Slow Love: Can You Lose Your Job and Find Happiness?

Does losing your job ever have a silver lining? It did for Dominique Browning, author of 'Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on my Pajamas and Found Happiness.' Browning was editor-in-chief of Conde Nast's House & Garden magazine. When the magazine folded in late 2007, Browning was told she had four days to pack up her office.

What followed was a time of self exploration where she was able to slow down, examine her priorities, reinvent herself, and create a new and more meaningful lifestyle. Browning's journey offers many life lessons that can help others in career transition find more fulfilling career paths.


Give yourself permission to mourn

Browning's story. After losing her job, Browning found herself sleeping a lot more than usual; some days it was hard to get out of bed. When she did get out of bed, she would stay in her pajamas and find comfort in food. Allowing herself to mourn her job loss also led to introspection on other recent loses -- a difficult long-term relationship and the reminder that her two sons were now young adults and didn't need to rely on her anymore for their day-to-day care.

Career takeaway: Psychologists have said that losing a job is the third most stressful event an individual can experience in their life (the first and second being death of a loved one and divorce). And just like death or divorce, job loss may require a period of mourning. Sometimes job seekers feel they should start interviewing immediately after a job loss. But if they are carrying a lot of emotional baggage -- which is normal early on in the process -- they will not interview well. It's better to take the time to examine and acknowledge your emotions and start interviewing once these have been dealt with.


Take the time to rediscover your passions

Browning's story. As Browning settled into her status as "newly unemployed," she began to rediscover the things she loved to do but never had time for while working. She spent time on many activities including gardening, playing piano, journaling, reading the Bible, kayaking, and baking.

Career takeaway: Some job seekers claim that rediscovering their passions allows them to reinvent themselves and forge a new career path. Some have been mulling over an idea for a new business or venture for years, but kept their idea on the back burner as the demands of work and life got in the way. Many people feel like they are on a perpetual treadmill at work -- constantly moving but never going anywhere. When you lose your job it can be one of the few moments in life where you get to step off the treadmill, examine closely what you want, and move forward in another direction.


Strike a balance between structured and unstructured activities

Browning's story: Work had given Browning structure -- so much structure that she realized she spent more time with her office family than her real one. Being unemployed gave her no structure. She woke up and ate at different times every day. Over time she found herself several pounds heavier and having difficulty sleeping. She soon realized there needed to be a happy medium. Her doctor put her on a regimented diet -- which not only helped her lose weight, but gave her life structure and a feeling of order.

Career takeaway: Job seekers can create a healthy balance of structured and unstructured activities into their day as well. It helps to create a routine where you wake, shower, and leave the house at the same time each day. Even if you are just leaving the house to do company research at the library or meet an acquaintance for coffee, the routine helps create control and order, which many job seekers report helps them maintain a positive outlook on their search. Yet when you are in job search you also have the flexibility to fit non-work related activities into your day. You may finally be able to catch your child's soccer game or check out a new exhibit at the museum. And if you can work a bit of professional networking into your personal excursions, even better!


Nurture your strong relationships and abandon your toxic ones

Browning's story: Browning noticed that some of her relationships soured after she lost her position; in some cases she felt like a few of her "friends" found some sort of satisfaction in her loss. And it wasn't until her job loss that she was able to crystallize the dynamic of her long-term, on-again-off-again love interest, realize it for what it was, and move on.

Career takeaway: Everyone knows toxic people. Their negativity can be even harder to tolerate and even damaging during a job search. Stay away from people who quote the most recent unemployment statistics chapter and verse or those who drone on about a friend who has been in search for two years. Every situation is different. Don't fall into the trap of comparing your situation to others or giving up hope.


Find your new career path by examining your basic skills

Browning's story: Browning reinvented herself by stripping her skills down to their basic components. Instead of pegging herself as an editor-in-chief of a magazine, she examined her main skill set as a communicator. She coupled that skill with her passion for and expertise in writing -- and in addition to being a published author, she is now also a contributor to several publications including The New York Times Book Review, O Magazine, Wired, and Travel & Leisure Magazine.

