Dealing with unemployment during a global pandemic
Tom is a young worker based in Melbourne who works in engineering and is a part of our Headstart young workers community at City Bible Forum. COVID-19 impacted Tom’s employment and he was made redundant as the city began to go into lockdown. He shares his reflections with us now about what God has been teaching him this year through this experience in this interview.
What were the circumstances around how you came to unemployment during Covid-19?
I started a new job in February, working full time in a casual role as an engineer consultant. Once COVID-19 started to have serious impacts in Australia, they made a decision to effectively suspend all casual employees in Australia. I became unemployed after having worked about 7 weeks in this new role.
Wow, that’s a lot of change in quick succession. What was your first reaction and how did these emotions change over time?
There were mixed emotions - initially I was looking forward to a bit of a break from work, but at the same time I was sad to be leaving this firm and the team I was working with. I thought that I had a really great job and team to work with, and there was part of me that was really quite sad that I could be leaving such a great environment and team to work in. I say ‘could be’ because they effectively suspended my contract, and had not terminated it at that stage.
During unemployment it was initially exciting applying for new jobs and opportunities, and having time to do things at my own pace, but after weeks of going through this routine it became more tedious applying for jobs and felt like more of a chore. With so many job rejections it felt like I wasn’t making much progress.
In this time I was surprised by the generosity shown to me by some other Christians willing to try and help me financially - whether that was directly or indirectly. I think this really was a wonderful reflection of the generosity that Jesus has shown us, and I really felt genuinely loved and cared for by other Christians who knew what I was going through and who offered to help in this way.
How did Jesus make a difference during this time?
Unemployment was difficult because I knew that each month that went by would further deplete the money I had saved in the few months of working this year, which would only last so long. God taught me to depend on His providence throughout this time, and trust that He would provide what I needed for each day, whether that be with employment or not. Jesus made, and continues to make, a difference because He was (and is) the unchanging hope that I could (and continue to) cling to. There were days that were harder than others, but this time helped me better understand that Jesus is the only hope that we really need.
By God’s grace I was offered a job in May, and He showed me in this time that He does genuinely care for and look after His own. Jesus is definitely the one whom we can cling to and trust, and even if I was still unemployed I could confidently say that God will provide all that I need for each day.
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” - Matthew 6:34
What a beautiful and powerful verse to remember during these times. Would you pray for workers who will read this and may be feeling anxious about their job security?
Thank you that You are the giver of life and good things to us. Help us trust in You when you give, and when You take away. Help us not to be anxious but to trust that You are sovereign and in control of all things. We thank You for the great hope we have in Jesus and we look forward to there being no pain and suffering in the new creation.
In Jesus’ name,
Are you a young worker seeking Christian community and support for your witness in the workplace?
Are you recently unemployed and looking for community and support?
More like this ...
Thanks for these comments, Tom. I was looking for work for about 7 months in 2017-18 after returning from overseas. I'm glad your experience was so good with other Christians encouraging and supporting you. I found a number of Christians didn't know how to handle it - most gave me a simplistic "God will provide" or "I'll pray for you" but didn't really know how to care for or encourage me during that time. I think it was more a lack of knowing how to do it rather than a lack of care per se. Like you, I turned to Matthew 6 and wrestled in prayer with its message.