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Change jobs easily: How to transition into a new job smoothly
Yes! You got the job offer, life is promising, you won’t starve after all….now it turns out they need you to start right away but you are feeling emotionally and psychologically unprepared.
What do you do when you have to end one job Friday, and start the next Monday? Or maybe your graduation party is the weekend before you don work clothes. Or maybe your previous occupation has been looking for work, which can be a job in itself.
Sometimes life doesn’t give us the fuzzy, quiet times we need to make big life transitions. This can be emotionally jarring, so how do you guide yourself compassionately across the bridge?
Twice I have experienced such rapid professional transitions, and both times it’s left me feeling in a fog, suffering from deer-in-the-headlights shock. When you’ve been in one pattern for so long, it’s hard to realign yourself with new coworkers and a new work mission.
While waiting for the "Inception-kick" to jolt me out of my dream state, I found a few techniques that helped to ease the transition.
1. Get Nine Hours of Sleep
But…no one gets nine hours of sleep anymore you say, it’s just not possible. Tough patooties – turn off the light at 10 p.m. or 9:30, whenever you have to. Your brain needs that switched-off time because it’s been under rapid fire during the day, trying to absorb the details of your new job. Harvard medical researchers have found that sleep is key to the learning process. It turns out that while our conscious is taking a break during sleep, our subconscious is hard at work processing and consolidating our new experiences into memory. Want to show your new boss that you’re a quick learner? Don’t want to ask your new coworkers for help on the same task every day? Get ample sleep.
2. Keep Up With Your Hobbies
Don’t let your hobbies slide just because everything around you is new and uncertain. At this stage of your life it’s more important than ever to give yourself time to exercise and maintain your creative outlets. So go for that jog to shake off the day, or express yourself by writing a new entry in your blog!
3. Spend More Time Alone
The newness of everything means that you need to give it all time to settle. Work more silence into your evenings to allow things to process. You don't have to necessarily get out the meditation music, although kudos to you if you can reach that level of mental silence! Read a book, walk places, and do your errands very slowly. I once spent two hours grocery shopping, just enjoying the peace of the produce section.
You don’t have to consider yourself a writer to benefit from journaling. Scribble down in free form:
- What you liked about your last job
- What you are beginning to like about the new one
No need to think about negatives right now. Staying positive about the past will give you a well of strength to draw from, and seeing the positives in your new job will make you feel ready to navigate new territory. You can think more critically about your career path later - be kind to yourself now and take the plunge with a smile.
By journaling you also awaken yourself to the details around you, allowing you to acclimatize to your new job faster.
Find Work-Life Balance and a Sense of Self
These pointers are meant to keep you feeling balanced during the tough mental transition of working eight hours a day in a new environment. To perform your best during work hours, keep yourself healthy and calm during non work hours. This means going back to the basics and keeping certain things in your life constant. In the end, it’s important to not forget who you are during non-work hours, because no matter how many career transitions you make, you will always have your core self.