As we draw near to the end of 2020, the fact that many expectations and goals at work for the year were trampled on or pulled out from under us is coming into sharp focus. For many of us, there’s a sense of loss and disappointment that follows. To add to our dismay, earlier in the pandemic, many of us hoped that things would be “normal” by this point; frankly, we are still far from it.

Whether it is who we are working around (our kids or roommates rather than co-workers), where we are working (at home rather than in the office), what we are doing (a different job or role than we planned), or how much we are working (having experienced a job loss or furlough), it seems almost everyone has found work life different than we thought it would be at the beginning of 2020.

Acknowledge the losses

Before we start rehearsing well-meaning clichés about everything happening for a reason or trying to see the silver lining, we have to acknowledge the expectations, hopes, and goals for our careers that fell through because of Covid-19.

Maybe this was the year you were planning to change career fields or look for a new job, but the financial uncertainty of this pandemic forced you to put that off. Maybe the pandemic left you with a sudden job loss, and now you’re unexpectedly looking for new jobs. Maybe you were on track for a promotion at work or excited for a big project that never came to be. Or maybe you just miss being in the office, around your co-workers, or experiencing a change of scenery.

Whether it’s as monumental as a job loss or as seemingly small as missing your workplace, mourning these losses is an important first step in dealing with them.

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