Grief: The Elephant in the Room

What comes to mind when you think of grief in the workplace? You probably think of the sense of loss that comes after a death. But someone can experience a deep sense of loss from a promotion or any other change in their job, whether it’s the completion of a project, a departmental transfer, getting a new CEO or even the introduction of new software.

Consider this scenario. Mary has just been promoted to regional vice-president of her company. Her organization is one of the fastest-growing investment companies in Ontario and the promotion is a signal that the company’s executives are pleased with her work as an investment manager for the Toronto area. In her five years at the company, she has single-handedly increased the company’s investment portfolio by 20% annually and its client base by 5% quarterly. Mary is happy about having been promoted, as it is something she had been working towards; however, she becomes increasingly aware of an emptiness growing inside of her. In her new position she will be managing internal personnel and not interfacing with external clients and helping them build their investment portfolios — something she thrived on. She will also be transferring to a new office and will no longer see the coworkers she developed good relationships with.

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