Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I Lost My Job Today

The Five Stages of Grief In One Hour

Rachel Wayne
4 min readAug 16, 2019

Yesterday was the first time that I felt truly excited about my job, which I’d had since April. I was on introductory probation, meaning that I couldn’t feel secure about my job until October. Still, I felt connected and integrated with the team, I had exciting projects lined up, and I finally got my Downloads folder sorted.

Today, I noticed that people weren’t messaging me like usual. I went out to lunch, went to one of my work locations to do some paperwork, and came back to my primary office. Then I received a notification that I was called to a “probationary status” meeting, scheduled during a team meeting that had been on the calendar for weeks.

I stared at the notification as a pit grew in my stomach. I knew instantly that they were letting me go, but I didn’t want to believe it. There was no other reason to schedule a random meeting with a vague title in the middle of a preexisting meeting, on a Friday afternoon.

This was the first stage of grief as I reckoned with my fate: denial.

The termination conversation was painful, but what really struck me was the disconnect I felt between what I felt and what they were saying I felt. They pointed to an apparent lack of ownership and passion on my part, while meanwhile I was thinking about all the amazing projects I was about to lose.

This week, I successfully proposed a new LinkedIn plan, set up video shoots for two multimedia projects, and reported on a social media campaign that was doing well. I felt on top of the world, like I was finally able to overcome the extreme stress I’d been under since moving to a new city.

The stress had affected my work, for sure, although this week, finally and ironically, I’d felt empowered to overcome. While I knew I hadn’t been performing my best, I also knew that it was due to my chronic depression, not a reflection of who I was.

Image by Małgorzata Tomczak from Pixabay

And instantly, I entered the first stage of grief: anger, that once again my depression had ruined a good thing for me. Anger that my opinion that I was in fact, passionate…



Rachel Wayne

Artist/anthropologist/activist writing about art, media, culture, health, science, enterprise, and where they all meet. Join my list: