Use these strategies to regain control of your professional life.
CHANGING JOBS-either in your current facility or outside it-comes with its own set of stresses. You must deal with feelings of uncertainty, go through the interview process, be the "new person" once again, and change part of your identity. To regain control of your professional life, take the following steps.
Know yourself. What do you like about your current position or past positions? What have you done in the past that's been successful and rewarding? Make a list of professional accomplishments and showcase your successes. Keep this updated along with your resume.
Have a plan. Regularly think about where you see yourself in 5 years. How will you get there? Do you have the right education and experience to be successful? Have a vision, both short- and long-term, for you and your career.
Allow yourself emotional release. If you're feeling uncertain or anxious about the prospect of a change, give yourself permission-for a limited time only-to emote. Cry, yell, laugh. Then move on.
Ask someone you trust for advice. Discuss your situation openly and listen to feedback. Ask for input and advice. Develop an action plan for how you'll use the advice.
Trust your instincts. You may feel as if you're tied in knots, but over time you'll begin to know what's right for you.
Objectively evaluate your situation. Make a list of what you value at a job and note whether each item is a necessity or a convenience. Examine your current situation based on these criteria.
Use your network. Your colleagues, friends, and associates in similar fields can be great assets to you. Keep a resume with you when you attend meetings or conferences; you don't want to miss a good opportunity to network!!
Take a positive stance. You owe it to yourself to remain as positive as possible. You're beginning the ultimate in salesmanship-marketing yourself and your abilities. Focus on your strengths, but recognize what you need to work on.
Set aside some financial resources. You may need to tap into extra funds for travel, copying materials, and other expenses. You may even need some reserves to tide you over if you find yourself unemployed.
Know your field. What are the jobs of the future for your area of interest? Are you preparing yourself for a job that will meet a demand?
Consider your options. You can stay where you are and see what happens next, you can seek another opportunity within your organization, or you can seek employment elsewhere. Avoid quitting your job before you have another offer in place.
Do research. Go to the library, see a career counselor, or go online for information.
Take your time. Avoid making a final decision when you're overstressed.
Get ready to interview. Update your resume. Assemble a portfolio of your accomplishments. Read books on the interviewing process and practice being interviewed so you can get accustomed to responding. If you're asked to describe something that didn't work out well, be prepared to explain what you've learned from the experience.
Contact headhunters or employment agencies. Get your name and situation out there. You won't get any offers if no one knows that you're looking.
Realize that work is only one part of your life. If you're seeking all of life's rewards from your job-safety, self-esteem, affiliation, acceptance, reward, and recognition-you'll always be unhappy. Balance your life so that your work enriches it-and recognize that you have other contributions to make in life.
Take care of your whole self. You're a spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and intellectual being. Exercise, eat healthy, pray or meditate, and cultivate positive professional and social relationships. Take care of your personal relationships too. Remember that what affects you affects your family members, especially if you're the breadwinner. Share your concerns and get their support as well.
"Keeping your cool while changing your job," M. Fitzpatrick, CareerDirectory2002, p. 42.