Part one: Initial emotions when facing a career move

Whether the decision to leave an organisation was forced or planned you may find that you experience several different emotions such as denial, panic, loss of confidence, euphoria and blame. Rather than a steady change of emotions often you will feel differently day by day. Below are some of the comments I received relating to those emotions.

“When faced with leaving my job of 13 years, I experienced a vast array of emotions. Certainly, there was sadness at the end of an era, but interspersed with this I felt terrified of the unknown and excited at the prospect of something new. I had been a gerbil on a Corporate wheel for over 20 years and I was scared. But I think it is important to recognise those emotions and go with them, as they will help you to find the right thing for you.”

“I remember the day I was told I would be made redundant. I thought my world would come crashing down around me. Of course it didn't”  

“It is OK to be angry & it is OK to be excited about the new things and possibilities - mixed emotions are going to happen.”

“I wanted to get through the early stages (numb, anger, feeling of betrayal, fear, etc) asap.  Easier said than done but not helpful to just feel sorry for yourself - next step was down to me.”

“I found it helped to allow myself period of self-indulgence, rather like grieving. To give into it, be sad, be angry- it’s not fair. I found it easier to let this out rather than deny it. Then after this you can move on to make it work for you – make it into an opportunity.”

“Be prepared for the physical side effects if you leave one role before getting another one. For me that included insomnia, something I had never suffered from before. I would also switch between lying there thinking "I'm brilliant, of course I will get a new job quickly" to "what happens if I don't get a new job.”

“When the change is forced upon you I think it is important to understand it may take some time to come to terms personally with the reasons why it happened. You need to do this and ultimately reconcile in your own mind the reasons and focus on the positive experiences because at some point you will need to be able to articulate this to a potential new employer.”

“Many confuse their identity with their work and if we are in this position when the job goes a crisis of self-confidence can occur which can act as a brake on seeing and getting into new opportunities. The truth is you are not defined by your job – you are so much more important than that and you need to grasp this truth to use the opportunity of a break in your career, especially if it is forced upon you, as just that. An opportunity to re-evaluate what really matters to you – friends, family, faith and so on – and yes, work – and then to be patient and confident as you look at what your heart’s desires really are and what the opportunities are.”

I want to end this section on a positive note. I used to think it was a cliché when people said that their job being made redundant was the best thing that happened to them but I have heard these words hundreds of times from my clients so I now believe it to be true. Here are a couple of examples:

“Firstly, whether the change is your choice or forced upon you there will be times when it feels scary, this is normal, try not to panic! Remain positive and trust that good will come from this, I am yet to speak to anyone who has not had a good outcome from a career change, you really just need to maintain your self belief, I found this easier to do once I was clear about what I wanted to do next - see below.”

“Remain positive and optimistic- there will be ups and downs throughout your search but remember most people will say when they have moved on to their new work life after they were faced with a career move, that ultimately this was the best thing that ever happened to them.  Good things are in store.  Good luck.”

They key is to acknowledge the range of emotions and start to take back control. It can feel as though things are being done to you and that can be hard to cope with. This series of mini guides will give you some practical tips and hints from people that have been through it and found what they are looking for. The next one is about assessing your skills and how to present them to the market.

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