Have you ever quit a job, then later—maybe while saying goodbyes on your last day, or a few weeks into your new gig—wondered, What am I sad about? I didn’t even want that job…
When I left my software career to go all in with life coaching—a decision I was super excited about—I also felt surprisingly intense grief. I was going to miss my inspirational boss, laughing with my coworkers every day, my predictable paychecks. I had proven my talents in the industry. There was a fancy title on my biz cards.
So who was I now?
Career change brings a sense of loss. Yes, even when it’s by choice. You might feel the loss of friendships, identity, status, income.
Even when it’s by choice, career change brings a sense of loss.
Why you should feel it, even when it hurts
Our feelings—even uncomfortable ones like grief—are just information. When you allow them to exist, they can direct you to what you need.
Remember that discomfort is temporary. When you allow your feelings to move through your body, they soon fade.
If that sounds weird, just trust me. Sometimes I’m scared to cry. I think I might not be able to stop once I start. But really, all I need is that good cry, and a minute or two later I’m like, “Babe, I’m good. Let’s go to Chipotle!”
How to make this a habit
When it comes to grief, or any feelings really, being present is key. Since it can be hard to be present when you’re in the middle of big emotions, you want to make this a habit.
Pause during your day, and answer these questions:
- What is my mind doing? What is it doing in general—replaying the past, planning the future, catastrophizing? What specific thoughts do you notice?
- What emotions do I feel? Whatever comes up, don’t judge it or try to make sense of it. Simply notice. Remember that emotions are simply information.
- What body sensations do I feel? Mentally scan your body from head to toe and notice any sensations.
Here’s an example of how this might look as you walk out of a stressful meeting at your new job.
Ok, that meeting sucked. Time to check-in. What is my mind doing? Replaying what just happened. Imagining my boss calling me into his office. I messed up. He probably wants to fire me. What emotions do I feel? Shame. Regret. Anxiety. Excited because he gave me that new project. What body sensations do I feel? My neck and shoulders are tight. I’m not breathing very deeply. I’m smiling. It’s fake. I feel a weight on my chest. Sadness. I’m going to head to the bathroom and take a few deep breaths.
This is especially powerful with regular practice. How could you make this part of your daily routine?
How can you make this part of your daily routine?
It’s not as scary as you think
Loss happens, even when it’s by design. By noticing all of your feelings without judgement, you’ll learn to allow them, learn from them, and come out on the other side knowing it wasn’t nearly as scary as you thought.
“Your feelings have a right to life.”Mandy Kubicek