The Impact of Job Loss Lasts For A Long Time

I broke my ankle last January. It’s been over a year and a half. In my post-op (that is post operation for those of you fortunate enough to not know what post-op is :p) visit the doctor said that everything went well, the place where the bone broke will heal and actually be stronger than normal bone, and that I needed to go to physical therapy (although he would show me some exercises if I chose not to).

That was in January of 2017… it’s been a solid 18 or 19 months since the surgery, and I continue to have pain and aggrevation from the break and surgery. Or, wait… is the pain from the break OR the surgery?

My bone is fine, as far as I can tell. But there are two distinct annoyances: First, if I rub my fingers around the area of the surgery (I have a wicked cool scar on my ankle, so I never forget where I was cut) it feels weird. Not normal. I am guessing this would be called “nerve damage.” Second, and worse, my ankle generally hurts. Not “take medicine” hurts, but it is absolutely not the same as it was before the break. Sure, the bone is fine (according to the doctor, it is stronger), but something around it is not. I think it’s the tendons or other soft tissues, or even the nerves in that area.

I know what I did in physical therapy. I can do those exercises anytime I want. I also try to walk as regularly as I can, but I don’t even think about a day when I can run. Or do something that might freak out the ankle, like volleyball or anything where I’d use the ankle hard and in an unexpected way. It’s my new normal. I’m not limited in what I want to do, although things are annoying…

Thanks for reading about my personal trauma so far. I didn’t’ come here to write about that, though. I came here to write about you.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you know I congratulate people who have lost their job. I tell them that this is a super opportunity, and that there is greatness that is yet to come. It might mean a drastic change in careers or a simple change from a toxic environment to an amazing environment. A job change gives you a chance to do a self-inventory. There are some great, great things I’ve seen from people who work through a transition. Stronger, just like my broken bone.

But the reality is there are some things that take a long, long time to get back to okay. Just like my soft tissue damage hasn’t healed yet, I’m still impacted by my layoff from almost thirteen years ago! Get over it? I got through it… I did my own form of therapy, but I am not the same person I was pre-layoff.

Please, think about how this transition makes you stronger. What is it that will heal fast and strong, and will not ever be impacted again?

But acknowledge and be okay with the idea that there are parts of you that will need more healing and therapy for years, maybe decades, to come. Maybe it is your new normal, and you are a bit more reserved. Or maybe you jump into intense therapy mode and figure out how to compensate for this new “pain.”

I validate this in you. I know a lot of people you talk to don’t understand it. But as our economy changes, and we are more open about a different career than we could have in the ’80s, it will be more apparent that people are going through career trauma.

I am also here to tell you that it can be okay. It sucks… SUCKS to go through. You feel alone and hopeless, and even unmotivated to think that maybe the next job you are working so hard to land might be as bad as the last one. But I know that you can heal and recover and get in a good place. It has taken me a long time and a lot of work (and a very patient wife) but I’m just about there. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ve been in that good place for a long time, and just haven’t realized it.

How about you?

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