Hired and fired
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
I'd been offered a five-year contract with an organization whose motives and ethics I loved and wanted to promote - and the icing on the cake was that the job was overseas. It offered huge potential, a wonderful new adventure, and the opportunity to contribute and progress.
I packed my possessions into storage, gave up my apartment, and said au revoir to loved ones. My first meeting with my new colleague lasted five hours as we got to know each other and bounced ideas around. We couldn't wait to get started.
After a couple of months, a bolt came out of the blue. My managers told me they wished to terminate my employment because they felt I didn't fit in.
What? I had gone through a week of interviews and supplied half a dozen character references, and they'd had to apply for visas for me to work there. It would have made more sense if I had committed some crime. But not fitting in? There were no comments on what I had done that was not fitting nor how I might adapt to fit. They wouldn't consider the idea. They had, however, booked me a flight home for the following week.
Where had I gone so wrong? Fear, panic, and failure flooded in. How I would get my life back onto an even keel and find the ability to think rationally became key priorities.
I knew that whatever else happened, I didn't want to leave holding a grudge. Resentment and anger had to be dropped; they were not the qualities that nurtured openness and progress. There had to be a solution, and it could be a blessing for me. Even before I had seen the job advertisement, I had been praying for a higher sense of purpose and progress by acknowledging that God is the provider of those qualities, and that my place and activity are God-directed. I reasoned that if God had brought me here, He would show me wherever He needed me next.
I decided to go on vacation. This gave me time to pray and study more earnestly - to heal the hurt. I took with me a copy of the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, and a copy of the Christian Science Quarterly. I asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray with me.
I set myself the somewhat ambitious target of being able to love my employers. I began with gratitude for the training I'd received, for the great new colleagues I'd met and become friends with, for the opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise. This phrase stood out in Science and Health: "...progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil" (page 233).
I loved the idea of certain fulfillment. I also realized that if progress were the law of God, I had to progress. What appeared to be a progressive step at the time couldn't turn into a retrograde, thwarted, or misguided one. That things hadn't worked out as I'd anticipated didn't mean that God's law wasn't working or that things weren't working out. They were just working out differently.
A thought struck me. I had thought my employers were doing the right thing when they employed me. Why should I think they'd suddenly become misguided if they decided no longer to employ me?
I could trust God's law to be as operational and inspirational in their decisions as in my own, without any fallout, side effects, or damage. Leaving them and their decisions in God's care was actually obeying God - it was really the only place they could be. And God's care was sufficiently infinite to include me, my employers, all humanity, resulting in progress for all.
That truth clinched the healing. My spirits revived, I returned to my native country, found a new job, a new home, and a volunteer organization that was embarking on a project where the skills and experience I had acquired overseas were directly relevant.
Three years later, I visited my former employers. Amid hugs and laughter, I felt genuine love for them.
When I lost my job, well-meaning friends assured me I was better off elsewhere; something would work out; it wasn't the end of the world. All of that might have been true. But taking the time to search for and to find the certainty of God's care for me and for each of us was what really made the difference in my life.