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Abundance and Jobs

14 August 2014 4 Comments

Tom had a look of despair; there was no life in his eyes.   He appeared at my office. His beard was unkempt and his unruly brown hair hung down to his shoulders.  His friend Mike had counseled with me and told Tom to see me.

I motioned toward the blue sofa.  “Make yourself comfortable.”

“You’ve got a lot of books,” he said nodding toward the bookcase built into one wall in my office.  “Have you read all those?”

“I’ve had lots of years to read.” I chuckled.

He shifted his position like he was trying to get comfortable.  I offered him a glass of water and brought it to him .

 “What’s the problem?” I asked.

“I lost my job.  I can’t find a new one.  There’s nothing out there.” 

I could feel his pain in my stomach—an ache from hopelessness.

“How long have you been looking?”

 “More than a year.”  He grasped his head between his hands and stared down at the beige Oriental rug. “I’m ready to give up.  I’m desperate.  At times I wish I were dead.”

My stomach tightened.  I felt concern he might be suicidal.  As his counselor I needed to know.

 “Have you thought about hurting yourself?”

 “Not so far.”

 “Have you had any ideas how you’d do it?”

  “No, I’ve just imagined going to sleep and not waking up. Or fancying a car might hit me.”

  “How long have you had these thoughts?”

  “They started a couple weeks ago. That’s when I spoke to Mike, and he insisted I call you.”

  I felt relieved he was not thinking about harming himself.  “What happened to your job? How’d you lose it?”

  “I worked for a high tech company.  It sold computers and IT stuff. The owner, Steve, called me along with Frank and Jim into his office. Steve told us he was taking a leave of absence.”

“Did he say how long he’d be gone?”

“Not really.  Instead, he surprised us.  He gave Frank fifty thousand dollars, Jim twenty thousand dollars, and me ten thousand dollars.  He explained he was giving us money in accordance with how he valued our abilities.  He wanted us to make good use of the money until he returned.”

“That’s unusual. What’d you do?”

I put the money in a safe.”

“Why?”

“I was afraid.  I just wanted to make sure I could give Steve back the ten thousand dollars he’d given me.”

“When did he return?”

“Steve was gone three years—a lot longer than I’d expected.” 

“What happened when he got back?”

“Each of us met with him.  Frank had gone right to work to advance the company.   He worked hard.  He gave Steve back one-hundred thousand dollars, double his money.  Jim had likewise worked diligently.  He doubled his money to forty thousand dollars.  Steve was proud of them.  He told them they’d done well and promoted them both to higher positions with greater pay and responsibilities.  Frank and Jim were exuberant.  Steve invited them to celebrate with him. They looked like they’d gone to Heaven.”

“And you.  What happened with you?”

“I gave Steve his ten-thousand dollars back.  I explained I was too afraid to do anything with it for fear I’d lose it and he’d be mad at me.”

“What’d Steve say?”

“He told me I should have used the money, not just stored it.  His tone was harsh.  I felt ashamed.” 

“How’d you respond?”

“I told him he was mean and deceitful.  He glared at me.  Told me I was a fool.  Said I’d done nothing constructive with the money.”

“Wow! That must have hurt.”

“I told him he didn’t earn his success honestly. I accused him of stealing his ideas from others.  I said he didn’t sow what he reaped.”

“How’d Steve respond to that?”

 “He shook his head.  Called me lazy and evil.  Said the least I could have done was to deposit the money in the bank to earn interest while he was gone.  He took the ten thousand dollars from me and gave it to Frank.  Then, he fired me.  He was just as cruel as I’d thought.”

“What happened then?”

“I tried everything but I couldn’t find a job. I felt like I’d gone to Hell.”

“It sounds like you had. There are few things more painful to a man than not to have a job.” I leaned forward.  “What did you do?”

“I told everybody how vindictive Steve was to me,  but that didn’t help get me very far. I told them how desperate I was to make some money so I could live.  They could see from the holes in my jeans and my shoes how poor I was.  But no one offered me a job.  Feeling sorry for myself didn’t bring me any money.  It didn’t raise my spirits either.”

“Did you try taking responsibility for what you did?”

“What do you mean?” Tom scowled at me.  “Steve fired me!  He’s to blame!”

“But you did nothing for the company while he was gone.  You did nothing to advance it or make any profits.”

“Making profits is greedy.  That’s what all businesses do. They’re in it just for themselves. They take advantage of their workers and their customers.”

“But how can a business hire you or anyone if they don’t make profits?  How would it pay you?  How can it pay for the research to create new products to sell?  How would it create loyal customers if its policy was to take advantage of them?”

“I don’t know.”  He shrugged.  “I hadn’t thought about that.  All I see is a few greedy rich men getting richer.”

