our life had strong feelings of faith, and in recent years have had devoted prayer time to accompany it, always seeking: “God’s will be done.” Along with that we’ve asked: “Please guide us, Lord, in all that we do.”
Prayers have always been answered in the past. Often the replies were in a peculiar way which we did not expect, yet were just fine. Obviously, our prayer life has expanded even further in recent days. Whatever the future holds: “It is God’s will.”
Therefore, we believe First Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Yet, we must follow Proverbs 1:5: “Let the wise increase in learning, and the one with understanding receive guidance.”
However, it’s essential to remember Hebrews 10:32: “But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.” Our dilemma is best analyzed by Jesus in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”