Compassion in the workplace

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Layoffs are rarely easy to deal with - for those losing their jobs or for those doing the laying off. One idea that I've found helpful in this regard is that everyone's provision has its source in God. This is true for employees, managers, shareholders, and their families.

This message from the Bible offers reassurance: "Be strong and of good courage ... fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord" (I Chron. 28:20). Though the passage refers to the completion of a temple in which to worship God, it speaks to me of how God and His infinite resources are ever with us - of the fact that there is always work in the service of God.

Each of God's sons and daughters is precious in His eyes - loved, cherished, and cared for. This love includes suitable activity and provision. There is no interruption in the flow of good from God to His image and likeness, because nothing interrupts the loving relationship our Father-Mother God has with each one. Everyone is governed by the generous goodness of God. This generous goodness or lovingkindness acts as a law that is ever available to uplift and bless.

An experience I had helped me see that each one has what they need. In spite of our organization's efforts to help a senior employee improve her skills, she hadn't managed to keep pace with the changing demands of her job. I was the one who had to give her notice and explain why.

I wrestled. Was this the right thing to do? How would she be affected? Would our longstanding friendship be severed? We needed to let the person go for the sake of the organization and for the clients it served. I had to trust that it would be right for her as well.

I reasoned that God loves each of us, His children, and puts us where we can best bless and be blessed. I knew that the whole staff was at one with God and that the good available to them wasn't limited to a position within our or any other organization.

As it turned out, the employee graciously understood that the position required someone with other skills. She helped orient her successor, and said we could call her if we ever needed help finding anything in the office. Our friendship continues, while she has gone on to a new and fulfilling chapter in her life.

What can make letting another go so difficult is the thought that we are cutting the person and his or her family off from something good. But I have learned that, while treating others with compassion and sensitivity is important, I should not feel personally responsible for their well-being.

Part of this learning came from an experience I had when I was the one being let go. I was working on a master's degree in business administration. The program was all the more demanding because I had received a scholarship to do it in French, which is not my first language.

After the first year, in spite of my best efforts, the school asked me to leave because of my grades - surely not an easy decision for them. But, as it turned out, this was one of the greatest blessings I've ever experienced. Not being allowed to return to university gave me the opportunity to pursue another career in the service of others, where my heart was leading me. I found my calling, and it has been fulfilling beyond measure. The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity" ("Retrospection and Introspection," pg. 70).

God has a purpose, a place, and plenteous provision for each one of us. Whether we're being let go or in a position of having to let someone go, we can feel divine Love's reassurance and blessing for ourselves and others.

In my Father's house

are many mansions:

if it were not so,

I would have told you.

I go to prepare a

place for you.

John 14:2

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