“Your envy and your anger have gotten in the way of your seeing clearly.  You probably don’t understand that governments tax away around forty-five percent of the profits from every company, and they tax another thirty-five percent from what you’re paid.  The federal and state governments just regulate. They produce nothing. So who’s truly greedy?”

He nodded.  “I didn’t grasp governments take so much.”    

“Most people don’t.  Did you realize when you put your ten-thousand dollars in a safe you took it out of circulation?”

“What difference does that make?”

“Money is meant to circulate.  Wealth is created through investment.  When you store money away you stop adding to the increase of abundance, not just for yourself but for everyone.  When you deposit your money in a bank they lend it or invest it to make more money by keeping it circulating.”

“Hmmh.  I’d just pictured them putting it in a safe like I did.”

“I’ve been like you,” I said with a laugh.  “I kept money in a bank deposit box when inflation was rampant in the 1970s and the dollar was depreciating.  That doesn’t make us evil.   But we need to understand how finances work and how we’re all interdependent.  Money is like love.  It’s not like a piece of pie that gets consumed.  It doesn’t disappear when you give it to someone else.  It multiplies through investing and circulating.”

“I get what you’re saying.  I’ve felt my love increase when I’ve shared it.  I now can see why Steve called me lazy, but I don’t understand why he called me evil.”

“Did it occur to you that you rebuked Steve for the very thing you’d done?”

“What’d you mean?”  Tom raised his tone and his eyebrows. 

“You didn’t sow.  You didn’t work or even invest the money. You reaped by getting paid at your job through the work of others.  In a way, you stole from Frank and Jim.”

Tom stared out the window.  We sat in silence.  Tears welled in his eyes.  “I see the truth in what you’re saying.”

“You aren’t the only one who’s justified attacking based on feeling like a victim. I remember when I wanted to go to Mississippi to kill the men who had murdered three civil rights workers in 1964.  My counselor confronted me: ‘Then how would you be any different from the murderers?’”

Tom smiled.  “What can I do about my mistake?” 

“I suggest you pick a company where you’d really like to work.  A company you can help with your skills.  Offer to show them what you can do to contribute to their business by working for free for ninety days.  Ask them to agree to hire you at their going wage or salary if you’ve proved your worth.”

 Joy shone in Tom’s eyes.  “I can do that.” 

“I’ve one more suggestion.  Do a bit more than what you’re paid to do to increase abundance in the world.”

We shook hands as he parted.

Four months later Tom returned to see me.  His hair was cut and combed and his face clean shaven.  His shoes were shined. I enjoyed the aroma of his Old Spice aftershave. 

“I got a job!”  His eyes danced.

“What happened?”

“After I saw you I visited several companies.  I met the owners.  My attitude was different. I respected them instead of judging them.  I understood what they’re up against: their competition, their payroll, government taxes and regulations.”

“Did any of them make you an offer?”

“I didn’t give them a chance.  I hadn’t found what I was looking for.”

“What was that?”

“One day I just popped into my old company.  I asked to see Steve.  I held my breath hoping he’d talk to me.”

“Did he?”

“I was surprised.  He did.  He looked at me suspiciously.  I think he was questioning what I was up to.”

“What’d you tell him?”

“I apologized to him.  I told him I understood more about why businesses need profits and how money needs to circulate.  He looked amazed.”

“I bet he was.”

“He was really astonished when I admitted I got what I deserved and I now understood why he’d fired me.”

“Good for you.”

“Steve extended his hand to me.  We shook hands.  That’s when he did the most unexpected thing.”

“What?”

“He asked me if I wanted my job back!”

“And?”

 “I said ‘Yes!’  ‘Welcome back,’ he said. We hugged and I wept.” 

My eyes moistened as I smiled. “So how’s it going?”

“I love my new job,” Tom said.  “It’s not my old job.  I’ve changed.”

 

©Doug Welpton, M.D

 

 

4 Comments »

  • Jessica said:

    Pure Wisdom!! Give more, and be willing to receive. Then… Give even more!!
    Abundance in all areas of our lives is always there… Waiting for the gift of you!
    Great article Dr. Doug!! Thank you for sharing YOUR abundance!!

  • drwelpton (author) said:

    Jessica,
    Thank you for your support. Abundance is ours but we must claim it and act to increase it!
    I appreciate your helping me to spread the word, Dr. Doug

  • Kassie said:

    WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for
    abundance

  • drwelpton (author) said:

    Kassie,
    I am pleased you find this story helpful in your search for abundance. God makes abundance available to everyone. Our challenge is to claim it for ourselves and do what we need to do to bring riches of every sort into our lives. My blessings to you, Dr. Doug

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