HARVARD: When Losing Your Job Feels Like Losing Your Self


've been canned plenty. They were right. I never 100% fit. I was pursuing something solitary, something I've since learned is called a MAP. It stands for Mastery, Autonomy; Purpose. I wanted the freedom to become an expert and travel to places where I could make a difference. Voila! The AAPN had it all. 

You know, AAPN has never been in the 'placement' business. The last thing our members want is for us to help their best people leave! But this is different. That's why we're looking at the 'job board' application on the software we use to run the AAPN. 

'Job' is one word, but gig, experience, temp, consult and others come to mind. There is SO much knowledge in this network. I recall one Fortune 500 CEO saying, "if we knew what we know, we'd be three times bigger". This network of all of YOU pretty much knows the entire story of this industry.

Every problem you have has been solved by a real person in the AAPN with the same job you have now and THAT is the opportunity. So as this evolves, so will our thinking about how to help you match what you know to those who need it, wherever we call the resulting service.

None of are as smart as all of us, and then there's this, “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.” – Bear Bryant

When Losing Your Job Feels Like Losing Your Self
HBR: by Aliya Hamid Rao, April 21, 2020

Todd* is a trim 45-year-old, but when he walks into the upscale diner where we are meeting, his shoulders are stooped, and he constantly fidgets with his fingers, emanating a nervous energy. On the day we are speaking, Todd has been unemployed for about 10 months. Todd’s job loss has had tremendous financial repercussions for his family. Yet, in a small voice, he confesses, “I think the hardest part is just not feeling like anybody sees value in me.”

I interviewed Todd, a marketing professional, in 2014 for my forthcoming book, Crunch Time: How Married Couples Confront Unemployment, which focuses on the unemployment experiences of highly educated, married professionals with children in the U.S. Like dozens of other professionals I interviewed, Todd’s employment is key to his sense of self, determining how he measures his social status and self-worth. Yet, this self-worth is constantly threatened, because professionals like Todd have become recent casualties of a pervasive labor market uncertainty that existed long before the coronavirus pandemic.

As unemployment reaches historic levels, now is a good time to re-examine this link between our identities and our jobs.

Labor Market Uncertainty Has Been Growing For Decades
U.S. organizations have for decades been shifting their philosophies from “big is better” to “smaller is beautiful.” Layoffs, downsizing, and rightsizing are now built into the structural logic of many corporations. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 was a watershed moment, crystallizing the trend toward labor market uncertainty, even for highly educated workers. Today, economic fallout from social distancing threatens to upend the careers of an even larger swath of U.S. professionals.

The economic costs for individuals and families will of course be tremendous, but what will be the human impact? In addition to the loss of his income, Todd experienced a loss of his social status and a deep sense of shame. As he wrestled with feeling rejected by the labor market and ashamed at his unemployment, he lost confidence in himself. He was unsure of how to interact with others, or how to spend his time purposefully. Read More