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Are You Grieving The Loss Of A Job?

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Are You Grieving The Loss Of A Job?

Affirmations For Finding A New Career
David  Kessler
David Kessler More by this author
Feb 02, 2015 at 08:15 AM

When it comes to types of losses, a big one for many people is job loss. This probably comes as no surprise because we live in a world that confuses “doing” with “being.” In other words, what we do gets misinterpreted as who we are. When we meet someone new, one of the first questions we ask one another is: “What do you do?” So much value is placed on what we do for a living that when it’s stripped away, we’re left to wonder, Who am I now?

In 2008, Steve was having a regular morning working in the corporate office of a durable medical-equipment company, returning calls as usual. He had been with the same company for 30 years, so most of the day-to-day issues he encountered, he had already solved dozens of times. His work was now a well-worn path, and his office was his second home.

That afternoon, Steve had his monthly meeting with his boss, Keith. As he walked in with the usual files in hand, he noticed that Linda, the head of Human Resources, was sitting beside Keith. Keith then stood up and said, “I’ll just step out for a bit and let you two talk.” Steve thought nothing of this. He had met with HR many times before over the years due to various employee issues. Today, he wondered who had done what. He was surprised when Linda said, “This is going to be a hard meeting, Steve.”

Wow, he thought, one of my employees must have done something really bad.

He definitely wasn’t prepared when she told him, “I’m sorry, but we have to let you go. Given the last few mergers, the CEO and executive team feel that we have enough talent, and your services have become redundant.”

Steve sat there stunned as she continued. “We’ll be keeping you on for two more weeks and then paying you three months of severance.”

“Is this for sure?” Steve asked. “Can I talk to Keith about this? Maybe he’ll change his mind.”

Linda put her hand on his and said, “We both know that when he’s made up his mind to do something, it’s unchangeable. Just accept it, Steve.”
For the next two weeks, Steve drove the commute that he had done repeatedly for the last 30 years, knowing that in a matter of days, he would never do it again. On his final day in the office, he packed up his belongings and looked around the room, realizing that he would never inhabit that space again. Three decades were ending in the amount of time he used to take for a vacation.

Luckily, his wife, Melissa, had been practicing affirmations for many years. She talked to him about accepting the loss, but not accepting his negative beliefs about it. They focused on the positive, and used the following affirmations:
My talents and abilities are in demand.
All is well.
I am safe.
“We need to be careful to watch our thoughts and spoken words,” Melissa told him. “It takes a lot of effort, because we’ve both been programmed by parents who lived through the Depression to ‘worry first and ask questions later.’”

Together, they kept one another on track. When well-meaning friends and family members pitied Steve’s situation and said, “It’s really terrible out there in the job market,” he would gently respond, “We don’t choose to believe that.” Steve and Melissa truly accepted and grieved the loss, but they also firmly rejected believing in a world of poverty and lack. Instead, they affirmed:
The Universe is lavish and abundant.
Steve felt the grief and confronted the pain with grace and courage. The fear and panic had subsided significantly as he opened himself up to new opportunities, and they came to him easily. Within two weeks of his job ending, he was offered a contract position that eventually led to a permanent job with an established company.

One of the lines we often hear when we lose a job is, It’s not personal, which means that it’s not personal to the employer. But of course to you as the employee, it’s absolutely personal. It’s haunting to believe that you were of great value to your company, yet now, in a very real way, they’ve said they can do the job without you. No wonder people are so often left feeling valueless.

When you feel that a work situation has indeed become personal, remember that it’s your job to personalize the healing. How about telling yourself:
I am of value.
Remember to affirm that statement solely based on who you are, not because of what you do. Keep this in mind, too: My value lies beyond any job.
Acceptance—that is, making peace with the reality that what just happened really has happened—can be the hardest part of dealing with job loss. You can’t change what happened, but you can accept and grieve it in a positive, productive manner.

Many people believe that acceptance means liking what has happened or being okay with it. What it actually means, however, is that you acknowledge the reality that the loss has occurred. You have moved from the “shouldn’t have happened” stage (denial), to the “it did happen” stage (acceptance).

In some ways, job loss is like a sudden death. It may feel like a betrayal. Similar to other losses, one of the keys is to pay attention to what your mind is saying. If it’s telling you, I’m no one anymore. I don’t matter in the world. I’m no longer relevant or of use to anyone, these are negative beliefs that should not be repeated. You need to accept the reality of the loss, but not these negative beliefs. Ultimately, you must realize that what has happened is actually for your highest good. To get in touch with what lies beyond your sight, try the following affirmation:
Everything is unfolding for my highest good.
You can read more about handling your grief and loss in the book I cowrote with Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Heart.

About Author
David  Kessler
David Kessler is one of the most well-known experts and lecturers on grief and loss. He co-authored two bestsellers with the legendary Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons. (David was honored to have been at Elisabeth’ Continue reading