If you have ever been terminated from a difficult work relationship, you may be imprinted with a measure of rejection. You have been told that you are not good enough to meet their expectations. You are subtly or overtly told that you do not belong to their vision of how things are supposed to be. You may not be trusted to succeed in their context.
Listen to these words from Psychologist and Stanford professor Gregory Walton.
Belonging is primal, fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being.
Belonging is a psychological lever that has broad consequences, writes Walton. Our interests, motivation, health and happiness are inextricably tied to the feeling that we belong to a greater community that may share common interests and aspirations.
Isolation, loneliness and low social status can harm a person's subjective sense of well-being, as well as his or her intellectual achievement, immune function and health. Research shows that even a single instance of exclusion can undermine well-being, IQ test performance and self-control.
While most people want to have a sense of camaraderie and belonging on the job, it’s not always shared with everyone. A familiar scene is repeated every day in the shop, the pastorate, the bureaucrat’s office and the family business. It can sometimes have the emotional impact of a divorce.
It goes something like this-- the job ended poorly on both sides.
The long time employee and the employer could no longer work together. The tension in the workplace was thick in the last months and the options had been exhausted. It was time to let the employee go.
The lawyers consulted and the terms of separation determined, the time came to pack the personal belongings, sign the papers and turn in the keys. Both sides could feel the untimely relief, frustration and sadness that it ended this way.
Because we have good employment laws, a dismissed worker may be entitled to a severance package that will care for their income need in the weeks or months following. If a person quits, they are entitled to very little on the way out.
If you have a job, a family, a church or a gang where you feel accepted and loved, then you can consider yourself blessed and fortunate. If you have survived rejection and found a healthier environment and relationships, then that is also a blessing.