Feeling stuck is a sensation many of us can relate to. We may not know the reason why immediately, but we know we don’t feel happy. Something is keeping us rooted to the spot and we feel restricted, unable to grow and therefore stagnant.
Listen to this article:
Identify the cause
The word ‘stuck’ is ambiguous and recognising this feeling is a good first step, but alone it isn’t particularly helpful. The only way you’ll help yourself become unstuck is by getting to the root of how you’re feeling. Here are some examples of why you may be feeling stuck.
You’re not sure what you want to move towards
Sometimes we feel stuck because we’re simply unsure of what we want from our career anymore. We don’t have a goal or vision guiding our way so we don’t know where we want to go work-wise. Reconnecting with your core values is an excellent first step here and you might also find it helpful to learn more about your strengths (you can take a free assessment at viacharacter.org). Then you might want to ask yourself some big questions with these values and strengths in mind. Picture your perfect day at work, five years from now – what are you doing? Who are you doing it with? Where are you?
Visualising your perfect day can help you uncover the feeling you want and help you identify the first steps you can take to get there.
It can be easy to become complacent at work and this can quickly lead to boredom. Perhaps you don’t feel challenged at work, or you’re not working in a field you feel passionate about. Whatever the reason, boredom requires change to shake things up.
Depending on your situation, big changes might not be possible, but what about small changes? Go to your manager and ask for a small change that could help you feel more engaged at work, telling them your reasoning and how it will benefit the company. Treat it like an experiment and see how it makes you feel, this small change could open the door for bigger changes down the line.
If you don’t believe change within your current role will be enough, it may be time to look for other jobs. Try reaching out to someone in the job or industry you’re considering and see if you can chat to them to learn more about desired skills or ways into the job.
You’re stuck in chaos
When the default state at work is ‘hectic’, it can be hard to move anywhere. You’ll likely find yourself fire-fighting on a daily basis, reacting to incoming tasks rather than working on what you truly want to in order to progress in your career.
It can be helpful here to raise this with your line manager to try and find ways you can move forward amongst the busy-ness. Can you delegate tasks? Do you need to reaffirm your boundaries and say no more often?
Try ear-marking some sacred time where you will work on projects that will move you and the company forward each week. Set boundaries around this time and make it a ‘do not disturb’ day (or morning/afternoon if a whole day isn’t possible) so others in the company know not to come to you with questions. Even if you only manage a couple of hours a week, you’ll be amazed at how much progress you can make in focused bursts.
Once you’ve identified why you feel stuck, you can move onto the next step – taking action.
Clarity can’t be achieved through thinking, guessing or hypothesising. Instead you need to start taking action depending on what cause you’ve identified and notice what helps and what doesn’t.
For example, you may think a small change will help you feel less bored at work, but once you’ve made that change you may still feel unfulfilled and stuck. This can uncover a deeper unhappiness and prompt you to think about your purpose and what more you want from your work life.
You don’t need to be absolutely sure to take action, this clarity and confidence will come once you start moving forward. Consider any stumbles that happen on the way as feedback, helping you get closer to what you truly want.
As simple as some of these ideas may sound when written out in an article, uncovering what’s really going on and taking action can be tough. Self-doubt can pipe up, we may lose our nerve or it may simply feel easier to stay stuck than move forward. This is why getting support can be so powerful.
Career coaching is an option many turn to in these circumstances. Working with an unbiased professional can offer the space you need to dig a little deeper, unpick why you feel stuck and offer the accountability you need to take action.
If this isn’t possible, you may want to talk things through with your line manager at work, HR or even a friend – someone who’s rooting for you to feel more fulfilled. You could ask them to gently hold you accountable and check in with you to see how you’re getting on.
Either way, know that you don’t have to go through this alone. Lots of people have felt this way and go on to become unstuck, happier and more fulfilled.
Use our search tool to find a career coach.
As much as some of us might miss the office, it’s definitely time to accept that working from home isn’t going anywhere. After three lockdowns, it’s easy to start feeling burnt out on working from home and dreading the morning ‘commute’ from your bed to your desk.
