I have wept over work. I have felt defeated, dismissed, disregarded and so so sad about work.
Oh I’ve had my heart broken by romantic love, and by friends, and by family, too. But there was something so agonizing and surprising when I understood that I could experience loss, grief and isolation as a result of work. Work’s not a person, how can that be?
I know I’m not alone. Today I spoke to a remarkable new friend about the pain I’ve experienced at work’s demise, or even at work’s changes. The sense that I’d given everything, been generous and productive and great at what did, and still, it went south. We joked that in some cases, we’d given best years of our lives, the years where we could work the longest hours, felt the most physically strong, were the hungriest and the least distracted, just to have it rejected.
These days I’m hearing about work heartbreak daily.
💔 I loved that job, how could they let me go? 💔I was great at that job, what now? 💔 I care about these people, how do I tell them what’s about to happen? 💔I’m angry and sad about it- why? It’s just a job.
I’ll say it again. Most of us will spend more time working than we will do anything else. We explore ourselves, change ourselves, become more ourselves through work. We express our humanity through our minds, hands and hearts at work. Of course it hurts when it ends.
There are things we can do to promote healing, and we’ll get there. But now, for my former students who called with their lay-off news today, for my colleagues who are making tough decisions, let’s feel it. We grieve because something matters in the first place. How lucky are we to have things that matter?