How to Stop Yearning for Your Ex… Your Ex-Company

When you’re let go from your company, your attachment to the people and projects you left behind doesn’t suddenly stop. As angry, humiliated, and devastated as you are, you still wake up the next morning with an image of where everyone is seated and what they’re doing and even how your space or chair looks without you. The sights and sounds of the world you inhabited for so long are instantly gone. Also gone is the news of your project, the discussion about the budget, the potential hire you were in the middle of completing, or anything else that fueled your striving.

Are they succeeding without me? That’s the question you want answered. How do they know what to do?


Yearning for news about The Ex isn’t going to help you move forward. If anyone reading this has ever gotten divorced, you know what I’m talking about. Yearning is especially difficult for Loyalists, people who have been with a company for at least 10 years.

Part of the Grieving Process

Yearning and searching are part of the grieving process after a separation. Once the shock and numbness of being let go has worn off, the next phase of longing sets in. This is normal and expected. It takes time to get beyond the ache of the way things were, but if you’re intentional, you’ll be successful even if it feels as if sometimes you’re taking two steps forward and three back.

Kicking The Habit

When you feel the urge to re-connect with The Ex, here are some tips for tricking yourself into not thinking or asking about the place you left behind.

  • Delete the company from your news feed. If you can’t bring yourself to do this, check on the latest posts only when you know they will not send you into a frenzy. After all, you don’t want to be caught deciding….

Which is more painful: The destruction of everything you built, or the continuation of everything you built under a new chief who will claim it as her own?

  • Realize that you are in training—emotional training—much like an athlete undertakes physical training to reach her goals. If you’re the kind of person who counts her daily steps, keep track of each day that you don’t seek any news about the company.
  • Resist the urge to have dinner with your old company confidantes. These dinners can be awkward if you find yourself fishing for news and they find themselves unsure about how much they should share with you, for your sake and theirs.
  • Realize that some ex-company colleagues will only want to see you if you will tell them what really happened. Suddenly their pressing invitations for drinks subside when you have no further information to give them. Consider yourself lucky.
  • Imagine yourself in front of a box of chocolates. You’ve already eaten one, and now you force yourself to put that second piece back. This is you not catching up with people from the company who are dying to tell you what’s been going on.
  • Talk to your BFF who will stop you from telling stories about the company with an emoji and text that asks, ‘Did you notice I didn’t ask any questions.’


How to Tell When You’re Cured

Eventually, as you tell more and more people beyond your inner circle about your job loss, you will become too bored to go into much detail and you’ll hear yourself simply say that you’re not with The Ex anymore. You’ve moved on. You’ll know that you’ve sufficiently mastered your yearning for the past when your tone of disinterest about The Ex and choice of present-tense topics lead people to respond to your news with, “Congratulations! That’s great news!”

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