I used to think that a certain amount of worry was productive. I saw myself focusing on things that might happen. I was being vigilant. I was anticipating problems. Business people need to anticipate problems to reduce risks.
Everyone experiences a moment of uncertainty from time to time. However, making a practice of worrying is painful and, for me, counterproductive. Career worries distract me from my work. They drain my energy. They make me less engaged with my co-workers.
When I am worrying, I am not finding a solution to anything. What happens when I worry is that a painful idea comes into my mind my and begins to draw my attention. Eventually another idea will come along and push the thought away. However, the thought that was the subject of my worrying will return in my mind. My tendency is to roll the idea over in my mind with the notion that I will find some solution to whatever is on my mind. Instead of a solution, I find that the same work worries just loop in my head.
Planning is different from worrying. When I am planning, I may be dealing with the same subject that had been causing me to worry. However, when I am worrying, I am living inside my head. When I am planning, I take the idea out of my head and put it on paper. Alan Stock, Lifehacker, writes, “Take Stock: Evaluate Yourself.”
- I write down my options and resources.
- I begin to determine if the problem is worth my attention at all. I discuss the problem with my wife or with friends who help me see the issue for what it really is.
- I start to create a solution.
- I can list steps to working on a problem.
- I can see my options instead of just running the same painful idea through my mind.
Just by putting things on paper, I take the power out of worrying. I find relief from the pain of work worries. Sometimes I forget that career worries are not career solutions. However, after enough pain, I take action. I want to have fun in the world around me and not live in my head. I try to avoid career worries through creating career plans.
Turn Your Career Worries into Career Plans.
If you have a job, increase your value to your company.
- Take on extra work. Ask your supervisor for ways you can help with projects.
- Before you leave work every day complete one extra task.
- Build your skills by meeting with co-workers and learning what they are doing.
- Take skills development courses outside of work.
- Let people know about the additional things that you are doing.
- Enroll in a local college or online college program and get a credential or certificate.
- Get an MBA or MS or other advanced degree.
- If you do not have a degree, take an accelerated degree program for people who have jobs.
Give yourself additional security by secretly looking for another job.
- Update your resume.
- Review connections who can help you.
- Talk with your friends who can keep your discussion confidential and who can help you with your career plan.
- Limit your job search efforts to after work hours or on vacation days.
To turn your career worries into career plans take action. Get out of your head and into the present moment. What you think is a matter of your choice. Think about your success and create a plan to make your success a reality.