Many of you don’t know this about me, but when I was in The Waiting Room after my husband died I worked at a big company at a job I did not like but paid the bills.

After all, I could not be a grief therapist while I was grieving so much myself.

My job at this company was in HR and I had to let go of people quite regularly.

I walked hundreds of people out of the building, each time it was as devastating for me to take that walk with them, as it was for them.

The walk of shame.

There was one particular time that will stay with me forever.

I still think about him.

After I delivered the devastating news to this employee, who had been with the company for 10 years, I told him that we would ship his things to his home.

And that the company’s regulations were that he could not stay in his office any longer.

I had to walk him out of the building.

He looked at me and with tears in his eyes he said: Can I take the photo of my family with me and leave everything else?

So as he grabbed the photo and we walked out of his office.

He kindly asked me to not walk next to him.

To walk behind him because he was so ashamed to go by other people’s desks and for them to see him being walked out.

So for the next 2 minutes he walked in front of me,

I walked behind him and I felt all his pain, shame and deep loss.

This was the way someone who spent so many years working at this company was being let go. In a shameful and lonely way.

As soon as the walk of shame was done,

I went back to my desk and cried my eyes out.

This was not the only person I had ever walked out but it was the most difficult one.

I probably walked around 200 hundred shameful walks during my time at that company.

And the truth is, this is not the only place that brings shame on top of the loss of the job. Thousands of companies walk their employees out in the same manner.

As if they are being executed.

But the execution of their heart is the most devastating part.

The loss of a job is so humiliating and heartbreaking that it can completely destroy someone’s identity. I hope one day I get to change the way this loss takes place in every company in the Western World.

But until then I want this message to help you not only feel less embarrassment when you walk out but what to do to reenter the work force.

If you have lost a job or will one day please remember this:

1. The job you lost will rip your old identity out of your core self. And this will be a very painful experience in so many ways. Job loss is one of the worst losses.

2. It will destroy some of your relationships and it will make you forget how able and smart you are.

3. Prepare the people in your life by telling them that you are transitioning from one identity to the next and it will feel like you are at war for a while. Ask for their patience during this time. You will need it.

4. You will spend months doubting yourself and blaming yourself for this job loss. The less of that you do the faster you will rehabilitate yourself. Put a big note up in your house that says: NO BLAME, NO DOUBT ALLOWED HERE.

5. You will feel as if it was your fault and that you were not worthy enough for them to keep you.

When these thoughts come in know that they are temporary.

But they will become permanent if you don’t interrupt them by taking new action towards a new job, a new skill set and whatever you can do to advance yourself to your next chapter.

I am sorry that I am not giving you much time to rest here.

But the longer you stay with the blame and the shame the more you will stay in a lot of pain and further away from the new exciting job.

6. Know that this walk out of your job, this loss has changed you forever and it is possible that a new career is a better choice because of who you are becoming.

Speak to someone about your passions and hobbies and true purpose.

I understand that paying the bills is more important but it is your responsibility to ask these questions while in transition:

Am I on the right track?

How do I want to spend the rest of my life?

7. And remember you are never too old to change careers.

Yes that’s right you are never too old for that.

8. And above all, if you ever have to take the walk of shame again, I want you to think of it as the walk of change.

Keep your head up high and wave to all your peers with a big gigantic smile.

Life after a job loss can be difficult but so life changing if you listen to the changes that are taking place within and honor them by doing something about them.

If you are reading this sitting at home in between jobs I want you to know that there is no better place to be.

In charge of your destiny once again.

But don’t stay in the space in between (The Waiting Room) for too long.

Destiny needs action to make life happen for you. (Click to Tweet!)

Thank you!


PS. Second Firsts has helped people reenter the workforce as well. The Reentry process walks with you to the other side.

Also make sure you read my blog on Positively Positive.

Mark your calendars for my upcoming speaking engagements Camp Widow West and Seattle Urban Campfire.

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Christina Rasmussen is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur who believes that grief is an evolutionary experience required for launching a life of adventure and creative accomplishment.

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  • Yolanda Scott says:

    Thank you so much, yes I am going through the same only, I know that I did not deserve to lose my job but I do believe that I am reaping what I may have sowed in my past, so I humbly accept my discipline. I know God is with me it’s just hard and scary. So for now, keep me in your prayers. But I love your words.

