7 Secret Emotions experienced during Career Transition
7 Secret Emotions experienced during Career Transition
There are many transitions that happen in life. School to Work, Single life to Married Life, Motherhood, Fatherhood, Employee to Self-Employment just to name a few.
Career Transition is not a transition we would have talked about 20 years ago because it just didn’t happen, it wasn’t the social norm.
Today, it’s a different story.
We find ourselves in a workforce where the nature of jobs are changing in how we work, where we work and who performs the work. It’s like a constant washing and spin cycle!
There is no doubt that this level of uncertainty is not going to change, hence we need to learn to adapt to the changes.
But what does it do to our emotions?
Here is a list of 7 secret emotions you can experience at different stages of the career transitioning process.
1. Shock, disbelief, numbness, and loss
These emotions are typical when you face involuntary or forced change by your employer. Like being made redundant or being fired. There is grief from a loss of your work relationships, the feeling of not belonging to a group anymore and losing your work purpose.
2. Frustration, Feeling Stuck, Anxiety, and Depression
Typically, experienced when you hate your job, you start questioning your values, your suitability for the position you have and ask yourself what else could you be doing. This is where you start thinking about a career change or transitioning jobs.
Some people don’t reach out for help because they think if they stay where they are they are safer. The behaviour is to usually avoid any change or to even look at their options. They are somewhat in denial of what they are feeling and typically brush it to one side.
3. Self-Doubt, Anxiety, and Depression intensifies then Anger sets in
This follows on from the feelings of frustration and feeling stuck if no action is taken. You lose hope, become confused about what career direction to go in and start to panic. If you start applying for jobs, you will not be able to hide the way you feel no matter how good you are at wearing the social mask.
Rejection from numerous job applications starts to really drop your mood and makes you feel vulnerable & deflated. If the depression intensifies, your life feels meaningless and you start to question who you are and what your purpose is.
This can start to affect your relationships and your daily work performance if you are still working. You can feel trapped and by this point, you feel so confused you can’t see the forest for the trees!
At this point, some people finally give themselves permission to have somebody help them.
4. Ability to let go and the return of hope
Discussion and a debrief of your feelings with a career professional can allow you to let go and see that your transition is not as bad as you think. Changing the way you think about a situation cannot be underestimated, it is quite powerful in itself.
Having a career counselling intervention reframes what your feeling during the career transition phases. One of the rewarding parts of my role is to give people hope and for people to know that they are never trapped, there is light!
At this stage, you come to realise that you need to leave the past behind and let go of this to be able to make room to move forward. A new future awaits you so you are hopeful as to what could be next.
5. Consideration, reflection, and calmness
With career interventions, comes consideration of alternative career options perhaps that have never been considered before. An objection viewpoint always brings a fresh viewpoint or new opportunity for growth and learning.
You feel engaged, reflective of possibilities and a new sense of calmness replaces the anger, anxiety, and depression you were previously feeling. You feel like you are being realigned with who you are, your values and what you want to achieve in your next career chapter.
6. Further reflection on finding a meaningful connection
At this stage of any career transition, you become further reflective on connecting the options available to you for what is best for you. With a fresh mind, you start to see what the next stage of your career looks like. You start to assess the risk involved to change or not to change.
You ask questions like, how will this affect me personally, my family, my income and will the change be worth it. A predictable future becomes possible and your new identity starts to emerge filling you with positive energy you haven’t felt for a long time.
7. A sense of renewal, excitement, and upswing of mood
Working through the pain of the first 3 earlier stages of emotions results in personal growth. You recognise that you are at the beginning of something new and you are totally refocussed. With a new sense of purpose, you can set new goals and push forward.
Engagement with recruiters or potential employers see a confident candidate who knows what they want and can sell themselves with natural ease. Personal relationships that were previously strained with your anger and depression see a renewed person who feels confident and has reframed any previous self-doubts which presented as an obstacle for moving forward.
Most adults have not been taught how to process their emotions of a career transition because of two reasons:
1. When you are a student growing up, you have had the security of a school system which provided a predictable transition structure. You started school in Kindergarten say aged 5 and then transitioned with support of teachers, parents, friends etc year by year all the way to year 12 say aged 18.
You have had the benefit of easy grade by grade transitioning. Your expectations once you reached the workforce is that career transitions would be the same. But unfortunately, they are not.
We know that many people don’t transition well without any support and find themselves trying to process a flood of emotions as detailed above. This is common with students leaving school transitioning to the workplace/university and for mature adults when changing jobs and careers after many years of working.
2. The school system also provided you with a sense of security that you were part of a school community regardless of problems you may have been experiencing. When you reach the workforce, there is no sense of security particularly in an environment of fast technological change and constant organisational restructures.
Any issues you may be having may lack the support of others unless the organisation has robust wellbeing policies.
If you are thinking of career transition, the elephant in the room is your emotions. If you process these with the right level of support you develop a level of resilience that allows you to bounce back from any adversity that you will be faced with and transition successfully through whatever changes cross your career journey path.
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