Recently I went through a transition within my career. I left a company and industry I had been working in for almost 12 years. It was an extremely exhausting process. One filled with pain, anger and uncertainty. I chose to full-heartedly embrace that transition because I could see where it was leading. I didn't see the end destination necessarily but I could see how this was the right road to try and walk down. That vision is a beautiful thing but it doesn't necessarily make it any easier.
Typically, transition doesn't have that much appeal for people. I happen to know quite a few people who have been in flux for months and are coming up to a large transition in the workplace. I get calls every single day from people requesting help with their resume's and Linkedin profiles. They express uncertainty and feelings of fear, anxiety and in few (very few) cases a little bit of excitement.. This, of course is understandable, we as humans do not respond well to change.
In terms of change at work, the number one reason that people have feelings of anxiety and fear is because so much is unknown. it makes sense, think about the beginning of time and cave men were the hunters of the family.
There was so much unknown in their lives and therefore they were in a constant state of fear. It works that way for "negative bias" which we have discussed before but it also exhibits itself in other ways. One of those ways is something called "risk society".
A fancy term to say we freak out when we think something is on the line. So how we do stop freaking out? First things first, let's really talk about what the word "transition" really means. The first thing that stands out (at least to me) is that none of the words used to describe transition carry a negative conotation. In fact the definition actually describes a process of MOVING FORWARD.
You may have notice the painstaking efforts I made to stay away from the word "change". I did that because I think that words causes seizures in people or something. But in the end it all boils down to change. We as a species do not take well to change.
I found an article from Forbes Magazine written by Jacquelyn Smith with some great tips for transition, "12 Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Change at Work"
12 tips is great and the article is actually worth a read BUT...if you are anything like me, 12 feels like a lot. (said as I ramble on for multiple paragraphs). For this reason I thought it might be good to focus on one that isn't on the list.
How simple is that? The first thing everyone wants to do when they freak out is find out as much information as they can from any source that they can. The problem with this is that it turns into one giant game of telephone. Remember that game from childhood? Nothing correct ever comes out on top in the game of telephone.
It is important for me to note that I did NOT use this advice when I went through my work transition. I looked for information any and everywhere I could. That is why it is my advice to you. I lived through it. I came out on the other end but I had a lot of bruises along the way. This is my advice. stop talking about it. stop listening to it. Whenever possible take the telephone away from your ear. Having rumors swirling in your head only brings about more fear. Imagine if you got the heck out of the game and could just wait for the real phone call to come in.
If you need to talk to someone, make it a friend outside of work and talk about something completely unrelated. Make it one of those friends that makes you smile and laugh and get silly with them.
Yup, I am talking about good old fashioned taking your mind off the situation. It is not avoidance per se, it is redistributing your energy into something you that doesn't make your blood pressure raise.