Grieving a Career Change and Moving Forward

posted in: Grief Recovery 0

In this guest blog I am sharing the wisdom of Grief Recovery Specialist and Trainer, Laura Jack, from The Grief Recovery Institute. I hope you find this blog helpful.

We often associate grief with a significant loss such as the death of a loved one, but grief can arise with any change we experience in our life. According to the Grief Recovery Institute, grief is “the conflicting feelings that come at the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior,” and it is also “the loss of hopes, dreams, or expectations.”

As we are confronted with the realities of coronavirus, these last few weeks have been full of lost hopes, dreams and expectations in the form of cancellations, closures, and tremendous change and uncertainty. This has resulted in a collective grieving experience throughout society. Our careers are one place where many people are feeling these intense changes, as much of our identity is often wrapped up in what we do for a living. Before I share examples of work-related grieving experiences and how to cope in a healthy way, I want you to know that it’s okay to grieve the loss and uncertainty you are experiencing, no matter how big or small.

Here are some examples of grieving experiences related to work:

  • You are adjusting to working from home while taking care of your children, and you feel like you are unable to do either of them well. Maybe you feel grateful, overwhelmed, concerned, guilty, relieved, ill-equipped.

  • You and your partner are now home together and it is causing a mix of emotions. Perhaps you are feeling distracted, unproductive, joyful, uncertain, annoyed.

  • You were up for a promotion and that was put on hold. Now you are feeling resentful, understanding, doubtful, curious, grateful, hopeful, or sad.

  • You got laid off and you have to go on unemployment and you feel concerned for your family, anxiety-filled about the future, grateful for the time to reflect, or even possibly relieved because you were wishing for a way out.

  • You still have a job, but you have had to let other people go, or friends of yours lost their jobs. You feel relieved, grateful, heart-broken, worried, guilty, disappointed, motivated.

  • You work in a profession where you are now deemed “essential.” You have been wishing for years that people would value you and now they are on some level. Perhaps you feel worried for your well-being, disappointed that it took a crisis, under-appreciated, stuck, grateful they need you, irritated that you can’t take time off.

  • You miss your routine. Perhaps you are a creature of habit and being isolated away from the world isn’t good for your mental health, but you feel like you “should” feel grateful that you still have your job.

  • You have been working on a project for months and now it has been put on the back burner. You are feeling confused about your value, disappointed about the work you have done, grappling with uncertainty, grateful you have a job.

Whatever changes you are grieving, whatever your hopes, dreams and expectations may be,  just remember, it is okay. Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of ANY KIND.

Here are some mindset shifts that will help you cope and move forward with this experience in a healthy way:

  • Relate kindly to yourself and others during times of suffering. When we compare and despair no one wins; it only causes more isolation and disconnection.

  • Acknowledge that your experience is valid and unique, and in the same breath your feelings are valid and universal. When you can come to terms with the uniqueness and universality of your experience, then you can extend that compassion to others.

  • Let go of the “should” and the “at least.” When you “should” or “at least” yourself or others, you are likely diminishing the experience. The only way to truly move through this experience and potentially even grow through is to acknowledge the validity of yours and other people’s experiences.

  • Let go of guilt. As a Grief Recovery Specialist, I teach that guilt is the intention to harm. Ask yourself, “Do I or did I have any intention to harm?” Likely there are other feelings underneath like: sadness, disappointment, frustration, anger, or just wishing things were different.

  • Feel your feelings. If you feel sad, grateful, angry, scared, or any other feeling, find a safe place or space to cry or share. (A safe place or space is a place where you can let it out or a person who can hear you without judgement or trying to fix you).

  • Take care and have compassion for yourself first. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is actually imperative to be able to take care of others.

  • Give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt. We are all experiencing a tremendous amount of grief and more than anything we need to remember to BE compassionate, as everyone is going through something (even you).

  • Contribute however you can. If you have money, skills, love, music, prayer, food — whatever your talent or the place you feel abundant is where you can give.

  • Recognize that receiving is a gift that someone else gets to give. Thus, if you are someone who needs help, your contribution can be gratitude when others give to you.

  • Vent with gratitude. Once you have properly acknowledged your grief, allow yourself to celebrate and feel gratitude as well.

Just as the ground after a fire is the most fertile place for growth, your life after this has the potential for a new beginning you never thought possible. While we don’t always get to choose what happens, we do get to choose how we respond. Let’s choose compassion, starting with compassion for ourselves. Then, and only then, can we offer our compassion to others.

May the bumpy road ahead be a growth-filled opportunity and a recognition of our common humanity, both personally and professionally.

Laura Jack coaches conscious, mission-driven leaders, decision-makers, and coaches to confidently navigate change and challenge with compassion and ease. As a Compassionate Communication & Leadership Coach, Trainer for The Grief Recovery Institute, International Best Selling Author, Speaker, and Founder of The Compassion Code Academy, she provides in-depth training for those who want to create a culture of compassion both personally and professionally.

Looking for support?

Canadian Grief Recovery Method Specialist, Tammy Adams loves to problem solve, inspire and motivate others who are ready and committed to change. Tammy has spent over 30 years in the field of education and as a Certified Life and Executive Coach Tammy teaches individuals to challenge and conquer their limiting beliefs and insecurities to create the life of their choosing. As a Grief Recovery Method Specialist Tammy understands that unresolved grief can limit an individual’s capacity for happiness and is gifted at supporting individuals through the pain and isolation cause by an emotional loss, of any kind, to a place of happiness they believed no longer existed. Tammy’s clients say, “Tammy helped me unpack the baggage and put a smile on my face in the process. It’s a rare quality for someone to fully listen without judgement but yet still steer you in the right direction.”

To learn more about Intuitive Understanding please visit or contact Tammy by email at