"I just don't think anyone wants me!"
"Is the problem me?"
"Maybe I'm just not meant to work."
"Am I just weird?"
"Will I be unemployed forever!?"
"How could they do this to me?"
"What will I tell my children?"
"I just don't think I can try again."
"I just don't feel like I fit anywhere."
"I'll have to mask in that work environment."
"They won't accept my disability."
All of these phrases have been said to me through tears while clients navigate the many emotions of career transitions. Even in my own career journey, I have found myself completely gutted at the ruthless practices we sometimes find at the heart of workplace interactions.
It's not uncommon that I will look at a client and say, "Have you ever considered what you're experiencing through the lens of grief?"
Grief isn't just something that happens when a loved one dies. Grief can occur when a dream is deferred or when workplace injustice occurs but is never addressed. Grief can happen when you're wrongly evaluated at work and passed over again and again for a promotion.
Work grief can happen when it's time to close a chapter or when you unexpectedly lose a job. Or when you find out for the third time in a row, you just weren't the candidate they picked.
But isn't grief something you talk about with a counselor?
Sure - sometimes it can be really important to review your grief with a licensed therapist, to see where it touches other themes in your life story. But grief is not a topic that is reserved for only clinical settings. Grief is a distinctly HUMAN experience that has practical, mental, social, and even spiritual implications for some people.
I work with clients who find themselves in the middle of work grief. Sometimes it's brought on by life transitions. Perhaps they are recovering from burnout. Usually, they are leaders who need a chance to look back before they can look forward. By exploring their values, strengths, and story, they find their way back to their core and are reminded of their purpose.
If you or someone you know is stuck in work grief, reach out for a free introductory call. Write to info at chicagocareerconsulting dot com with the subject line "work grief."