Three months ago, my employment contract came to an end and I have been unemployed since then. Between brokenness and ample free time, I learnt a few lessons I would like to share in this article.
Firstly, I realized that most of us identify ourselves by our job. Think about it, when the statement “tell us about yourself?” is posed, most people respond with their name and straight after that, their occupation. Perhaps it is inevitable that we would include our jobs when describing ourselves considering that we spend most of our time working, but this lead to me asking myself the following question, ‘When your job is taken away, what is left of you?’ Although it is important that we do something and do it to the best of our ability as Ecclesiastes 9:10 states,“Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom”. I think what is more important is that we find our identity in Christ rather than in our occupation.
Secondly, every time I tell someone that I no longer work, the immediate response is always “Don’t worry, you will find a job soon”. I am yet to meet someone who will say “Maybe in this time you will come up with a great innovative idea or start a business”. It became evident to me how linear our education system is and how it has, as a result, crippled the potential of many. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate people’s responses because I know they mean well and before my unemployment phase I would have probably responded the same way. As I reflect deeply, I realize that the system has ingrained in us that our jobs define who we are. I am aware that it would be insensitive to assume that entrepreneurship is for everyone, but I think as a society we need to think differently about employment.
Lastly, we need to stop romanticizing the idea of self-employment and actively incorporate entrepreneurship as part of our education system. Our schools need to start harnessing the gifts and talents of students instead of only equipping them to be great employees.
So, where am I at right now? Well, for the past three months I have been exposed to various events where the reoccurring theme has been ‘Be real’. These words became as loud as a church bell and impossible to ignore. I looked closely at myself and realized that there are so many dreams I have incarcerated because I thought “well I am already here doing this, so I might as well”. But life is too precious of a gift to just live with the “might as well” kind of attitude. I should also mention that unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, when you do a self-introspection, your weaknesses are laid bare. These weaknesses are uncomfortable to accept but you can only work on your weaknesses once you have identified them. In a powerful interview between Bishop TD Jakes and Pastor Steven Furtick (https://youtu.be/QVGk_jwyBXI), Bishop Jakes put it like this, “You are at your best when you are authentic to your core”.
This journey has by no means been all ‘hunky-dory’. Vodacom still sends those unpleasant “You have less than 5MB of data remaining” messages and I still have to fight thoughts that creep in and tell me I am useless. The lessons, however, have been worth it and deep down inside, there is a knowing that ‘All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.’
Image courtesy: https://shanegarrison.org/2016/08/30/new-lessons-in-transitional-ministry/
Lesedi Marumo is a fun loving, confident, opinionated, young women on a journey to self-discovery. At the center of her life is Christ and she hopes to live a purpose filled life that is pleasing to him.