Written By Priscilla G., Singapore
I’ve had years in which I did not meet my new year resolutions, but never a year in which I failed in my resolutions as spectacularly as I did this past year.
This August marked my fifth year working as a journalist with a media company in Singapore. While I had my share of bad days at work, I loved my job. I enjoyed meeting interesting people and telling their stories. I specialized in covering social issues—issues that affect disadvantaged groups—so I felt the job was meaningful. Though my working hours were flexible at best and irregular at worst, God gave me the grace to still be able to spend time with family and church.
At the start of the year, one of my resolutions was to get a promotion and win more awards for my articles. To me, these goals were attainable. I’d won awards before. And I wanted a promotion as an affirmation of my work, not so much for the pay rise.
The Shocking News
Long story short, not only was I not promoted, I was told in October that I would be redeployed the following month. I was to be transferred to another department and take on a job that I did not ask for nor want.
The news came as a shock. Many of us had seen the company’s restructuring exercise coming, but I did not expect younger workers like myself (I am in my late 20s) to be affected. I knew of at least three others who were redeployed, and at least four who were retrenched.
The month before I was told of my redeployment, my supervisor had nominated me for an award. And as of 6:30 p.m. that fateful day, I still had not heard about my own redeployment—the human resource department was busy talking to the many employees who were retrenched, so I was informed about it at about 6:40 p.m.
Until that day, I had never cried so much in a day before. I cried when I spoke to my supervisor in the office canteen immediately after being told the bad news. I tried to hold back the tears when I returned to my desk. I cried during a cell group meeting later that day. I cried to God at home, until about 3:00 a.m.
I loved my job. I loved it enough to stay on for five years without a bond, and to stay on while at least seven of my peers quit before I did. But I now had to move to another job within two weeks.
During the prayer that ended at 3:00 a.m, I asked God several questions: What just happened? Why? Was I not a good steward of the gift, of this job You gave me? Did I make my job my god? What did I do wrong? If I did something wrong, why didn’t You give me some sign or warning? Usually the Holy Spirit convicts me when I sin, but this redeployment was a bolt from the blue.
God’s Leading and Provision
Amid all those tears, I felt God assure me that the redeployment wasn’t my fault. He reminded me that all the authority figures in my life—my parents at home, my cell leader in church, my supervisor at work—did not sound out any problems when I got busier at work.
He also helped me realize that the career move was something He wanted. I have had several signs from God, since the age of 12, that led me to believe that He wanted me to be a journalist in that company. I had the conviction that I would quit only if the signs leading me out were as clear as or clearer than the signs leading me in. To me, the redeployment was a clear sign to move out, at least for this season in my life.
I also felt assurance of His guidance. Two days after hearing the redeployment news, I listened to a sermon about following God’s signals and road map. One of the first verses mentioned was Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Perhaps because the verse is written in the first person, it felt like God was speaking directly to me.
Eventually, within less than a month of being told of my redeployment, I found a new job in the corporate communications team of a social service agency that serves people with disabilities.
Events moved much faster than I expected, but I do not think my career move was a rash decision. I did not just settle for any organization with a job opening; this new job met various criteria I had. For instance, the organization serves people with disabilities, and I had covered news stories on the disability sector, so the job was not totally unfamiliar territory. My salary expectations were met too.
I am also thankful that I could sign the job contract and submit my resignation letter to my previous company before leaving for a mission trip. The security of knowing what lies ahead gave me more peace of mind during the week-long trip.
By the grace of God, I will start my new job in January 2018. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned through this episode of failed resolutions.
1. Turn to God
I have learned that going through disappointment with God is better than going through it without Him.
It was helpful to have advice and words of encouragement from friends, but God’s presence and words were more satisfying. They gave me comfort and healing from the bitterness towards my previous company, so I could let go of the hurt and move on. They gave me direction and wisdom when I needed to know where to move to next. They gave me courage and hope for the future. The nearness of God is a good thing (Psalm 73:28).
It is important to turn to God first to deal with the emotions within, rather than denying them and going to the extreme of being task-oriented. I find it interesting that in Philippians 4:6-7, Paul says that if people present their requests to God in prayer instead of being anxious, “the peace of God . . . will guard” their hearts and minds. He could have used the word “filled”, but “guard” suggests a defence against something. Peace can guard us from making unwise and rash decisions.
2. Accept reality and focus on making informed decisions
There were moments when I found myself thinking about the if-only’s and what-if’s, or dwelling on the “why me?” question. But God reminded me of a popular Christian quote: “God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
So, for the first few days after hearing the redeployment news, I focused on gathering information so I could make informed decisions. I went to find out more about the content marketing job that I was redeployed to, and what my options were if I did not want to accept it. I learned that it would still involve writing, but it was not journalism and would involve writing for a variety of clients, not necessarily the social service sector. I knew early on that this was not what I wanted, so I focused on thinking more about what other jobs I wanted. I narrowed it down to journalism and a corporate communications job in the social service sector. Eventually, it came down to the latter.
3. Be thankful for what God has given
Despite what I was going through and even before I found my new job in the social service sector, I could find some reasons to be thankful to God. I realized that many of the dreams I had wanted to achieve as a journalist had been fulfilled, even if I felt my time as a journalist was being cut short. I think Christians are often in the headlines for wrong reasons, so one of my dreams was to feature the good work of the body of Christ.
Over my five years as a journalist, I was able to, by God’s grace, write a story about a church’s unique calendar for needy residents in the community, a story about a pastor with cerebral palsy, and another story that had a brief mention of a Bible verse (Psalm 55:22). I also wrote a personal column which included a quote from Christian author John Piper.
When I start my new job next month, it may not be smooth sailing, and I probably will have to get used to many things. But I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness and provision, and I believe that having opened this door of opportunity, He will also empower me in the journey that lies ahead.