Three keys for adapting to any career change
First, in your work life, assess your transferable skills. For example, if you were a video store manager whose store closed, your skills likely include hiring and staffing, inventory, merchandising, and customer service. Look at what other stable and growing professions and industries use those skills and join their leading association. This enables you to actively make connections with new people in a sector that has more optimism than the one you’re currently in.
If your loved ones are contributing to your negative mindset, sit down with them and have an honest conversation about the current situation and your options for change. For example, if you realize you need to relocate to find a new job, and your spouse does not want to move, show the reality of the situation. You might say, “If we remain here we can’t maintain our lifestyle. We’ll have to downsize to a one-bedroom apartment or move in with family. But if we relocate to this area where jobs in my sector are plentiful, we can maintain our lifestyle, just in a different zip code. What makes the most sense to you?” Be calm and use specifics when you talk. Chances are the loved one will see the necessity for whatever change is needed.
3. Do scenario planning.
Write out detailed scenarios about what can happen if you adapt, if you fail to adapt, and if you somewhat adapt. You need to do all three rather than single point planning, because single point planning can set you up for frustration if the plan doesn’t go exactly as outlined.
This sort of triple scenario planning is based on stress inoculation training, which encourages people to anticipate a negative event and explore how they might deal with it in various ways. Should the negative event actually occur, the person has an idea of what to do to overcome, which makes the negative event less stressful. The scenario planning works a lot like stress inoculation training.
For example, if you’ve been laid off and can’t find a new job in your area, you may decide that your best case scenario if you adapt is to find a job you love—one that pays great and offers high satisfaction—albeit in a different part of the country. If you fail to adapt, that scenario may include you moving back in with your parents and working at a minimum wage entry level job that you hate. And if you somewhat adapt, perhaps you find a good paying job in your town, but you’re doing work that doesn’t give you much joy or satisfaction.
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