The Atlantic

The ‘Disenfranchised Grief’ of Losing Your Job

Meg Spinella, a hospice chaplain, discusses how she has processed loss in life and work.
Source: Katie Martin / The Atlantic

Editor’s Note: This article is part of Exit Interview, a series of conversations about leaving one’s career.

It’s comforting to know people like Meg Spinella, a hospice chaplain, exist. Spinella radiates empathy, even as she jokingly describes herself as “more of a ‘shit happens’” than “an ‘everything happens for a reason’ person.” It certainly felt more like the former when, in 2007, budget cuts bumped her out of the Catholic hospital she worked at in Oregon. Spinella didn’t get to say goodbye to her dying patients.

Spinella calls losing one’s job a form of “grief.” She has ample perspective. While counseling the bereaved for more than 15 years, Spinella, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), lost her brother and her

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