Stability is a concept of the past. Very few of us have true job security or business security, and changes in technology and business force us to adapt to change if we want to enjoy our best life and career success.
Three years ago I started looking for work for the first time in over 5 years in a completely changed job market. As someone who considered myself a skilled and successful professional, I wasn’t prepared for the changes in the job market that occurred. After 6 months of looking for work while I had my pay cut and lost my benefits, I was laid off.
In the last two years I’ve had three different jobs. I have learned a lot from the last three years of employment instability and change, and I now feel better prepared to succeed in any economy and I am far more experienced at dealing with change.
Managing change is one of the most valuable skills you can have in your life and your career. It will help you stay calm and rational, reduce stress during stressful times, and will build your reputation as a valuable employee.
Here are some lessons I learned about managing change:
You don’t have all the information yet, and I strongly encourage you to wait for more information before making a major life decision during a transition. You may get laid off, but if you quit before the layoffs you could loose severance pay and unemployment benefits.
Depending on your financial situation, you may have the opportunity to turn down a job offer if the job is not right for you. If you’re not yet unemployed, or you’re newly unemployed, you don’t have to accept the first offer you receive.
I accepted my first job offer on unemployment out of fear, and had to quit that job because of unsatisfactory work conditions. After that experience, I turned down three job offers before accepting an offer that was right for me. I’m grateful I didn’t accept another job offer out of fear.
Keep it in perspective.
Unwanted change is scary- terrifying even! Your mind will start processing the worst case scenarios.
The truth is you don’t know what will happen. A positive outcome is just as likely as a negative one, and I repeated that statement to myself anytime I needed to hear it. I kept repeating it until I believed it.
Recognize and accept the situation is out of your control. There is peace of mind and heart in letting go of what you can’t control.
When I experienced the height of my uncertainty, worry and anxiety, I wrote the following on a note that I attached to my computer monitor, Just for today I will love myself enough to give up the struggle over something that is out of my hands.
I looked at that note every day, and every time the knot in my stomach started to grow. I took a deep breath in, and out. I walked. I stretched. I found some way to release the tension and negative energy from my body and I let it go.
Believe in yourself.
You’re capable, you’re skilled and smart and talented! Find your confidence within.
You have valuable skills and experience and you can put them to good use. Choose to put them to good use. Focus on what you can do (be the best at what you do best) instead of what you can’t do (change the situation).
After my company was acquired I was reassigned to a new job. I made a poor first impression on my new boss by focusing on my fears instead of my strengths. I started focusing on doing my best work instead of focusing on my fears, and I soon renewed my good reputation.
Invest in yourself.
Take advantage of opportunities to grow professionally.
Learn a new skill, network, take on a new project, get involved at work. You’ll boost your confidence, increase your value, and raise your visibility.
During my employment transitions I found a mentor, took advantage of training, joined professional associations, started this blog and improved my confidence and my skills. Taking an active role in my development made me feel empowered instead of helpless.
Take care of yourself.
You are better equipped to manage change when you’re practicing self-care.
Get enough sleep, get support from family and friends, eat well. You’ll feel far less stress if you are taking good care of your mental, emotional and physical well-being.
I notice a huge difference in how I deal with stress on days I feel well rested. Minor events that might disturb me when I’m tired do not disturb me when I’m rested. I can concentrate better, breathe easier and manage change better.
Stop negative thoughts and encourage positive thinking.
Your perception of your situation is vital to your success. When I was focusing on everything I didn’t like about my unwanted job change, I perceived my job to be terrible. When I choose instead to focus on everything I did like about my unwanted job change, I perceived my job to be a promising and exciting opportunity for growth.
I love your comments! What unwanted change have you experienced in the past three years? How were you affected?
Image courtesy of xcode.