Career takeaway: Job seekers can create a more strategic and three-dimensional search strategy by examining the intersection between their skills and their passion. Focus on a transferable skill and repackage it for a new audience. Also look at the viability of the skill and the industry you wish to market yourself into. Is it trending up or down? Are there alternative paths you can explore based on the changing nature of the industry? Perhaps consulting or freelance positions are more realistic than the traditional 9-to-5.


slow loveMove away from letting your job define you

Browning's story: As the editor of House & Garden, Browning let her job define her. She rarely had time for life's simple pleasures. In 'Slow Love,' Browning learns the importance of and satisfaction in making time for the things you love.

Career takeaway: We spend a lot of time at work, and in the best case scenario we do work we enjoy. It's important to work at our careers, but not to the detriment of other facets of out lives. It's a difficult balancing act, but one we should be cognizant of and try to achieve every day. Perhaps all of us need a little bit of slow love in our lives.

Next: How Tragedy Led Me to a Job I Love: Personal Stories of Rising from the Ashes >>


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Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani

Editor

Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

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Tyrone

Am I the only American that thinks that Republicans are responsible for the downfall of economic horrible condition? And white people are willing to give power back to proven failure! White people gave America Nixon (resign as a failure) Reagan ( suffer from Alzheimer and refuse to resign) Bush (1) liar( READ MY LIPS) Bush (2) stupid ( Started a war in Iraq for nothing) causing American troops deaths for NOTHING! Turn a surplus into debt! Am I the only person that wonder why white people listen to Bill O'Reilly? A man that paid off a female not to sue him for sexual harassment and in my opinion a PERVERT! A man that has no respect for woman and NEVER really apologize to the woman he harassed! A man that has made racist and demeaning comments about all Muslims! On his show O'Reilly question President Obama's morals! And talked about convicted felons that he claims President Obama associate with. If O'Reilly believe what he is saying nobody should sit down with him as a PERVERT on his PERVERT SHOW! Am I the only one that wonders why white people are listening to Glenn Beck a alcoholic and a racist! This man facts are made up of racist innuendos! Hate and divide is the programs agenda! Am I the only person that wonder why Rush Limbaugh is not denounce by every American especially white Americans? After his statement that he wanted President Obama to fail and the country to fail! Am I the only person that saw the double standard when Boston Mass. resident voted in a Senator they thought was against President Obama Universal healthcare reform plan for all Americans! BUT Boston Mass. has state run Healthcare! Am I the only person that saw a racist double standard when Senator Obama's pastor was demonize and condemn . Call a racist and un American! A man that is a former Army and Navy veteran. Took care of former President L. Johnson while hospitalize! On the other hand Mitt Romney's church teaches that all black people are evil! He sat in his church over 15 year and continue to so and was NEVER denounce or demonize for doing so! He NEVER was told to get out of his church and denounce his pastor! Am I the only person that see Governor Christie of New Jersey as a bully and a idiot that in his first year in officer lost 400 million for New Jersey! Eliminated a project that laid off 6 thousand dollars and would have employed 40 thousand citizen! Does anyone but me wonder why white American call Governor Christie a hero!