To help keep things fresh, video conference call provider PowWowNow has shared six practical ways you can stop the burnout and keep your work/life balance in order – even when your work and your life are both stuck inside.
1. Build little joys into your days
Half the fun of working in an office is the random moments that make your day, like your colleague suggesting a new place for lunch or a funny email typo that’s promptly sent around the entire office. Those spontaneous moments are harder to come by when working from home, so you need to make an effort to intentionally add little joys into your days.
Our tips for doing this:
- Order from a local café once a week and support a local business.
- Invest in a basic cafetiere and milk frother and make yourself a proper coffee in the morning.
- Challenge your colleagues to a daily ‘funniest thing I saw on the Internet today’ competition.
- Wake up half an hour earlier and sit in the sunniest spot in your house with a cuppa.
- Personalise the wall opposite your WHF desk with prints or photos that make you smile.
2. Keep your working and living spaces separate
Without your morning commute, switching into work mode can be tricky, so having a separate space can make it easier to get into a work-ready headspace.
One of the best things you can do to make working from home easier mentally is to create a proper working environment. You might feel cosier in sweatpants on the sofa but, mentally, you’re not helping yourself to switch into work mode – and you’re definitely not helping your posture.
Instead, if you have room, use a proper desk and chair, or at least work from the dinner table. If you’re working at a desk in your bedroom or living room, create a physical barrier between your workspace and where you relax after work.
Our tip for keeping things separate:
If it’s possible, make sure you’ve got at least two feet of clear space between your desk and bed, or use a folding screen to keep your work area and relaxing space distinct from each other.
3. Mute notifications when you finish work
Working from home means bringing your work technology into your personal space – which is why it’s more important than ever to really log off in the evening. With email and team chats more active than ever, it’s tempting to start replying and working even in your personal time.
Keep the hard work to your working hours – mute your notifications, and make the most of your free time for yourself, family, and friends.
Our tip for switching off:
Mute notifications, or set up an automated out of office to remind people that your working hours are called working hours for a reason!
4. Get moving
It can be hard to pry yourself away from the screen, but even a little bit of exercise each day will help to make working from home less monotonous. Not only can exercise stimulate endorphins to boost your mood, but it can really help your productivity.
You don’t need to strap on the running shoes every lunchtime – just go for a walk around your street to get the blood flowing and get some much-needed vitamin D. By the time you get back, you might even find that you’re ready to tackle that one task you’ve been putting off.
Even if the dreary winter weather ruins your plans, there’s plenty you can do indoors even without gym equipment.
Our tip to get moving throughout the day:
Stick on an episode of your favourite TV show and make up rules – do a jumping jack every time Jim looks at the camera in the Office, or squat every time someone drinks coffee in Friends.
5. Set a bedtime and stick to it
Everyone knows sleep is important, but it’s so easy to think ‘just one more episode’. But, creating a sleep pattern helps you keep to a routine (yes, that means sticking to it on weekends too). They say it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, so take it a day at a time and before you know it your bedtime routine will be set and sorted.
Our tip for making a routine:
Start marking when you feel tired each day to find the right bedtime for your body. Everyone’s body clock is different, so take a note of when you feel sleepy and head straight to bed instead of delaying it.
6. Stay connected
In our work-from-home bubbles, it’s all too easy to feel isolated, which can lead to a spiral of negative feelings. Human beings need interaction, so it’s important that you stay connected to others. That might mean scheduling a quick video call with a friend in the evening, calling family for a chat on your lunch break, or organising a weekly call with colleagues to have a drink and a laugh.
Our tip to keep in touch with people:
Invite everyone to an ongoing video call while you’re working to create an office environment and get the work banter going! It might feel odd at first, but even if you’re mostly working in companionable silence you can at least simulate an office environment and feel a little bit more sociable.
