Photo Credit: Netflix
When you lose someone you love, grief comes at you like a tsunami. Intellectually, you know losing a job is not the same as losing a loved one. Yet it is a loss, nonetheless. The heart and mind experience an emotional upheaval and a bruising blow to one’s self-esteem and sense of identity.
We are here for you. With a little help from the movie Wine Country, we invite you to pour a glass of the good stuff and ponder these five stages of job loss. You can and will get through it. You got this.
Abby, played by Amy Poehler, is a career-focused, type-A, single, divorced woman in her 40s. Losing her job has shaken her to the core and she channels her energy into designing the perfect weekend getaway to Napa with her besties. Eventually her stress takes over and she loses patience with hearing platitudes on life. She shouts, “Will it all fall into place? Will it?”
Moving Forward: Financial stress is one of the first ugly fears to raise its head. Remember the words of Yoda: “In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” The antidote to fear is illumination. Open your browser and check your financial net-worth and account balances. Coming up with a financial plan for the next 3-6 months allows your mind to shift from crisis management to more constructive modes of thinking.
Abby says: “Will someone else take care of me or will I always have to do everything myself?” When you work for a company, you place your trust in it, you give your time, energy, and best effort. It’s natural you would feel betrayed.
Moving Forward: A company will always put its own needs first, and you ought to do the same. This might mean making an effort to not burn bridges. Consider the words of Karen O’Boyle, president of global outplacement firm Mullin International: “As many as 60 per cent of departing employees will remain in their former company’s eco-system as buyers, suppliers, influencers or competitors.”
Abby says: “Last time I checked this world is pretty effing selfish.” You got fired. You got hurt. You feel angry; that’s normal.
Moving Forward: Embrace self-sufficiency and take time for self-care. Today it might be cocooning with ice cream, but tomorrow, it’s the treadmill, baby. Make an inventory of your best skills and contacts. Think about what you love doing most. What steps could you take to move toward your dream job?
Abby says: “It’s really stupid to even cry about it, because… people are starving in the world, and there’s earthquakes… people are shooting at each other and I’m crying about my stupid, poor job?” As her friend Val advises, “That doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid.”
Moving Forward: Be grateful for the experiences you’ve had and affirm your advantages. Losing a job is hard on anyone so “feel all the feels”, which is healthier than trying to suppress or deny them.
Half the film is over before Abby finally admits, “I lost my job, alright?”
“Why wouldn’t she tell us that?” asks Val.
“Some things are too scary to say,” responds her other friend Naomi.
Moving Forward: Fear of being judged is real. But your squad might surprise you. These are your relationships, connections and mentors – seek their counsel and ask for ideas. Accept that LinkedIn request. You never know who might introduce you to the next fascinating opportunity.