  • Chris says:

    I just recently lost my job after being with the same company for over 19 years. It feels like a bad divorce. I agree with everything you have written above, but my spiraling self-worth started before my departure. I was moved from a position that I held for 18 years into similar position in the same department, but under a different supervisor. This supervisor degraded everything I did, if I came to him with a question, I would get in trouble for something I didn’t do or did wrong, even though I had never done this job before. He picked apart everything I did until he made it into a performance issue and eventually my dismissal. I have been working on building back my self-esteem, but it has been hard. I recently went back to the company for a retirement of one of my coworkers and I couldn’t believe all of the support I received there, people were saying that they really missed me and they couldn’t believe it when they heard what happened and they had not heard anything good about the supervisor before. I was out to lunch with my daughters one day and person that worked in another department came up and said she missed me and gave me a hug, totally made my day. I am hoping I find a job soon! 🙂 I appreciate the validation of my feelings through the words you wrote.

  • jackie says:

    Beautifully said!! Thank you.

  • Cindy Simon says:

    I have always love working with animals and loved the veterinary field . I started working as a vet assistant when I was 16 and worked at the same clinic for 28 years , I learned a lot and became responsible for a multable amount of things . I recently was let go in February and I am about to be 45 and I am at a loss of what to do.

  • Sylvia says:

    I was humiliated when I was let go by a coworker who applied for the Executive Director position that became open. He chose to have a security guard escort me out as if i was a criminal. His first act was to have a memo placed on each person’s desk stating no one but him was authorized to communicate with board members. I did not get the memo. I had been selected by the board to support the board in their search for an Executive Director and to attend all board meetings and record and prepare minutes. I interacted with the board daily in my position of Executive Assistant. The committe was advised by me that he did not meet their requirements and the city attorney confirmed this. The majority of committe members on the hiring committee were black and they wanted a black ED in the position. They hired him anyway. Even though the meetings were confidential, after they hired him someone told him why the board went inyo executive session. I was just doing my job as the board asked me to do. My lawsuit for wrongful termination was successful and I was compensated a year later but I was embarrassed and did not go around my former coworkers. Years later I ran into one of them who told me that within 6 months he had been removed as ED and had to report to the City Director because the board found him incompetent. This was a federal job funding agency that got millions of dollars in a large city. but managing the funds was shared through a separate 29 member board of business and community leaders and the city. I loved the job and was heartbroken for years.

  • Missi says:

    This is absolutely beautifully written. I was laid off twice and was humiliated and ashamed both times. I couldn’t stop blaming myself and it took awhile to move on. Thank you for the advice and words of encouragement.

  • David Bedard says:

    I am 55 years old and I lost my job about a year ago. Since then, I am on my third crappy job at half of what I was making. The sad part is that I was single for 25 years and just got married again before all of this has happened. So far my wife has been a real trooper but she can see this has ripped me apart. I still feel like I lost a part of myself I will never get back. I do believe that God has put me in this situation for a reason but I am constantly struggling to figure out what that reason is. I am trying to live my life in the present and also trying to build my trust and faith that God will bring me to a better place when I am ready. By far this is the worst experience of my life but I am trying to be thankful for what I do have.

    Christina……………………following your posts on Facebook is a blessing for myself and others. I am not exactly sure how I connected with you but everyday I look for your posts and they bring me so much peace. You are a wonderful old soul and I can’t thank you enough for how much support you have given me.


  • Anindita says:

    Losing a job is painful, devastating. I lost my job which I loved so much which became more important to me than anything in this world on 10th June 2014. The HR and my manager called me in this small cabin after lunch and told me that they don’t need my services anymore. I was stunned. I kept on repeating the lines said by Lord Krishna in Geeta i.e
    Whatever happened,
    happened for the good;
    whatever is happening,
    is happening for the good;
    whatever will happen,
    will also happen for the good only.

    But trust me I was good really good too much dedicated, have hardly got any personal life due to this job and then they did this to me. Thanks a lot CHRISTINA for writing this. Your FB page and Blog are inspiring us all to start again. And I have moved on. I am young 27 years have got life in front of me and in this job I got satisfied with what I was getting. But now I will always strive for the best and don’t settle until I achieve the best. And I would really like to thank my parents for supporting me throughout. I am blessed to get such a supportive family. I request you all that if any of your friends or near and dear ones lose their job, please support and help them. Such bad thing can happen with anybody. Stay blessed. Life goes on. 🙂

  • Lew Legacy says:

    Thank you. This is exactly what I needed to read.

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