Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Career transitions: From anxiety to performance


By Matthew Moran

Anyone who has found themselves suddenly out of work knows anxiety. If you're also coming to a realization that your skills are in less demand, and that work in your area of expertise is slowing, or virtually non-existent, this anxiety is magnified.

If you've found yourself in this situation, or are concerned you may soon be, here are some tips to alleviate the anxiety and help you take back control of your career.

First, I don't want to minimize the anxiety or frustration you may face in this situation. The material reality is that everyone, at some point in their life, will face a professional crisis that creates a negative economic event. As radio host and financial planner Dave Ramsey says, "Check to see if you have a pulse. If you do, negative economic events will occur."

While he provides excellent advice for the economic control and planning needed to weather such events, I want to address some of the concerns and strategies to help you weather the professional impact. If the truth be known, I want you to do more than weather your professional transition; I want you to thrive through it.

For this to take place you must understand the reality of a given job's importance, the idea of transcendent skills, and the idea of talent transfer.

Job importance

When I speak about job importance, I'm not speaking of its importance to your current financial condition. I understand the material reality is that we have bills and other financial obligations. I will, once again, refer back to Dave Ramsey, or other good financial planning advice, for expertise and input on bolstering your ability to better prepare for your negative financial events. Of course, most of us refer to such planners after the fact; when we're in a negative financial situation. Still, he has great advice in this area so don't overlook this resource.

Job importance, for the sake of this article, is related to its overall importance to your career. I often tell attendees to any of my speaking events that, "No job makes a career, and no job breaks a career." This is important not only to consider, but also to believe and adopt as a professional perspective.