October 29 2010 at 6:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tyrone

BULLYING PLUS PEOPLE IN AUTHORITY IN AMERICANS

Do you know when a teenager is lying...when their mouth moves...Male don't mature until in their 30! Men are stupid! Moron, idiot, stupid"you are a nut" " you are a fool" I don't see it" (referring to someone's looks) you don't look like you miss a meal" ( referring to someone's weight)! Do you take drug? You are a bum....your lazy for receiving welfare.....What is the nature of your disability! Are you stupid or are you just playing stupid?....One male litigant was refer to as"this Thing"!These are just some of the attacks and insults Judge Judy have stated towards litigant that have enter the courtroom for justice! Judge Judy is a bully with authority that abuse and disrespects her position! As a judge she is put in a position of authority and responsibility and should be of the highest in professionalism! SHE IS NOT! Judge Judy is a disgrace to the judicial system that has in place protocol for judges and litigants! Bullying in America is in the news but the reason for bullying has not been disgust! I truly believe that racism in America is a form of bullying especially if the bullying is combine with authority! White police officer in black neighborhoods have been historically bully! They have beat black people like animals and justify it. They have murder unarmed black adults and children and justify it! Because they are encourage to bully black and other minority! Bullying in schools have lead to suicide and murder because many is authority have dismiss claim and complain from victims! Now I mention Judge Judy but Judge Joe Brown and Judge Mathis both have threaten litigants with bodily harm from the bench! Are also bully and I must add ignorant! The question of the day..... Why are we as a people surprise that bullying in schools is a horrible problem among our young????? Look at what they see in adults in authority ...Look at what they are being taught and by who.... Look at programs like Maruy , Jerry Springer,Jersey Wives of Whatever" Real World" Parent Control" Jersey Shore" ...All these programs promote hate and bullying! White men in American Government have historically been bully's! Newt Gingrich is a old sick and truly disrespectful bully! Bottom line bullying in America can be associate with authority and many TV programs that promote bullying! Then look at Fox News Sean Hannity " Glenn Beck ' Bill O'Reilly all bully! In the case of Bill O'Reilly he is not only a bully he has no respect for women A TOTAL PERVERT! That has been sue by a woman that he sexually harassment!

October 23 2010 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tyrone

THINGS YOU CAN GET FIRE FOR IN AMERICA

Juan William was fire for stating his fear of Muslim when boarding a airplane! After 9/11 the world was told that Muslim extremist where responsible! Then the white control media started a campaign of demonizing all Muslim. Bill O'Reilly goes on the View and states that all Muslims MURDER US" on 9/11! Fox News don't even think of firing Bill O'Reilly and his statement was racist and wrong! The truth is men that happen to be Muslims participate in destroying two building and 3,000 plus Americans! Fire Immediately!!! CNN anchor and host of "Rick's List" Rick Sanchez was fired after an appearance on comedian Pete Dominick's satellite radio show, where he called Comedy Central's Jon Stewart a "bigot" and made anti-Semitic remarks. According to CBS News.com, Sanchez later backtracked in the show and tried to retract his use of the word "bigot," replacing it instead with "prejudicial." Fire Immediately!!!! Both men fire one black one Hispanic both where thought to make disrespectful statements about race or religion! Now if you are an American Police Officers you can accidentally killed a black child and be back to work before the body in the ground! Aiyana Jones was just 7 years old and was burn and shot dead by a white Detroit police officer! There was no firing nor and new bill to prevent wrongful raids or stopping raid when children are present! Amadou Diallo was a 23-year-old Guinean immigrant in New York City who was shot and killed on February 4, 1999 by four white New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers: Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss. The four white officers fired a total of 41 rounds. The shooting took place at 1157 Wheeler Avenue in the Soundview section of The Bronx. The four white cops were part of the now-defunct Street Crimes Unit. All four white officers were acquitted at trial in Albany, New York after lying about mistaking a wallet for a gun. Diallo was unarmed at the time of the shooting, and a firestorm of controversy erupted subsequent to the event as the circumstances of the shooting prompted outrage both within and outside New York City. Issues such as police brutality, racial profiling, and contagious shooting were central to the ensuing controversy. Juan William and Rick Sanchez didn't kill anyone...BUT ...was Fire Immediately!!!! The things in America you can get fire for!!!

October 23 2010 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patricia

Another story of unemployment threw the eyes of a 58 year old

Finding yourself unemployed weather male or female at this age can be a world wind of emotions, fear and uncertain times, Being my generation should be retiring at this age we find oneself empty alone and searching for a reason to get up in the morning. Facing weight gain, gray hair,wrinkles and not enjoying the reruns on TV .Children if your lucky enough to have any really don't need you anymore and are to busy trying to find there place in the world you brought them into .

