When Your Career Breaks Your Heart

There was a time in my career when I felt heartbroken about my job๐Ÿ’”.

For two years I had a great job at a small company that I truly loved. I had been promoted to the Director level and was making the big bucks. I loved my colleagues and the work I was doing felt meaningful and fulfilling.

Then everything started to change.

As I stepped into my new leadership role, I experienced tension with my boss after I found out what was really going on at the company.  

The veil had been lifted and I didn't like what I was seeing...

  • Star employees were being underpaid and undervalued.

  • Budgets were being mismanaged.

  • Colleagues were being laid off for no good reason.

  • Opportunities were being missed.

It felt like going into work was a daily slog through conflict and office politics. I started to feel miserable.

My anxiety went way up and I even had a horrible panic attack one day in the middle of a meeting.

I started getting sick a lot -- first with a mysterious stomach thing that landed me in the hospital for a night, and then with a flu that took three weeks to recover from.

I knew I had to start making a plan to leave the company, but I couldn't see myself finding a new job-job (you know...the kind with another boss-boss), so I started seriously brainstorming about how to start my own business.

A few months later, I scheduled a meeting with my boss and told him I wanted to phase out of my position over the next 6-12 months while I started my own business.

I presented a plan of succession that included me helping to recruit and train my replacement, working part-time, and then collaborating in partnership on future opportunities.

I was proud of how much thought I put into my proposal and hopeful of our next steps.

What happened next, surprised the heck out of me...๐Ÿ˜ฑ

My boss fired me! Yep, that happened.

In hindsight, I should have expected that -- he was, after all, a pretty poor leader.

But I hadn't in my wildest dreams expected him to fire me, and I was SHOCKED to say the least (and also panicked, because I wasn't ready to lose my income so suddenly).

I was terrified, angry, and heartbroken. I couldnโ€™t believe that this was happening to me!

I had trusted my boss to respond to my proposal in a positive and thoughtful way and he had severely let me down.

It felt like a breakup -- the grief was real and I was feeling it hard.

I tried to look towards the future, so I dove head-first into my business and worked hard to make money as a coach and a teacher.

All the while I struggled emotionally with the transition. I talked about it in therapy and with friends, and I journaled a lot.

I also started seeing a naturopath and an acupuncturist to help me heal my body which felt broken from all the stress.

Finally, I surrendered to the whole thing and hoped time would heal my broken heart.

Now I'm over it (sort of). It still feels a bit like a break-up that never got closure.

In the end, I know what happened to me was for the best. I wasn't thriving in that job and needed to leave anyways.

Now I'm happier and healthier than I've ever been.

If I hadn't been fired and forced to dive head-first into my business, I probably wouldn't have built the business you see before you today.

At least that's the way I see it now over three years later.

Why am I telling you this story?

Because I want you to know that sometimes the only way through hard times is through them.

The reason why something bad is happening isn't always clear until years later.

And you'll grow stronger in the broken places if you do the work on yourself to learn and continually improve.

So...

If you're heartbroken about your job -- it's okay, that happens sometimes.

If you're getting sick a lot because you're so stressed at work -- it's okay, you can change things.  

If you got fired for something that feels weird and awkward and confusing -- it's okay, you're not a failure.

If you are grieving over a job, a career, or a business -- it's okay, it will get better.

Your career is personal and sometimes it's going to feel deeply personal.  

My advice is to look at these symptoms as a sign that something needs your attention.

Do you need to:

  • Prioritize self-care right now?

  • Take more breaks at work, set boundaries, or advocate for yourself?

  • Talk to a career coach and/or a therapist about it?

  • Give yourself time and permission to grieve and feel all the feels?

If this is you right now. It's okay. You will be okay.

What you are going through is something that is very, very normal for many of my clients.

The only way out is through. What do you need to prioritize to make things feel better?

Hang in there girl. Every career has its ups and downs and you WILL get through this. I promise.

If you need some extra help, then I invite you to consider my 90-day Superwoman Academy virtual training program dedicated to helping you feel more powerful, lead others and make a difference. Learn more here.