Career Confessions: Love, Work, and Breakups

We outgrow relationships. For one reason (or many) they no longer serve us and we leave. Read on for the top 5 list on dealing with love or work breakups.

Blind sighted in sixth grade

The first time a boy dumped me; he called my landline at home. “Kellbelle, it’s for you!” my Mom chirped from downstairs up towards my room, a smile audible in her voice. I dropped my pencil to my notebook, flung open the door to my bedroom and ran halfway down the stairs grabbing the cordless phone from her. But it wasn’t my boyfriend calling to ask about our social studies homework or if I wanted to see a movie that weekend. It was one of my first boyfriends calling to tell me the he didn’t want to be boyfriend girlfriend anymore. I had never been dumped – duped I had been duped – but never dumped. I hung up the phone and my room seemed to tilt on an axis as I slumped to the floor and started to cry. My first boyfriend was no more! Who would I slow dance with? Who would hold my hand on our next class field trip? My Mom comforted me, but it was the first time in my life that I had ever felt that knot in my stomach. The breakup knot. It seemed there would never be a remedy for this.



couple hands love pixy

Days after the traumatic premier of being dumped I was on a class field trip and another boy held my hand. It was only the second time in my life that I had felt butterflies in my stomach.



By the time I was in high school, I had a different boyfriend (hey time flies) and I started to feel nervous around him because everything was perfect; he had top grades, was a top athlete, went to church, his family was loving, and he had a fun group of “the right” kind of friends. I panicked. I didn’t want this to be it. I wanted to study abroad, go to college where no one else from high school was going, venture out into the world on my own. Not meet the one and get married and live 10 minutes from our parents. So I dumped him. I was sitting in my black jeep , crying, saying something about how I just wanted to be friends. The breakup knot in my stomach returned – I realized that it comes back regardless of who is ending the relationship.

Bad Energy

It was midnight. My client called me at my desk phone and promised it would be the last round of changes. “Oh absolutely! We will make these straight away and get you the clean PDF shortly!” I said, a smile audible in my voice. I marked up the changes, went over to the art director’s desk, and we incorporated the new copy. I sent the PDF to the client, who asked me if I had ever seen Pulp Fiction. “No, I don’t think I have yet” I said, starting to worry about staying awake during my 7am conference call. “You haven’t?” He was shocked. “Well watch it this weekend. You’re like The Fixer!” I’m sure it was a compliment. I sent him the PDF, waited on the phone until he received the changes and checked them onscreen, and went home to sleep for a few hours. Eventually, these strings of late nights started to add up, but that was the culture of this workplace. It wasn’t expected every once in a while, it felt expected all the time. I started to burn out, and sought a new opportunity. The knot in my stomach twisted as I walked to my bosses’ office to give two weeks notice. Armed with what I knew in my heart was the right move and my resignation letter in my hand, I faced my fear of his anger. And when he did not yell or express anger with me, the knot untwisted almost immediately and I felt relief.

Whenever you are unsure which action to take, choose the one that will give you relief. Not what is right or what is wrong. What your gut says, “this would feel better”.

Here are 5 ways to deal with love or work breakups:

5. Cry. Normal, healthy release when feeling overwhelmed with emotions. Definitely my go-to reaction for many seemingly traumatic stomach-knot situations.

4. Journal. Personal fave, I’m probably biased because I like to write, but even if you are coloring instead of writing, take a pen to paper and let something out.


3. Exercise. No rationale needed. Image of Coach Kimmy


2. Try something new. It’s refreshing and will take your mind off of something that is now in the past and no longer serves you. Image from Treeumph


Image from annual White Party.  Was a few days post-breakup!

1. Human connection. Get with your tribe. Talk it out for a little at book club. Go out dancing to a fundraiser party (NOTE: delete his number from your phone and do not call him from the party! Even if you dumped him. Even if he texted you that he misses you and he is sorry for [insert something that does not matter anymore here]. Onward. Forward. Upward. Back to dance floor. Home to beauty sleep.

Bonus. Make a gratitude list. Everything you are grateful for on paper. I never felt a stomach knot after making such a list.

journal pixy

What is one way you deal with a love or work breakup? Tell us @MsCareerGirl or tell the columnist @kellymc247

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Image credit: Hands Travel


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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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