Recently, I decided to change jobs. I had been working at the same job for 15 years, and I was very comfortable. I made my pros and cons list and decided the pros of the new job outweighed the cons. I was thinking “the grass is greener” on the other side (or with this new job).
Fast forward one week into my new job. The grass was greener for the many things that were on my pros list, but what I did not expect or even consider is the grief I was experiencing. I was grieving my former job. Not that I wanted to go back, or that I made the wrong decision, but grieving something that was such a prominent part of me for 15 years and now gone.
Thankfully, my next step was to review the stages of grief and loss.
1. Denial and Isolation – this is a great one because I thought that this new job would give me more energy because I’d have more time at home. But each night, I was exhausted and only wanted to go to bed. Then, I remembered I was in the denial and isolation phase.
2. Anger – I was mad at everything: my husband, my kids, myself, my new co-workers, my former co-workers. Then I remembered I was in the anger phase.
3. Bargaining – then I began to think that maybe I should go back to my former job and forget all the pros and personal growth opportunities with the new one. Then, I remembered I was in the bargaining phase.
4. Depression – I stressed myself out by the other three phases so much that I physically got a cold and huge cold sore! I thought, “This is horrible. I can’t do this.” I was depressed. Then, I remembered I was in the depression phase.
5. Acceptance – once I read through these phases and remembered this was part of the process of grief and loss, I could accept (and rejoice in!) my new job and my great decision making. I remembered I was in the acceptance phase.
When making any big decision in our lives, we would do well to remember that grief and loss will come with it. By identifying grief and loss as that—grief and loss—we can move through the phases with the purpose of being human and not second-guessing ourselves. The grass isn’t always greener, but we can paint our world any color we want!