Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The New Meaning to Stimulus


a. A leave of absence or vacation, especially one granted to a member of the armed forces.
b. A usually temporary layoff from work.
c. A leave of absence from prison granted to a prisoner.

2. The papers or documents authorizing a leave.

tr.v. fur·loughed, fur·lough·ing, fur·loughs
1. To grant a leave to.
2. To lay off (workers).

Lately, I have developed a new appreciation for the word "furlough."

You can see the definition above for furlough taken from the free online dictionary. While I already knew the definition and the word, I now understand it far better. Or, I'm about to.

For the first time in my life, I am about to experience a furlough from work. Beginning Friday, I will be on unpaid leave from my job. I'm not alone. Everyone who works for our company will be taking 4 weeks of unpaid leave from January - August. Hopefully, the furloughs will not extend longer than that. I guess we'll wait and see how the economy goes between now and then. And, further into 2009.

You see, I've watched the news since Fall time about the economy and how the economy is struggling. I've watched the news intently as they've talked about businesses closing, job layoffs, shut-downs, and yes, furloughs. At first, I had a causal interest, but as the Fall became Winter, I watched with a different perspective in mind.

Our company hasn't made the news, we are a small business of about 100 employees. So, we rarely receive press coverage, and that's fine. But, the stagnant economy is hitting more than just the big three car companies, The Home Depot, and the banks. It is also hurting companies like the one I work for.

So, beginning Friday, I will be joining the ranks of unpaid American workers who are questioning what 2009 will hold for us. By every stretch of the imagination, I'm thankful I have a job! I'm thankful that my boss has done everything in her power to keep the employees we have. Her job is not one that I would want to have now or ever.

Over the next week, I have a lot of work planned. My wife has given me a very detailed list of "honey-do" things that need doing around the house. I'll be painting. I'll be doing yardwork. I'll be building Evan a toy box.

On the other hand, I won't be working. I won't be answering emails. I won't be answering the phone, networking with contacts, assigning writers with articles, attending meetings. I won't be drawing a pay check. That will be the first time that's happened since I began working full-time at the age of 20 years old.

I'll do fine. God is gracious and He provides. Tonya and I aren't worried. We are blessed far more than we deserve to be.

I would ask you to pray for my fellow employees. Pray for other companies that are facing the same decisions we are facing. Pray for employees, of big and small companies, who will be furloughed or laid off in 2009. Difficult days are ahead in 2009.

I don't blame the Democrats. I don't blame the Republicans. I think all of us share some of the responsibility for where we find ourselves today. We've lived so far above our means that we feel that we are entitled to that. Where are we promised that? Where are we promised that we will have bigger and better than our parents? Where are we promised that someone else should support us? Coverage our mortgage? Bail us out when we get ourselves into debt?

James 4:14 gives the promise. Not the promises above. But another promise. James said (in my paraphrase) that life is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. If I live to be 75 or even 80, what is that really? It's just a vapor. What's all the money I make? A vapor. What's work really about? Again, a vapor.

So, as you pray, pray for our economy, yes by all means do that. Pray for companies struggling to get by. But, more importantly, pray for people who haven't yet grasped the truth that there is more to life than what takes place at work, or on vacation, or out shopping. Or building treasures on earth. Life is about a relationship with Jesus Christ. Life is preparing to meet Him in glory.


  1. "Dangerous" prayers said for you this morning Steve. Man, I hated to read this today. But do appreciate hearing about your faith and trust. Do hope that all the "honey dos" don't undo you. :)

  2. Thanks Bill and Camey for your prayers...all of us around here appreciate it more than you know!

  3. I'm there with you. I work for the local community college. We have NEVER had a spring break in our department.

    This year, we have two weeks.

    We will work the first two weeks in April, then have two weeks off. Then, we work two weeks in May, and take two weeks off.

    Without pay, obviously, because I am "hourly."

    The company Bernard works for has laid off I think somewhere near half of their workers.

    But, like you, I am (trying) to trust in and on God. He will provide.

  4. Steve, I'm adding these "specifics" to the regular prayers for you and your family, and expanding to include your co-workers and friends, too.

  5. :( I said a prayer on your behalf and for your co-workers. I'm very sorry to read this news. Your faith and trust in God is inspiring.


  6. Praying for you and your colleagues.

    BTW, they did away with the term "furlough" for missionaries. It is now Stateside Assignment. You are expected to continue the work while you are in the US. So much for Rest, Re-group, and Rejuvenate! ;-)


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.