Getting up in the morning isn't the hard part ,, I seem to think I'm the only one who is capably to wake each and every bird . So I sit outside on a patio I don't own in a condo I'm going to have to leave and wait for the sunrise.. drinking coffee I shouldn't have, in jogging pants so old they should be in a museum.

Filling out application's after applications witch most managers will never read no look at nor even open. Going on interviews and watching the facial expression on those 21 year old faces as I walk into the room just wanting a change to try out for a job for 12.00$ an hour,, knowing that will never be enough to pay all he monthly bills ,, But wanting to do what is necessary to do to survive.

For all the unknown faces you see at the unemployment board there is hundreds more you do not see and will never meet, For all the baby boomer's over 50 hunting for just a job to feel human , needed , wanted , I can understand you ,, I know you .. I am you ..

We are the generation who took home economics and drafting in school , we are those who knew our Milkman and iceman the man who sharping our kitchen knifes for $1.00 right there at the curb on his stone wheel,neighborhood stores that allowed 25.00 $ credit for food needed till the next paycheck. That's right I remember when bowwowing a cup a sugar from a neighbor who you cared about and knew .

We count to , we mean something to someone , we are willing to learn and want to . We need jobs to keep us going, even though we only have a high school diploma.. We will be there everyday without being late , we will not be taking days off for little things as a fight with ( boyfriends-girlfriends ) or drinking binges,, We will not use our cell phones during work or IPod wonders scanning the web for dates nor shopping on line .. We just need a chance to fit in ..We need that job ,, and we can do it ..
WE NEED TO FIND WORK ,, WE ARE SOMEONE ,,

July 15 2010 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
highteacup

Poor Dominique. No more cabs to Buddakan for lunch, no more buying binges at Bloomies, even when PJ's are on sale, and no more, perish the thought, weekends in the Hamptons. Tragic, just tragic. Oh, well. Maybe the Y needs part-time kayaking instructors.

July 12 2010 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rhett

Okay "Dom" (even that nickname is annoying) - it's pretty obvious that 95% of the commenters here are on the same page - and it's an entirely different page than you're on. Like most people here, I believe that whatever editor decided that you were a good subject for this article is seriously disconnected from reality, like you are. I will agree that the misogyny displayed here IS slightly disturbing - but only if you agree that there IS a sliver of truth in those comments. This complete meltdown of American society started about 20 years ago with the deflowering (metaphorically and literally) of our children, and is now threatening to strip a generation of men of their self-worth and dignity. The consequences will be grave (think modern Russia). So, with Artie's (and others') comments in mind - that these articles are more annoying, unrealistic, and almost downright insulting to most middle-aged job (and lifestyle) losers, what have you to offer the VAST majority of us?

July 10 2010 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Artie

I'm fortunate enough to have been able to retire recently. However, I can certainly understand the indignance of people reading this article. Many people unfortunately live from paycheck to paycheck. They work at boring mundane jobs because they have to...not because they want to. They don't have the resources or the luxury to be able to calmly sit back and "reinvent" themselves when they lose their job. This woman-writer is in a far different category than the average person. This writer, for years was very fortunate to get paid well for doing what she actually likes to do. How many of us can say we ever enjoyed this perk? As at least one person pointed out, our writer friend had over the years developed contacts in her industry who undoubtedly helped her out. She's obviously landed on her feet, due to this fact alone. Most of us work at or are trapped in jobs we've grown to hate because we are left with few choices. There is no panacea out there for the average "Joe." We can't just reinvent ourselves and become film producers after working in some office job after 20 years. These articles are more annoying than inspiring and are just unrealistic for most people. Your lucky if you take away one useful concept.

July 10 2010 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark

Obviously, the majority of the people on this blog are hardworking and need a break. I "had the balls" to go into business and leave my employer of 13 years. Its not for everybody. Now, 18 tears later I'm out of business. Better a working Ox than a sitting ass.

July 09 2010 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jose Olivar


Obviously! if you hated your job and finally had the balls to leave
then it truly was not for you hence you should really be happy

July 09 2010 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark

Its much easier to "reinvent" yourself while you have a job.

July 09 2010 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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