I’m not going to lie to you, a job (or career) change can be a challenge. It’s challenging in more ways than just a change in daily routine.
This is a “buzz phrase” in the world today, and it really deserves to be. Being mentally healthy is such an important aspect of living an satisfying existence.
The factors that contribute to overall mental health are vast and diverse. For some people, having a consistent, dependable schedule is the only way to get through the day, while others are not phased by anything less than “major changes”.
I fall somewhere in the middle; accepting that the only constant and guaranteed thing in life is exactly that, CHANGE. It’s inevitable and never-ending.
It’s important to take inventory of our mental and emotionally well-being. If a job is really stressing you out… It might be worth it to seek alternative options for income, even if it means a decrease in pay, if living expenses can be adjusted, your mental (and physical) well-being should be prioritized.
If you’re feeling stressed, take a moment to read my other post “How much stress can you handle from work?“.
A change of scenery can and will be an adjustment, and mentally we have to be aware of that going into it. Don’t be afraid to fail at a new adventure, because at the end of the day, we learn from failures, not from successes.
Struggling to learn a new role
This is the aspect of career changes that I am struggling with now.
Recently, I’ve changed careers in a big way…
I came a manufacturing industry with production demands, only responsible for 2-3 people under me, and my work for the past 5 years.
Now I’m in a dealership, service writer/administrator role. I don’t work with my hands every day, and I have to communicate with customers directly.
Talk about a night and day difference. Understanding the way humans work, how they feel, and the nuances involved in negotiations and dealing with an unfamiliar industry is a lot to take on.
The potential for failure is high when making a massive change, and that’s okay once we accept the fact that we don’t know everything there is to know, and it’s our responsibility to grow and learn and become whole individuals.
To learn a new role at a new company, it’s aptitude and attitude. The following acronym is expressive: BLISS
- Bring energy
- Learn everything
- Inquire when curious
- Stay focused
- Stop doubting yourself
The definition of bliss is joy, or perfect happiness. It makes sense to enter into a new adventure with your head high, spirits up and with an attitude that says “I can do this!”.
This is especially true when starting a position at a company that you admire, respect or is a dream job.
Dealing with your old employer
It’s said that we “never want to burn a bridge”, which is absolutely true. I wouldn’t recommend ever intentionally burning a bridge, because it’s unprofessional, and it’s never good to break a network connection in this world of “who you know”.
With that being said…
If you’re valuable to the company you’re leaving (likely because you’re under-valued, and under-appreciated), that employer will find a way to burn the bridge for you.
Imagine the following scenario:
You find a great opportunity to grow as a professional, finally with much consideration, you apply, get an interview, and are made an offer.
Taking the offer means writing a two-week resignation letter (typically) and turning it in to your soon-to-be old employer.
Those two weeks will go by, you’ll leave and begin at the new company.
If you were a key individual at the previous company, there will be a void. The void will cause some chaos, and the company will not function smoothly. Often times, this has less to do with you leaving, and more to with company culture.
Ultimately, in your absence, you might be blamed for the way things are running with you gone. This is because it’s easier to blame others for our mistakes, instead of taking steps to find a solution.
Move forward, accepting the experience gained, and acknowledge the mistakes made for the betterment of the future.
Compensation & Benefits
The BIG one for readers with a family.
BENEFITS are the deciding factor in so many career moves. Hopefully the new employer offers better benefits, or they’re leveled out by salary compensation.
Remember, negotiate from a position of power (like having a steady job and sitting in an interview for a new company).
When an unemployed person is interviewing for a position, unfortunately they’re not in a great position to negotiate.
But, negotiate for the best pay (try not to reveal your current pay to the employer because this often hurts the negotiation). If it doesn’t make financial sense to make a change, wait for a better opportunity. Unless stress is really a contributing factor and it’s just time for a change of pace.
Breathe, Walk, and Focus
Breathing exercises are very popular for a medical reason. Your body is sending a message to your brain in order to calm down, lower your heart rate and relieve stress.
For more on this, check out this article from Michigan University on “Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation“.
Take a walk daily; park in a municipal lot, and walk around a safe, small town regularly. The health benefits of being in motion are known and don’t have to be repeated here, but the mental benefits are there as well.
Just take a 20 minute walk, and tell me how you feel after.
It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings while walking, so use good judgement and caution, especially walking along busy roadways or high-crime areas. Do so at your own risk.
Focus on goals, move toward those goals, and keep on adjusting those goals to reach further than you though possible!