New year, new you—new job. At least, that may be the case for coworkers and friends who are job hunting and exploring new career options as we tip-toe into 2019. “When the start of a new year rolls around, many people see their friends, family, and coworkers embrace the saying, ‘new year, new me,’ and make big changes in their lives, from personal lifestyle adjustments to career transformations,” says Michael Steinitz, executive director of staffing firm Accountemps. But if you’re not on the new-year-new-job bandwagon, you might feel a sense of FOMO—fear of missing out—as you watch others take on new jobs and challenges.
“The feeling of FOMO is totally normally and is the same whether your neighbor buys a new car or a sibling [gets a new job],” says Madelyn Mackie, certified career management coach and trainer. “You might put yourself in their places and think, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if I had more money, a flexible schedule, a shorter commute, a nicer boss? It’s just human nature.”
If you’re feeling job-search FOMO, don’t despair: Here are four things you can do instead.
1. Be a good friend.
“First and foremost, do not let FOMO, jealousy, or bitterness ruin a friendship,” Mackie says. Instead, “support your friends and co-workers in their quest by asking how you can help,” she suggests. For example, you might be able to introduce them to peers in your network—or help them prepare for their interview. It won’t hurt to brush up on your skills either!
2. Conduct a self-audit.
FOMO can be overwhelming. But “don’t make any changes based on what others are doing,” warns Steinitz, who adds that, “everyone has different reasons for needing [or wanting] a change in employment, and their situation is different from your own.” Steinitz suggests if you suddenly feel an urge to change jobs or careers, that you take a moment to ask yourself why. “Is it for career growth? To reduce your commute time? Earn greater compensation?” he says. “Then, consider whether these things can be addressed at your current company.”
3. Learn from others’ experience.
As you’re watching others apply for new jobs and make changes, “ask them what they have learned during the process and what they wish they had put in place sooner,” Mackie says. “Maybe they wished they had used LinkedIn to build a strong network, or taken advantage of professional development opportunities from their employer, or kept their resume up to date.” Once you have their answers, you can use them to enhance your job—or a job search.
4. Talk with your manager.
If you have concluded it’s time for a new challenge, Steinitz suggests speaking to your boss before you jump ship. “See if there’s anything that can be done to improve your current situation, like taking on stretch assignments or enrolling in courses to further your skills and experience,” he says. You may find you don’t need to leave your company after all.
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