Career Advice

Don’t Meltdown: How to Handle Major Changes At Work

As we dig into the autumn season and eye winter, not only do many Americans anticipate the change in weather but many also gear up for changes at work. From the annual review cycle to promotions and layoffs, it is that time of year when even the most core values of a company and the steadiest of industries can experience shake-ups.

When you’re standing on the cusp of change, you must remember that your best course of action will be one that allows you to ride out the ups and downs as well as plan strategically for your future. If you’re not ready, get ready. Here’s how.

1. Open channels of communication are key.
Changes on the job are akin to making a major physical move, as a result, allow yourself pep talks and cut yourself the kind of slack you would if you were making a cross-country move. Not everything will be perfect, but all things will work in the end. The same outlook should be implemented at work—make sure that flexibility and consistency are at the heart of all of your communications, especially during review time.

[Related: 5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Annual Performance Review]

2. Define your role.
The added benefit of recognizing that this is the season for corporate shifts is being able to define your role. Are you going to be the office support, the Debbie downer, the person who keeps working despite the turmoil or the employee who mentally checks out. Impending change gives you the opportunity to define your role and set boundaries.  Instead of being swayed by others’ opinions and the stressors around you, hunker down and remain in charge of your own thoughts, emotions and next steps during this time. The key is to stay true to you.

3. Prioritize consistency.
While your career may be in the midst of major change, a big anchor in your life will be found in your effort to continue being productive in other areas of your life. Make ‘business as usual’ your life motto for the time being.

[Related: 5 of the Hottest Productivity Apps to Download Now]

4. Intentionality and planning go hand in hand
You can’t just react; success in spite of change takes time/planning and executing on the plan. Make sure that you clearly outline and understand what your goals are, how your transition will be made and whom you’ll have to loop in while you’re making them. Whether you’re planning to change jobs, leave the company or make a move for a senior position, delving into these logistics will help you in the long run.

5. Embrace the feelings
At the end, once you’ve weathered this season of professional uncertainty, you will be emotional. Some of your colleagues may be laid off, your job may change, the company may be on unsteady ground. Be ready to embrace the ups and downs of these feelings because they are more than normal.

Remember, that while there are many factors that are dependent on timelines or other people, you are steering your own ship. Focus on yourself and your work, remembering to find balance both personally and professionally. Make sure you prioritize what matters most in your life and steer your career in the direction you see fit.

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