Sarah Fuller, head of marketing at PowWowNow says, “Working from home can feel tiring and monotonous after a while, so it’s important to shake yourself out of the slump and avoid burnout. When you feel isolated, you struggle to focus on work – but, more importantly, you might just end up struggling with your mental health.
“That’s why even little things like conference calls with teammates and planting little joys throughout your day can make all the difference, and help us all get through this together.”
If you’re finding it difficult to adjust to your new working life or are even considering a career shift, you may find it helpful to work with a career coach. Use our search tool to find a coach who can support you.
PowWowNow is the leading online meeting provider for smaller to medium-sized businesses, supporting millions of UK and EU customers with HD video, crystal clear audio and no software downloads. PowWowNow provides conference and video calling, as well as webinars, to empower people to stay in touch remotely with ease.
PowWowNow offers a 14 day free trial for their video call product to help employees work from home and stay productive during these tricky times.
Hi Mark! Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I’m married with four teenage children, so that keeps me busy! We live on the south coast of England in a small town called Worthing and it’s lovely living by the sea. Originally, I’m from south London and I still call London my home even though I’ve lived away from there for over 25 years. My parents came to London from Jamaica in the late 50s and I’m very proud of my Caribbean roots.
I’ve been a career coach for adults for 10 years but I’ve also been providing career advice and guidance for young people in schools and colleges for the past 20 years.
I’m heavily involved in a local church where I often play saxophone in the worship band. I love sport, especially football and I’m a huge Manchester United fan, like my dad was when he arrived in the UK.
What led you to the coaching industry?
When I was employed as a careers adviser, I went on a short introduction to coaching course for six days. I loved the principles of coaching and the approaches that I was introduced to. I loved the fact that it focuses on the individual in a holistic way and felt it was the missing skill in my toolbox. This prompted me to sign up for a coaching diploma and the rest, as they say, is history.
You mentioned that you work with young people, can you tell us more about what this involves?
I love working with young people and discussing their hopes and dreams (or lack of!) with them at the beginning of their career journey. I spend three to four days a week going into a range of schools across Sussex but also, in this new world we live in now, some of my work is from home by video call. This means that I’ve had the flexibility to work with schools across London and the south east.
I conduct one-to-one guidance sessions with students who are going through a transition, for example taking GCSEs or A levels, helping them to be aware of their options and make good decisions about their future. My work may also involve running small group sessions, attending parents evenings or giving an assembly talk. In addition to having a knowledge of the options available to them, I am able to use my coaching skills to help them move from where they are to where they want to be.
What would you say is the first step someone should take if they’re unhappy in their career?
I think the first step is to talk to someone. This could be a colleague, friend or relative. The main thing is that it needs to be someone who you can be open and honest with. A simple conversation can help you to gain clarity and help you to decide what the next best step is.
It sounds simple, but many people are afraid to express concerns about their career because they’ve invested so much time and money into following a particular path and they may feel they are letting themselves or other people down if they feel it’s not right for them.
What should someone expect from a coaching session with you?
They should expect us to start by taking a step back and delving into what makes them tick. We look at an individual’s values, personality style, skills, experiences and passions because understanding oneself is vital before we start to look at possible options. I ask lots of questions and, at the end of each session, the individual will have devised a clear action plan for their next steps.
There will also be interesting and fun tasks to complete in between sessions, all with the aim of helping an individual to understand who they are, what they want and how to get it.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about coaching?
Coaching results are down to the individual rather than the coach. You see, coaching isn’t about telling people what they should do. Yes, I may have specific knowledge and expertise in careers, but coaching is about asking insightful questions to help an individual to identify their own evaluated solutions. This is far more empowering. Sorry, I think there’s more than one thing there!
Finally, where can our readers find out more about you?
No matter what industry you work in, the chances are that this year, there have been changes to the way you work. For some, the shifts have been seismic, with people losing jobs, going on furlough or taking early retirement. For others, the changes have been more subtle, perhaps working from home or changing procedures to work safely.
A common theme we recognised throughout all of this was a lack of confidence; whether in your current role, or when thinking about moving in a new direction.
