Processing painful work exits
Jonas Downey wrote about how he dealt with his job blowing up:
One major cause of suffering was that I had associated my identity and personal sense of self-worth with my company and its culture. Although I was not an owner of the company, I felt invested in its success over many years. I was a vocal champion of our work, and I was proud of it.
[...] Another major challenge I suffered was questioning whether I was even good at my job anymore. After you’ve spent a few years at a company, you’ll develop an internal reputation and institutional knowledge that’s not transferrable anywhere else. When you cut ties, you have to give all of that up and start over.
[...] Remember: you’re clearly very competent, or you wouldn’t have lasted at the job you had. You’ll be competent at the next one too!
I’m going to kindly ignore that last part since after I left my last gig I felt terrible about my work in design, too. Well, it was bigger than that. I felt like I wasn’t cut out for this career in design at all! I had designed my whole identity around this one particular type of work and the more gigs I applied for and the more I talked to other design teams, the less competent I felt, the less sure of my work I became.
I’m saying this in the past tense but I still feel this way! I’m not sure if I’m good at what I do! And I’m not entirely sure how to deal with those feelings besides ignoring them and staying hopeful or just trying my best to find weird folks with the same kind of enthusiasm.