“Neha, even if I am laid off while on maternity leave, I know my worth is the same. I won’t give my power away to my employer. Yes, it will be disappointing and stressful to lose my income. But, I won’t conflate that and make stories about my competence and worthiness.“

I literally had goosebumps listening to my client share these words.

Let’s rewind a bit.

We were exploring career growth for this client. She agreed that her next step would be to discuss her path to promotion in her next career conversation with her manager.

In our next session, she shared that she did have the conversation, and it felt that a restructuring would likely happen, potentially involving layoffs. She was pregnant and going on maternity leave in the next few months and wouldn’t be at work if the new changes came about.

I paused and asked – “What’s coming up for you as you said this out loud?”
And that’s when she shared those brilliant words about income, competence, and worthiness.

Here’s the thing – so many of us are navigating uncertainty around our jobs, timelines of promotions, and finding new jobs (and careers!). These are often high-stakes situations involving many facets of our identity. The equation gets even more complex once you add the financial implications and impact on those we care for. Anxiety and stress are natural human responses.

I am not here to tell you not to feel the emotions that come up. But let’s be aware of how we ladder up from there.

Here is my hope for you – I want you to know that a layoff, a delayed promotion,  being moved from an exciting project to a less interesting one, or finding a new career reveals nothing about your inherent worthiness. Many times, they also don’t mean much about your skills, talents, and potential. Yes, sometimes there may be some gaps you can address, which can be done with time and effort, but oftentimes, there is much beyond your control. I’d invite your discerning and wise voice to play a critical role as you navigate your path forward. I hope you don’t let your confidence and self-belief get impacted because of decisions made that you had little to no influence on.

Your ultimate source of power lies within you, not with a manager, your employer, or, I’d say, anyone else for that matter. Our systems have limitations and biases and are prone to human error. Let’s work on fixing them without making ourselves go small. (I know it’s easier said than done!)

You can get disappointed, frustrated, or depleted. Those are valid emotions. But the narrative of your story is yours to make. Building this muscle takes time, so work on strengthening it, but also remember to acknowledge your own pace of growth and change.

Photo Credit: Jen P

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.