Layoffs. A tumultuous job market. An uncertain economy. Regardless of how–there’s no doubt that many professionals have recently encountered challenges in their careers and work life. Perhaps, you’re re-entering the workforce after the pandemic forced you out for a few years. Or maybe, you’ve decided that in pursuit of better work-life integration, or you want a whole new career in a new field, or you might be navigating a hybrid, remote, or in-person work schedule. Whatever the reason, starting a new job or career transition comes with plenty of uncertainty and anxiety.
What new or updated skills and technology will you have to learn? How do you deal with having to accept a lower salary than what you made previously? And what happens if after all the worry and change your new job ends up not being so secure after all? If any of these thoughts are keeping you up at night, you aren’t alone. Read on for a discussion on five of the most common challenges of job and career transitions and how to work through them.
Learning New Skills and Starting Over
Even if you aren’t completely switching careers, keeping up with new skills upon return to the workforce comes with a learning curve. And if you are changing fields, chances are you’re starting from scratch–or at least with less experience than your previous career. In order to stop that overwhelming, stressed-out feeling in its tracks, keep in mind throughout life you never stop learning. No one, including your new employer, will expect you to be an instant expert.
It used to be true that the more years of experience you had, the higher the salary you were likely to get paid. While that may be true in some fields, with the economy in a precarious place and an incredibly competitive job market, it isn’t always a guarantee. Your new job, or career field, might not pay the same as what you’d made previously, but remember why you’re making the change. Does it offer less stress? Does it give your more fulfillment? While money is important, there are some things it can’t buy.
Rebuilding and Growing Your Network
One of your greatest assets when it comes to progressing and transitioning throughout your career is your network. Former managers, colleagues, and other professional connections can help ease the stress that comes with job changes. As time goes on, people come and go, and roles evolve, make sure your network evolves with it. Something as simple as an introduction can do wonders for your nerves and increase future prospects.
More and more, we see reports of people starting in new roles with new companies only to be laid off within a year or even a few months. Unfortunately, the same can also be said of employees with more established companies. To minimize their long-term risk, employers have been increasingly conservative with hiring and the level of staff they maintain. As unpleasant as the experience can be, remember that being laid off has nothing to do with you personally–it’s a business decision that affects you. To help ease the what-if anxiety, focus on what you can control–like building your network within that field and preparing financially, just in case.
Change Can Be Unnerving
Change isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t guarantee a bad or difficult experience. If you’re feeling uneasy, anxious, or super stressed about the changes and challenges of job and career transitions, make space to process those feelings. Moderate levels of stress are normal, good even. It can be the momentum that propels you forward to meet challenges and try new things. But if you find it to be more paralyzing than positive, consider talking to someone about how you’re feeling.
Our therapists here at Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness are committed to helping you feel content and confident in your career transitions. Learn how to deal with stress and anxiety that can come with starting over in your professional life. Call, text, or email us.
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