Leaving Your Identity Behind

Jim McAlexander and I wrote an article about leaving identity-central communities. We both felt strongly about the subject because we had such a heart for the people we interviewed who were going through the difficult process.

Leaving communities or institutions that have become an institutional pillar of identity turns out to be a much stickier, difficult, and longer process than had previously been examined in the literature at the time. The subsequent article that was accepted for publication was about four drafts later–with two more coauthors–for the Journal of Consumer Research (Marketization of Religion, JCR 2014).

We turned the first paper that was simply titled “Leaving” into a chapter for Susan Fornier’s book Strong Brands, Strong Communities. The book is not in print any longer, and the chapter is not available anywhere online, except in Google Books with a number of pages left out, as Google Books does.

Going through my weird time of exile here in Newfoundland, having left behind virtually every identity-salient institution I’d been a part of previously, has been extremely difficult. This experience is why I started coaching other professionals who were going through times of transition, such as joining the Great Recession or leaving academia.

I recently reread this article, and was surprised at how prescient the analysis was for the time I was to go through, and how many of these concepts I use successfully in my coaching. I scanned the pages and merged the images into a pdf to share here.

Published by

Beth DuFault PhD

I coach professionals/executives navigating career transitions and life change Certified Transformation Life Coach | Restorative Yoga RYT-200 | Reiki Practitioner I&II | Certified Mindfulness Coch | Certified Forgiveness Coach | Ph.D. in Mangement/Sociology

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