To learn more about why this is coming up and how to navigate it, we talked to executive coach and leadership trainer, Jenny Garrett.
Jenny is an award-winning career coach who has 15 years’ experience running her global business. Through her work, Jenny empowers people to make the transformation they’re seeking actually happen, whether that’s navigating their career successfully, finding work that is more purposeful for them, or getting the best from their team.
Everything she does is aimed at either advancing gender balance, creating inclusive workplaces or equipping young people with the skills that leaders of the future need.
In this webinar, we discussed confidence in our abilities when working in a pandemic and why this is difficult right now, with Jenny sharing her advice on improving confidence at this time. We talked about why the pandemic has caused people to reconsider their careers and how we can build the courage we need to make a change.
Exploring those looking at taking the leap and working for themselves, Jenny offered some first steps to consider along with confidence-building tips. Along the way, Jenny answered a number of questions on topics including imposter syndrome and building resilience.
Looking for support to regain your confidence at work? Find a career coach today. Simply browse profiles and when you find a person you resonate with, send them an email.
With everything that has happened this year, it can be tricky to feel inspired on a daily basis, especially when you’re working from home. However, you know that when you are inspired, then you are able to inspire and support everyone else: family, friends, colleagues and clients.
So, it is worth getting yourself into an inspired state, and here are 10 ideas to help you feel more inspired fast:
1. Praise yourself and celebrate
Celebrate every little thing that goes well, and everything you achieve each day. Recognise it, post about it and share your pride with a close friend or partner to embed it in your memory. You don’t have to wait until you’ve achieved the big goals. Even doing something like reading this article is worth celebrating.
2. Feed and water yourself intentionally
Some of us have used lockdown as a chance to cook and eat more nutritious food. Others have indulged in comfort eating. I’ve done both – sometimes on the same day! We know all about the effects of healthy eating and good hydration. This is just a reminder.
3. Exercise even when (especially when) you don’t feel like it
If you need to feel inspired quickly, get your circulation going, and more oxygen and blood going to your brain and other vital organs. It’s precisely when you don’t feel like it that you need to get yourself moving. Then praise yourself and celebrate (see point one).
4. Get some fresh air
At some point during your working day at home, find time to take a walk outside. You can multitask, for example listening to music or audiobooks while you are walking. You can even catch up with friends, your boss, team or clients while walking outside. Just make sure there’s minimal noise from cars, children, dogs etc.
If you can’t get outside easily, or the weather doesn’t behave, at least open the window and breathe deeply.
5. Watch your language
How are you talking to yourself and others these days? Powerful, positive language can work very quickly to change your mood. Here’s how you can enhance the experience by getting more of your senses involved:
- Write or type up a message or affirmation (kinaesthetic).
- Print it out, put a drop of essential oil on it and breathe it in (olfactory).
- Then read the message out loud (visual and auditory).
6. Have fun and smile!
If your resting face is not naturally smiley, or you often forget to smile, put Post-It notes on your laptop and your mirror saying ‘Smile!’. A smile is proven to improve your mood and help you to feel inspired. Take some selfies where you are beaming.
Some people have stopped taking selfies because they’re not going out as much (or at all) and they are missing the chance to smile and share their smiling face online. So smile, snap a selfie and share some positivity with your network.
7. Bring back the memories
Next time you’re on your phone, go through your photos – as many as possible. Delete any that you don’t need and ones that don’t make you smile. Add more good ones to your favourites folder. Facebook can also help by bringing up your old posts. Share the good ones again and enjoy the good feelings.
8. Inspire someone else
Yes, we are meant to be talking about inspiring yourself. However, it can be counterintuitive sometimes. You don’t have to wait until you are inspired. Helping and giving advice to someone else can be a catalyst to your own well-being and self-esteem. It also helps you forget about your own problems or worries while you focus on the other person.
9. Read back positive feedback from your boss, colleagues or clients
Whenever you need a boost, these can remind you of how great you are and of everything you’ve achieved.
