10 years a widow

10 Years A Widow: Life’s Greatest Self-Improvement Course

(Author’s Note: Today’s post was written for employers and anyone who thinks that us widows are people who need to be avoided.)



The temptation when your employee suddenly becomes a widow is to get rid of them. If you do that, you will make one of the biggest mistakes in company history.

When you have an employee that works through her grief. She will be a better employee than before. In fact, she will be one of your best employees because grief is life’s greatest self-improvement course.

Let me put this in somewhat of a resume form. A normal resume would have the skills listed in two or three columns with no explanation, and absolutely positively NO Objective or Career Summary statement. A one-sentence power statement next to the applicant’s title is acceptable but not necessary. The power statement explains what the applicant is all about.

All this information would be in the Top-Fold (upper 1/3) of the resume as it is the most valuable piece of resume real estate.

Top-Fold of a Sample Resume

Power Statement: Call Center Specialist who gained new skills and a new perspective about customer service and life by choosing to work through life’s greatest self improvement course; imagine what I will do for your company.


Decision-making: Your employee has to decide whether she is going to stay stuck at Day 1 or move forward with her life taking the love of her husband with her.

Perseverance: Keep on fighting the good fight by getting out of bed every morning and showing up wherever she is needed and do whatever it takes to get the task done.

Seeks Help: Either from a support group like GriefShare or through individual counseling.

Serves Others: Finds a way to serve others in need because she knows that the best way to heal from grief is service to others. Service honors her husband and Jesus.

Vision: She either has a vision for her new life or is slowly working on one.

Taking Initiative: She takes the initiative to learn new skills to enhance her career and/or other areas of her life.

There are other skills that could be added and each skill will vary depending on your employee’s unique personality and prior experience.

What I’ve Learned

Let’s take a look at what I’ve learned and the evolution of my skills. In the past 10 years I’ve:

  • improved my writing skills. My style will always be conversational and never formal like an attorney or a business person.
  • improved my photography skills by taking an online course and reading a photography blog, but mostly by trial and error. I love to go to parks and take scenic pictures or get close up to a flower, bush, or animal. Photography has helped me learn to see things from different angles which carried over into seeing life from a new perspective.
  • took the initiative and started a blog that would be brighter in appearance and contain more inspiring and encouraging posts about being a widow and moving forward with a new life. However, it would also not shy away from discussing the tough issues because the journey through grief and building a new life is not all fun and games.
  • developed relationship building skills by meeting and becoming friends with people in online career chat rooms and Facebook groups.
  • learned about book launch teams by being a member of Ann Voskamp, Holley Gerth, and Kelley Balarie’s teams.
  • done a ton of networking, networking, and more networking by attending various networking events hosted by job search groups or by individuals hosting events designed to bring people from all walks of life together.
  • learned LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Powerpoint, PicMonkey, Ribbit (photo editing software), and virtual call center software.

Not Stopping

That is just some of what I have learned in the past 10 years. To say I’ve been forced outside my comfort zone is an understatement. While I enjoy meeting new people, I am an introvert and need my alone time to recharge my batteries.

Will I ever stop learning – no. When you stop learning you mentally die.

Don’t Give Up

So do not give up on your recently widowed employee, support her, encourage her as she works through her grief and gets back up to speed in performing her job. She is going through a stage of intense personal growth a stage that will help her become not only a better person but a better employee and a wonderful example of how a modern woman takes a punch and gets back up again.

Correction: The 10 Years A Widow series will end on Monday, April 23, 2018, and not Monday, April 30, 2018, as indicated in yesterday’s post.


Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.

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