When you go through career change it can cause a huge upheaval in your emotional stance. There can be many different reasons for a career change, whether or not it is your choice or if you have been made redundant from your job. Losing and changing your job is actually ranked as one of the situations that can cause high levels of stress. Either way, you will most likely go through, what professionals have termed, the Emotional Cycle of Change.
As emotional beings, we all react to situations in a range of different ways and can take different lengths of time to come out the end of a hard period and this is what the graph represents. When going through a career change, you will find that your emotions can bounce around quite a bit whilst you try to make sense of your situation.
The good news is, that sooner or later, you will find acceptance, reach the Completion stage and begin to work through work and your life in a healthier and positive way again. The cycle can be described in four key stages:
Stage 1 – Uninformed Optimism
• You feel excited that you have made the decision to change or if change has been forced upon you, you remain positive that change can be a good thing.
• If you are without work for a period of time during this stage, you can feel positive yet nervous about having the time off to relax, looking at it as having the time to figure out what it is you should do now.
Stage 2 – Informed Pessimism
• The very nature of humans determines that when we have a high, a low follows and this is true of career change. It can be a scary time, changing roles and so when it happens, you start to worry that maybe you made the wrong decision and that your old role wasn’t so bad after all.
• You can also panic that your new employer expects too much of you and that you will never be able to make your new role a success. You begin to doubt yourself more and more and begin to lose faith in why you changed roles at all, asking yourself what the point of it all was? You start to believe that it’s all too hard and that you want to quit!
Stage 3 – Informed Optimism
• More often than not, people do persevere and get to this stage, as the majority find that the desire to succeed is stronger than the desire to give up.
• This leads to new positive emotion as you start to settle in your new role, perhaps coming up with innovative ideas and being praised by your boss. This feeds into your ego, giving you a much needed boost, as you hadn’t thought up to this point that you were going to be a success in your new role.
• Emotions continue to rise as you become better and more confident in your new role and you realise that you are actually enjoying yourself.
Stage 4 – Completion
• Enough time has gone by now, allowing you to feel settled in your role. You are, once again, pleased that you made the decision to change your career and now look forward to a successful future at work.
The Emotional Cycle of Change does not occur overnight. It takes time for people to settle into change, so try to stay relaxed throughout the process, realise that it is natural to have low emotional periods as well as highs and just try to look forward to a time in the future when you will be established in your new career.