Losing Your Job Can Break Your Heart

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Twenty years ago today I started my job at Arthur Andersen, which was the best job I ever had.

For the first time in my career, I was working with professionals I respected and admired, and in an organization where I felt like I fit.

I’d always felt like an outsider in my previous jobs, even as I worked with great colleagues, many of whom became (and still are) personal friends.

Arthur Andersen felt like home from my first day. My manager was brilliant and a strong leader, and my team was close. We did valuable work I was truly proud of – the best of my career.

On my 40th birthday in 2002, my team decorated my cube with glitter, balloons, cards, and cupcakes. My manager took us out for a fancy lunch and champagne.

After that, everything changed. It became clear that Arthur Andersen would not survive the indictment (that was overturned in a record-short deliberation by the Supreme Court years later, by the way).

The 90-year-old company I loved went out of business in six weeks.

I was – and remain – heartbroken. My heartbreak is on public record, published in a Letter to the Editor in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, April 11, 2002.

If your heart is broken from losing your job, I get it.

If you find yourself wondering who you are without your position at your previous company, you’re not alone.

If you find yourself grieving for something you lost, give it space and acknowledge that something WAS lost.

Many career coaches don’t want to dive into the sticky personal and emotional stuff that is really holding you back – like heartbreak. If you need help working through this, please reach out.

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