Surviving Stressors (Yes, Even Layoffs)

This week, we spoke to former pharmaceutical sales woman, Sarah Martin, about her experience surviving a recent layoff. Now, Sarah’s days are devoted to encouraging women to LIVE OUT! the Kingship of Christ in everyday life. You can read more from Sarah at


4word: How did you get into the pharmaceutical sales industry? Was that the career path you originally chose?

Sarah: My senior year in college I met a pharmaceutical sales rep at a career fair. She really looked liked she loved her job. The fact that I could talk to people all day long drew me in, and I made it a long-term career goal. But, I needed experience. So worked a few other sales related jobs, and after a year of interviews (yes, that is ONE whole year) I finally landed this dream job.

4word: What was the first thought that went through your head when you got the news that you were being laid off? 

Sarah: Honest truth: Will we have enough money for me to keep my beloved smart phone, data plan and our television cable? I know this sounds so silly but I desperately wanted to cling tightly to those things in life that are more guilty pleasures than necessities.

4word: Did you have any foreknowledge that your company was doing layoffs or was it completely out of the blue?

Sarah: Because I’m a seven-year veteran of the industry, I could see the writing on the wall. I just didn’t think the announcement of impending layoffs would come around so quickly–as in right before Christmas, of all times. I definitely had several freak out moments as I wrapped presents and prepared the house for family to arrive.

I do have to say that my company was very good to me. The severance package was exactly what my family needed to make a peaceful transition. God is so good and faithful to provide, even when my first inclination is to worry about keeping silly things like my Blackberry and my cable TV!

4word: What’s your plan to navigate this career transition?

Sarah: What I didn’t mention before is that my heart is for ministry and writing books to encourage women to live out the Kingship of Christ in every day life. My job provided my family with means to save money and prepare for a future life of ministry work.

Yet, I had grasped onto the financial comfort that it provided and had yet to step out in faith in full time ministry. God knew my heart and literally shut this chapter of my life quickly so I could no longer hem and haw over it.

So, what’s next? I’m now staying at home as a mom, wife and author.

4word: Was this a major stressor for you? How did you handle that stress?

Sarah: Yes, it was very stressful, which is ironic since I just finished writing a book called Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties In A Decade Of Drama. I realized that, though I thought I was a flexible person, I’m really not one for change. For years I kept the same schedule, the same work patterns and even the same wardrobe style. Now I must create my own schedule and stick to it. I’ve had to adjust to the lack of structure in my daily schedule and discipline myself to follow through with writing deadlines and responsibilities at home.

I really wish I could say I handled the stress well every day. Tears of fear and frustration occurred often, but I reminded myself that I must practice what I preach: trust God in every single area of life and relinquish my self-perceived control.

I would like to share one of my tricks to relieving stress. When I feel like my to-do list is unmanageable and all I want to do is hide in bed and never come out, I force myself to hand over the list to the Lord. One morning while trying to read the Bible, I was distracted by my growing to-do list. I allowed myself to put my Bible down and write it all out. Then, instead of getting up to work on said list, I got on my knees and prayed over it. I simply asked God for His wisdom to tackle my tasks with efficiency and clarity of thought. Oh how He provided. That very morning, I finished the projects on the list with thirty minutes to spare!

Trusting God and refraining from allowing life’s drama to stress me out is a day-by-day task for me. But when I look back at how He’s provided over the last year, I have every reason in the world to continue to hand my stress over to Jesus and join Him in His plan for my life.


What about you ladies? How have you survived similar periods of stress in your own lives? Let us know in the comments.