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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic7 min readPolitics
Trump’s Fury at Don McGahn Is Misplaced
The former White House counsel helped stock the federal courts with conservative judges. Now multiple lawsuits involving Trump are headed there.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Trump Was Right Not to Sign the Christchurch Call
The pledge to eliminate extremist content online is antithetical to the American understanding of free expression.
The Atlantic5 min read
Europe’s Far-Right Leaders Are Using Facebook to Transcend Borders
Captioned in English, sponsored by the Hungarian government, promoted to social-media users in Greece: A video about a Belgian politician represents a new trend in the spread of illiberalism.