10. Read and write – fiction and non-fiction
When you keep learning, you create more connections in your brain, which in turn keeps your brain active and curious. Keep reading to learn, but not just on your go-to topics. See how many different subjects you can explore and read more of what inspires you. You can also read fiction, which helps you to escape, relax and use your imagination.
I hope these tips help you to feel more inspired. Please find me online and share your thoughts and ideas. I get a lot of inspiration from interacting with positive people – so you will make my day as well.
This year has been the year where remote working has truly come to the forefront, with the change-up leading to a rise in demand for ‘soft skills’ (skills which relate to how you work). At the beginning of 2020, LinkedIn conducted research and made some predictions of which of these skills would be in high demand.
Demand was measured by identifying the skills listed on the LinkedIn profiles of those getting hired at the highest rate. The skills identified were:
- emotional intelligence
However, the unpredictable nature of 2020 has brought some changes. So, almost at the end of 2020, taking into account all the surprises and unexpected twists, we at WikiJob decided to create our own list. To our mind, some reordering and additional skills are required to make this list perfectly compiled for 2020 and beyond.
Ranked number four in LinkedIn’s list, adaptability skyrockets to the top of our list. Surprised? The modern workplace is ever-changing. This year, even those who never imagined themselves as remote employees had the chance to (or were forced to) try it.
To maintain profitability and engagement, companies will likely be looking for candidates who will prove to be resilient, innovative, calm, and ready to work under pressure from anywhere in the world.
Therefore, we predict that top interview questions from now on will relate to adaptability (the ability to acclimatise under changing circumstances).
LinkedIn’s top skill moves to the second position on our list. However, this one has to remain high on any list. Organisations will always require people to approach tasks and problems creatively. Top companies will likely search for new ways to develop, train, and improve the creative skills of their employees.
Creativity technique trainers note that creativity is not a talent but a frame of mind. This means it can be formed, improved, or changed with certain techniques or coaching.
Collaboration skills preserve their honorary third place on our list. To our mind, effective collaboration for remote teams requires a whole set of collaboration skills.
Collaboration is about bringing different people together for the sake of a common goal. However, it may be quite difficult to implement when people are not on the same page.
Hiring for collaboration skills may be a complex task as well. We would advise managers to pay particular attention to the skills within the collaboration set, such as one-mindedness, communication, organisation, and long-term thinking.
Our fourth position remains within the communication skill set. How often do you need to persuade others to do something? We bet this situation comes up often. Some people can do it almost effortlessly while others need to fall back on the power of their position to feel confident.
According to Kurt Mortensen’s research, a successful persuader is good at a wide range of skills, starting with high emotional intelligence and self-esteem all the way up to good listening and communication skills. These skills are crucial for becoming an influencer. Just don’t forget that persuasion skills can be learned like any others.
5. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence finishes up our top five skills list. The ability to understand, correctly use and manage your emotions makes you a good team player or a compassionate leader, as it helps you to build relationships and succeed in achieving goals.
It’s well-known that the smartest people are not always the most successful. High IQ is not enough to set goals and achieve them. Emotional intelligence skills may be learned at any time with self-management, self and social awareness and relationship management serving as the basics to learn.
6. Focus (as a bonus)
We decided to add one more skill, highly esteemed by Forbes experts, which indeed proved to be in high demand this year – being able to focus.
The ability to focus on your tasks and goals is key to staying on track, but it isn’t always easy. Being under pressure of quarantine restrictions and working from home can lead to numerous distractions.
Mentally blocking from these distractions is an ability that will serve you well in many situations. Take a moment to breathe in, concentrate on one thing at a time, and try to preserve this feeling of calm as long as you can.
2020 has been a year that made numerous employees face a remote working environment. Many found it a great option and see it as the only way forward for future careers. These people likely discovered themselves having a perfect set of soft skills for remote working and will continue to develop them.
So there we have it – a look back at 2020 and a re-imagining of the top in-demand skills for now and the foreseeable future. For sure the soft skills mentioned here are important for any job, but they are especially crucial for the remote working environment we’re likely to experience moving forward.
