When Your Husband Loses His Job

My husband lost his job last week. He’d worked for 30 years at the same company, well actually 5 different companies if you count name changes, mergers, bankruptcies and sales. He would have been eligible for an early retirement pension in two years. His job was eliminated from the organizational chart. That is corporate-speak for getting fired, let go, downsized, restructured, bid farewell, turfed, adios, au revoir, later loser. I digress.

I should be angry.

I should be upset.

But I feel like dancing a jig.

Ten years ago, my husband knew that his job no longer fit who he was. He didn’t quit. Quitting isn’t what men do. That’s why most of my clients are women, by the way. He believed that staying in his job allowed him to fulfill his role as a man – provider, hunter/gatherer, Tarzan. He gave up his soul for a regular paycheck and benefits – what he was taught to do. Over the last few years he was miserable. He tried to hide it but unhappiness at work spills over everywhere. He bargained with himself every week as he approached that early retirement date. He stretched the elastic of his soul trying to hold on.

You’d think that since my husband lived with a Life Coach who helps people to find and fulfill their true calling in life, that he knew that his real job in life was to express his true nature and add love to the world.

You’d be wrong.

The rules of society that he’d been taught to follow were so much more powerful. In his era the rules went something like this: Get job. Do what the company expects you to do. Keep job your whole life. Retire. Start having fun. Get sick and die within two months of your retirement while you are regretting that you didn’t have the courage to do something different earlier.

As the wife in this scenario, I have had the opportunity to take risk after risk in my work pursuing honest self expression in part because my husband had a “secure” job. In fact, my sister joked when she first heard the news.

Sister: So are you going to get a real job now?

Me: Actually, no. What I’m doing is my real job in life. So there! (Said with indignant outrage like it never occurred to me that his miserable job helped me in any way.)

Which brings me to the point of this blog.

The old agreement that employers and employees used to have, the one where they acted like parents – took care of you (pay, benefits , belonging and a job for life) and you got to be the child (show up, do what they asked you to and be gainfully employed) is dead.

Grieve it.

Because it never really existed.

Learn from my husband’s story and from many, many people who have lost their jobs when they never thought they would.

Your job security comes from you.

Figure out your talents and gifts now and find or create work that expresses your true nature. You create job security – by doing things you love and providing that to people who need it.

Losing a job that doesn’t reflect your true nature is a gift.

It is the response to a silent prayer.

It tells you that the universe has been listening to you.

It gives you permission to finally start doing something that expresses the real you.

Grieve the loss of the old world. Grieve the loss of your old schedule and colleagues. Grieve the loss of your future pension. Do some financial re-jigging. Put aside your ego and false pride. Embrace your truth.

Celebrate the freedom that is coming.

Take the keys to the prison, escape from the dungeon, dare to decide to recreate your life.

The universe has given you permission.

Embrace it.

This is what I’m embarrassed to admit. What I really feel about my husband losing his job is gratitude.

I’m grateful that he lost his job – because now he can leave that chapter behind him.

I’m grateful that it is his turn to learn this lesson – because the universe doesn’t give you anything that you can’t handle and this means he’s ready for it.

I’m grateful that it’s not too late – because he’s healthy and still youngish and can still do anything he wants.

I’m grateful that he can finally glimpse the joy and hope that is waiting for him just around this corner.

If you or someone you love has lost a job that doesn’t reflect their true nature, remember that you’ve been given a gift.

Embrace the gift and celebrate.


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