I read a short excerpt from an interview of Grammy-nominated Christian singer, Steven Curtis Chapman. One of the topics discussed was the death of his five-year-old daughter two years ago. In answering a question about how the family is coping, Chapman replied:
“It’s not the defining thing in our lives, but it has redefined us.”
That is a very good philosophy to embrace when experiencing a job loss, as well.
Losing one’s job, whether it be through a firing, a downsizing, or a business completely closing, feels like such a kick in the gut. What we do for a living is so intertwined with who we are. And when that job is suddenly taken from us, it’s easy to lose all sense of purpose. We let that job loss be the defining thing in our lives.
But have you really lost everything?
Fortunately, no. You are still the same person in other aspects of life. You are someone’s child and a friend to others. Depending on you personal circumstances, you may also be:
- a parent
- a sibling
- a grandchild
- an aunt/uncle
- a niece/nephew
- a grandparent
- a member of a faith-based or social organization
- a volunteer
- a student
- a mentor
What you do in your occupation is simply one part of your life. A big part, yes, which is why the second part of Chapman’s response is equally important — “…it has redefined us.”
To pretend that a job loss doesn’t matter is foolish. Even if you totally hated your job and are glad to be out of there, you should take some time to truthfully reflect on what this means for you. What lessons can be learned from this experience? How can you take something from this generally negative situation and use it to make a better future for yourself? How will it redefine you?
Perhaps you will use this as an opportunity to make the switch into a career that is more fulfilling for you. Maybe you realize that you were not a team player and tended to push too hard to get your way. Whatever you discover in reviewing recent events, try to use them to redefine your life so that you can make better choices that will help you on your career path.
If you have experienced a job loss, how have you viewed it?
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