In 1981 Illinois Bell Telephone (IBT) downsized from 26,000 employees to just over half that many in one year. The remaining employees faced changing job descriptions, company goals and supervisors. One manager reported having 10 different supervisors in one year. Dr. Maddi and his research team were already studying more than 400 supervisors, managers and executives at IBT before the downsizing occurred and they were able to continue following the original study group on a yearly basis until 1987.
Results shows that about two-thirds of the employees in the study suffered significant performance, leadership and health declines as the result of the extreme stress from the deregulation and divestiture, including heart attacks, strokes, obesity, depression, substance abuse and poor performance reviews. However, the other one-third actually thrived during the upheaval despite experiencing the same amount of disruption and stressful events as their co-workers.
These employees maintained their health, happiness and performance and felt renewed enthusiasm.
In hard times, when all hell breaks loose and life is turned upside down will you thrive or be one of those who fall apart. The Exodus is a story about thriving under adversity. it is a story about staying grounded in who we are and the covenant promises God has made. Only when we remember that can we be like the 1/3 who thrive in the midst of hardship and actually find that God has a plan, a plan for our redemption, growth and formation as a unique people of God.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).