If you've worked long enough, the likelihood of your having to leave a job not on the best of terms or through no fault of your own are quite high. Between the state of the economy over the past several years or natural, normal attrition rates, many of us have lost our jobs at one point or another--we've been downsized, rightsized, outsized, outsourced, our positions were relocated, or we were simply let go with no real solid explanation. But here's the thing: on the drop of a dime, things can change! Our status can change in the blink of an eye. From the southern-most sphere on the organizational chart all the way north to the C-Suite--"Chief" of this or "Chief" of that--no one is exempt. What's interesting is that those who have held the most senior-level positions often have the most difficult time accepting or adapting to their new status of "Unemployed," or perhaps, their new "non-status" because they no longer hold the titles they previously held.
Not only might we experience drastic changes in titles, but unlike the days of yesteryear, employers, in general, are no longer giving away "free" money. So, they want employees, at all levels, to not just work for every dollar we're paid, in many instances, employers want employees doing more work than the dollars we're paid. So, for many, particularly those who've held management- or senior-level positions, the other drastic change on top of title is that one day, we may have more responsibilities on our hands than we have time to handle, and the next, we have more time on our hands than there are hours in a day. And I know from personal experience that, as a result, we can go a little stir-crazy, feeling a loss in direction, a loss in value, a loss in purpose, and, ultimately, a loss in identity, but why? Because, sometimes, we base so much of what we are and who we are in the work we do and for whom and with whom we do it.
To a degree, whenever we leave a place--really, any place--but whenever we leave a place we've worked, even if by choice, especially if we worked there for a significant period of time, it's natural to experience, in many ways and on many levels, a sense of loss and feelings of anxiety during and after the separation. The question, however, is how long should we experience this, realizing that the answer may vary among us because we're not all the same. But regardless of how different we are, there comes a point when the sense of loss and anxiety start to last way too long and we start to become stuck, unable to get past the reality that we no longer have the titles and responsibilities we previously had. As necessary, we should grieve the loss or separation from that place that has held a prominent place in our lives, but we should grieve it without actually losing our sense of direction, value, purpose, and identity.
Your identity nor my identity is defined or determined by what titles and positions we hold or how many responsibilities we have. And the truth is that many of us know this. The challenge, though, comes in genuinely accepting, regardless of how and why it happened, that our season with a particular employer has closed and our job assignment has come to an end. Grieve the loss, but don't get stuck. Recognize this time and season for what they are: the opportunity to now do that very next thing that you've been released from your previous job to now do and would not do if you were still there. Always remember: accept what is; let go of what's not; and be ready to move into the next season of your life.
Like you, Katrina loves seeing people in healthy relationships (with themselves and others) that they genuinely enjoy and not just simply tolerate. This blog is dedicated to achieving that vision.