The winter months can feel long, dark, and isolating. And with many of us working from home indefinitely it’s important to find ways to stay motivated and productive when you don’t have the everyday interactions of the office. We take a look at five key skills you can focus on while you’re working from home this winter.
You might not have the usual office distractions of coffee breaks and catching up with colleagues when you’re working from home but there are still plenty of things to interrupt your concentration.
Focusing on improving your concentration is essential to being more productive and staying motivated in the winter. To start with, organise your desk space so that it’s easy to keep tidy, with nothing that takes your attention away from work.
Keep a notepad and pen close by and write down any errands or non-work related thoughts that crop up during the day so that they don’t distract you and you can deal with them later. Get into the habit of taking half an hour at the end of each day to clear up and do any little chores that you’ve thought of in the day so that they don’t start to pile up.
Meditation practices such as mindfulness and breathing techniques can also help with improving your concentration. Mindfulness is designed to help you pay more attention to the present. The idea is to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in that moment and worry less about past or future things. By learning to focus your mind you should be able to improve your concentration.
Breathing techniques can also be helpful for dealing with stress and refocusing your mind when you’ve got lots going on.
Getting outside and doing some exercise will also make a big difference to your focus. It’s another way to relieve stress, and fitting in a run or workout in the morning will make you less likely to switch off half way through the day.
If you’re not in the same office or building as your colleagues, it’s really important that you’re able to communicate effectively with them.
Working from home involves a lot more emails and instant messages, so spend some time focusing on your written communication skills over the winter. Brush up on your spelling and grammar, and even look at widening your vocabulary so you can communicate more clearly with your coworkers. Reading books is a great way to improve your language skills, plus it’s good for taking your mind off work at the end of the day and unwinding so that you can get a better night’s sleep.
Working from home often makes it harder to resolve problems that arise. It’s not as easy to quickly grab one of your colleagues for five minutes and get their opinion or advice. So to stop small problems from becoming bigger blockers to your day you should focus on your problem-solving skills.
Whether it’s completing a jigsaw or solving a Rubik’s cube — try to do something that challenges you and keeps your mind sharp. As little as 10 minutes each day filling in crosswords or even playing solitaire (or similar games) will help improve your problem-solving skills and keep your brain engaged.
4. Time management
When you’re working from home without colleagues or managers keeping an eye on you it’s your responsibility to make sure you stay focused and on-task.
Being able to successfully manage your own time is a valuable life skill. And as most people have started to settle into working from home for the foreseeable future and the winter months mean dark mornings and gloomy afternoons, it’s easy to lose some of that time management motivation and let the day slip away.
Experiment with different time management methods to find one that works for you. For example, try out the Pomodoro technique where you pick a task and try to get as much done as possible in 25 minutes. Then have a short five-minute break and start on another 25 minute work session. This can help you to focus and stay motivated while avoiding distractions like checking emails.
5. Healthy cooking
Cooking might not be a skill that’s specifically relevant to your job but eating well through the winter months will help you to stay fit and healthy, plus it’ll also improve concentration and productivity.
It’s easy to get a bit lazy with your cooking, but ditch the takeaways and microwave meals and teach yourself to cook balanced meals from scratch. Challenge yourself to make one new recipe each week and incorporate more fruit and vegetables into your diet.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits and feel your productivity slip when you’re working from home. Focusing on these skills will help you to stay motivated and achieve your goals at work and outside of work.
Stevie Nicks is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine – a website that covers the topics you care about.
When it comes to the workplace, many of us appreciate that it’s made up of a variety of different personality types. We’re all unique and bring different things to the table. Certain traits however are still revered, particularly in office-culture. With open-plan offices being the norm and many meetings turning into a competition of ‘who can shout the loudest?’, louder personalities and those willing to speak up often take centre stage.
We can even see this affecting the gender pay gap. While there are multiple causes for this, research suggests that it could be at least partly down to the fact that men are more likely to negotiate – whether that’s for a higher salary, a bigger bonus, or a larger pay rise.
