Advice for iMonk

The blogger formerly known as iMonk has asked the following:
One new development in my life, post sabbatical, is an increased possibility that I’ll lose my job.

This could happen in several ways. Even though I am respected, liked and have a great ministry here, political and administrative realities are there. A couple of scenarios are possible.

I could get fired for things I’ve written. Even though I’ve taken extraordinary steps to make my blogging a non-issue at my job, it is still controversial with some people, and some of the people who have been unhappy with it could decide I need to go.

Another is this: A major leadership change will happen in the next year and a half, and I am a likely person to be moved out under new leadership. (Fairly normal in SBC life.) I’m an old geezer in a job that increasingly belongs to 20-somethings.

Here’s today’s question: Have you ever been fired/pushed out from a real job? What did you do to regroup and move on? How did this event work into your personal journey?
As a person who has left several jobs under his own power and has also been relieved of duty, the first thing I can say about this situation is that whoever you are, that hasn't changed just because your job is at stake. Sometimes "they" are going to fire you because "they" are jerks; most often "they" are going to fire you because you were a jerk. I know this factually because most of the people I have seen relieved of duty have been walked out because they didn't do the things their job required.

My first piece of advice is this: "don't take a job which is situated on the edge of a political knife." You are far better served to be in a job where they will fire you if you can't or won't do the work than you would be in a job where they can fire you because you don't look good in the new t-shirt. I would say this especially in the case of ministry work -- and I know that seems to many people to be an impossible requirement. We could talk about that specifically if somebody had a question about that.

That's advice about regrouping, btw -- because it brings into focus what you're going to do for a living after they give you the empty box and the handshake.

My second piece of advice is this: "Own the part of the displacement you made for yourself." I have been fired by neglegent posterior-shielding people (who, themselves, also got fired), and in spite of their shortcomings there was a kernel of truth under the reasons they proffered for separating me from their payroll. So whatever I did that contributed objectively to their extremely-subjective judgment, I need to own that so I don't do that again for someone who, frankly, deserves better. It is possible that you didn't do anything -- that the company went belly up, or they really do make it cheaper someplace else. If that's the case, there's nothing to own except the reality that you need to choose an employer who really does make it cheaper, better, faster -- and they still exist in the US.

I have two more pieces of advice, but I have actual work to do today. Maybe I'll drop the balance after lunch.