The nurse executive has been especially vulnerable to unexpected job loss as a result of financial and other pressures in the health care environment. The nurse leader is often the one who holds the standards of quality and safety above those of cost. While there may be many reasons or factors that affect a sudden removal of a nurse leader, the problem is that the unexpected job loss is often a devastating and traumatic event to the individual affected. Twelve nurse executives who experienced unexpected job loss were interviewed in depth for this study. Stories collected illustrated deep personal and professional loss of identity and self-esteem as well as colleagues and friends. Their resilience and ability to get past this adversity aided the nurse leaders in their healing, recovery, and reinvention of their professional selves. Finally, following reflection, the participants offer strategies for averting unexpected job loss as well as preparing for transition.