Feel that emptiness?
Recently a friend changed jobs. On a strong upward career arc everything was milk and honey as she moved from one responsible position to another, the classic story of career success.
And yet, there was also loss.
In career and life in there are times when we move along so swiftly immersed in growth we don't notice that little void.
The void of change.
Unseen, an emptiness can sneak up and envelop us as the practices, habits and familiarity of old experiences are replaced by new and heretofore different cultures.
The thing we don't think about much as we make change in our lives is the cost to relationships. The human toll.
Due to the vagaries of the modern day many of us find some of our deepest personal relationships at the office. This is neither good or bad: true work life balance means we establish our authentic self in all the phases of our life, including work, so there is nothing amiss in developing important relationships within our professional contacts.
Yet, for the soul who spends 50 or more hours in the office and remains electronically tethered to the leash of coworkers 24/7, the depth and meaning of those personal relationships can be far greater than realized.
And when we move on, from one job to another, the loss of those relationships can be real.
Interestingly, much like a physical shock to our system, the impact of going from one firm to the next often isn't fully realized right away as we go into overdrive to understand and adapt to our new environment. Somewhere along the way though, the sense of loss begins to eat away at the fabric of our happiness.
We know something's wrong, but we just don't know what it is.
Life happens. People move, they get married, divorced and change jobs. There's no such thing as holding back the wheels of change. So how can we manage the psychological stress as we lose these touch points, these people we lean on?
First, stop for just a moment on your inexorable march forward to acknowlege that these personal relationships actually mean something. Some of us pretend we're fully capable of living our lives with a minimum of human need and interaction, über cool and independent. But that's not reality: we're human and need touch and feeling and concern and all the other human emotions that go into the body politic.
So let's acknowledge that.
Next, tell people how you feel. Contrary to pop culture mythology it really is cool to care and to become just a little more vulnerable by letting people know that. Take the first step in reaching out.
Finally, accept that the continual shift of people in your life is normal, it will happen. As Dr Seuss suggested, don't be sad that its over, be happy that it happened. Knowing that the people you rely on and care about now may not always be a part of your life might make you appreciate them a little more today.
And that doesn't make you less professional, just more human.
Growth is good. Recognize the void you feel from time to time is simply your own humanness coming out.
Acknowledge that too, and be happy you have it.