Are you out of work now? I feel your pain. I lost two six-figure jobs in less than five years. That turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I joined a small technology startup when I was fresh out of college. This was before the World Wide Web was invented. It was exciting to help build that company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise with clients across the globe. Over sixteen years later they dismissed me with only a modest severance payment.
At the same time, my wife had just left a lucrative partnership to start her own business. With four kids and a mortgage, it was easy to give in to despair. However, my wife was a great inspiration. She helped remind me to have faith in HaShem to always do what is best for us.
I immediately called the telecom vendor we had used at my prior job. I said, “Good news. I am available for employment!” Within two months, I was working. I felt a tremendous sense of relief. The world does not owe me a job. It was a scary time, and it was challenging to maintain my faith.
After four years of hard work and long hours, the global financial crisis of 2008 triggered widespread layoffs. One of the company’s owners called me into his office on a Friday afternoon. He said, “Victor, close the door. This is going to be bad.” I replied, “No, Ed, this is going to be good. I am a man of faith, and everything that happens is for the best.” He probably thought I was in shock or something, but I felt a sense of calm and peace envelop me when I said those words.
I went home to get ready for Shabbos. I danced and sang Lecho Dodi as I always do, without telling anyone that I was unemployed. Again. I waited until after Havdallah as Shabbos concluded to reveal my news. Fortunately, my wife kept her positive attitude and supported me completely; literally. Her business had grown, and she had just taken space in a nearby commercial building. She even encouraged me to attend morning Kollel. I felt very lucky to be able to learn in the mornings and then come into the office in the afternoons.
After a year of this routine, my Rov advised me to go back to work full time. My wife and I started a new tech company, which did not work out. We then chose to pursue her dream to design fashion apparel. Her label enjoyed wide acclaim in magazines, on celebrities, and with social media influencers. Despite all of the warm support, sales were flat. The pandemic only sealed its fate. Today we continue to work together in the expediting business she founded when we were originally both out of work. We continue to be thankful to HaShem (especially when we have to make payroll, and it appears out of thin air.)
I share this because I know a lot of our readers are out of work or experiencing challenges right now. I have been there. I lost two high-paying jobs in five years and tanked two startup companies in ten years. But I am here to give thanks that HaShem never once let me down. Things will get better for you, as they have for me. Instead of working late nights and commuting over two hours a day as I had to do for twenty years, I now work ten minutes away from my house and spend my days with the people I love. There are no more all-nighters or counting vacation days. Sure there are challenges. That’s why they call it “work”.
If you are struggling, cultivate your faith. Trust that everything HaShem does is truly for your benefit. Believe that it is the very best for you, even if you can not currently see that. All will be revealed in time. You will look back on this period of challenge and realize that it was a “grand reset.” This gives us time to take a step back and reprioritize our lives. Enjoy this experience as a gift. Use it to shift your focus to what genuinely matters most.