My Job Is Over … or Has It Just Changed? – Career Coaching Insights

FAN2044144Once again, I sit in a familiar place and hear the sounds of a musical performance that is about to begin – the orchestra is in those final moments of tuning, students and teachers are settling into their assigned places – and I am trying to recall just how many dozens, or even hundreds of times I have supported my kid and her school by being present at one, two, or even three performances of the same show.

But this one … is more significant … than all the others.  It’s the last event of a milestone school year.  My daughter has just graduated high school.  In a few far-too-short days, she will fly from our nest with a one-way ticket in hand and land in Dallas where she will attend Southern Methodist University (SMU), and take on her new role as a Mustang.

Our house is going to experience a different kind of quietness come September.  As parents of an only child, I’ll confess that this transition is a tough one for me and my husband.  One of my favorite jobs – a mom – is in large measure…over.  And I can’t escape the huge feeling of loss:

  • A loss of a cherished “title” (I will always be E’s Mom, but not needed nearly to the degree that I have been in the past)

  • A loss of purpose (not completely, of course, but daily parenting does direct your days and priorities!)

  • A loss of routine (deleting all the recurring appointments in my calendar for E’s carpooling brought tears)

  • A loss of my friend and fashion advisor (Who will finish my sentences or tell me which pair of shoes is the best choice for my outfit?)

  • A loss of one sector of my social circle (her friends often filled our house with activity and I truly enjoyed them so much),

  • and many more.

I am not focusing on just the losses…there are many gains, of course.  But in the course of this transition, I’ve had several insights that are helping me to navigate through the changes and be a better coach in the process (you knew I was bringing this around to a coaching topic, didn’t you?!).

When you coach someone who is grieving a job loss…

Remember to:

Coaching Question/Comment:

Invite them to express their loss.

“You’ve had a lot to deal with. How are you doing?” Or “What do you miss the most?”

Acknowledge their emotions–emotions are simply information, not symptoms of a deep-seated problem.

“There’s a lot of emotion there.”

Avoid rushing to reframe the situation as all “sunshine-and-roses.”

“This is a challenging season.” Or “What do you not want me to say at this moment?”

Celebrate the positives and accomplishments of the past.

“You did a good job in that position…what are you most proud of?”  “How can you celebrate those wins?”

Check in on their self-care.

“What are you doing to take care of yourself during this time? …”What’s helping you get through this?”…”who best understands what you’re going through?”

Spend time envisioning the future.

“What do you want to fill the future with?”

Working on self-care is a priority in my action plan for this transition.  And I will continue to fill my future with activities that are special, significant, simple.  Life is really good …in every season (including the hard ones).

My job isn’t really over…my “Mom” functions and tasks have just shifted.  And I am filled with gratefulness …for yesterday, today, and all the tomorrows still to come.


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