Conversations in Grief Guest Blog: Work Grief
Hilary and Laura are honored to have our community partner, Megan Hartwick, contribute a Conversations in Grief blog this week. Megan is the Executive Director of United Way of Jefferson and North Walworth Counties. Megan reflects on the struggle she is experiencing in her work due to how the pandemic has shifted our patterns and ways of working. We are grateful for her authenticity and hope you will take the time to read her thoughts.
by: Megan Hartwick
Last week, my therapist and I talked about grief, and how grief can come from loss, in any form. Period.
And while I would NEVER diminish the extent and severity of grief experienced from the loss of a life, I do believe we all have to stop dismissing whatever grief we’re feeling solely because it’s not the worst kind it could be, or because another person’s grief might be deeper or heavier than ours. Comparative grieving is leaving us all still hurting, but hurting alone.
It turns out, much of what I’ve been struggling with lately is related to the grief I feel from the changes in my professional life - the loss of what that role used to look and feel like for me.
I love to work. I’ve always taken great pride in every job I’ve held. I value providing for myself, utilizing my talents & skills, impacting my community, connecting with & helping others, being strategic & forward-thinking, and so much more.
But these past two years have taken a lot of that valued professional identity away - through lost connections, limited interactions, reduction in impact, and overall organizational & industry changes. That identity has all but disappeared on days when I’m trying to do my job and be a mom, because of course, mom wins out every time.
Many of my work days have been structured around “what has to get done to get through today?” As opposed to “what can I do today to better plan for the future?” Rather than strategically planning for new initiatives, it’s been apologetically sending emails for having to reschedule a meeting yet again. Instead of new marketing campaigns, it’s been scrambling to simply get a few posts scheduled. Instead of collaborative conversations with partners, it’s been half-hearted zoom calls. And where there used to be eagerness & motivation, there is now tiredness and disconnect.
And while I still believe I’m very good at my work, there has been loss. And while I know I am privileged and blessed beyond measure to do my work; I miss the version of me who thrived within it.
I miss how it all used to make me feel.