Gender aside, confidence, assertion and speaking up can serve you very well at work. This doesn’t mean you need to change your personality or become the loudest person in the room. This is about valuing yourself, the work you bring to the table and not being afraid to ask for what you deserve and recognising that it may take some negotiating to get what you want.
When we talk about negotiating and getting what you deserve here, we don’t just mean more money. Perhaps you want more flexible working hours, or a shift in responsibilities within your role. Whatever it is that you want, understanding how to negotiate is key.
Let’s take a closer look at negotiation and some steps you can take to feel more confident the next time you ask for what you deserve.
Value yourself and your needs
This is where it all starts. At the core of asking for what you deserve is believing that you deserve it in the first place. Start by writing a list of all your achievements at work, what do you bring to the table in your particular work place? Try to get into the habit of noting down positive feedback or even keeping an email folder called ‘feedback’ where you can store it. This will remind you of the amazing things you’ve done and give your confidence a boost.
Think about why you’re asking for whatever it is you’re asking for. What difference will it make to your life? Why is it important to you? How will it affect other people in your life? This will help you value your needs and remind you that they are important.
Identify any limiting beliefs that may be holding you back
If you’re still feeling reluctant to ask for what you want, consider whether or not you may have a limiting belief holding you back. Have you had any bad experiences in the past when speaking up? Dig deep and allow these feelings to surface. When you’ve done this you can see these beliefs for what they are – beliefs, not facts. Try creating an alternative narrative (this could be in the form of affirmations) to help your brain make new connections through a positive belief.
If you find you’re struggling with this part of the process, you may find it helpful to work with a coach to help you build confidence and self-esteem.
When you feel ready to have your discussion, it’s time to get it in the diary and then spend some time planning. Remind yourself of what you’re asking for and why (write it down) and then consider what is important to the other person. What goals or aims do they have? How will the changes you’re suggesting impact them?
Instead of going in with just one suggestion, use a mind-map to think of a number of creative solutions to the current problem that will work for you and them (if possible). You might also want to get some data or evidence to support your case together, anything that will help the other person understand your request and why you deserve it.
“By taking the time to prepare what you’re going to say, you can take a step back, see things from many perspectives and think of the most compelling arguments and ideas – as well as persuasive communication styles.
“If you don’t have time to prepare, see if you can negotiate time to go away and think about something or buy time by asking more questions about a topic first, rather than pressuring yourself to give an answer.” – Career and confidence coach Madeleine Morgan explains.
Listen to their point of view
Remember, negotiation is a two-way thing. Listen carefully to what the other person is saying and ask questions. For example if they say something isn’t possible, prompt them to explain why. This will either help you understand their position and offer a chance to offer a different solution, or they won’t have a defence and you can push a little harder on the original request.
Negotiations can be a nerve racking experience, especially if you don’t have much practice. Try your best to stay relaxed throughout as this can help you appear more self-assured. Psychologist and life coach Sarah Connell recommends taking deep breaths.
“If you are feeling anxious at the thought of being assertive, taking a few deep regular breaths will help you to feel much calmer. When we are calm, what we say sounds more assertive.
“When communicating, 38% of your message comes from your tone of voice, so it is important to keep this in check. With each breath relax your facial muscles, slow down the speed at which you talk, we tend to speed up when we are feeling anxious.”
As well as helping you communicate more clearly, staying calm will help you avoid being reactive if the other person is negative. Try not to mirror their attitude or get angry. Keep breathing, keep making your case and if it helps, suggest taking a break and returning to the conversation at a later date.
Aim for a win-win situation
Ultimately the aim of any negotiation should be a win-win situation for both parties, so keep this in mind. If you’re left feeling like you got the raw end of the deal, don’t be afraid to ask for a further conversation.
If a win-win situation isn’t possible, you may need to consider other options. This could mean making a move in your career or getting other parties involved in the negotiation.
If you’re not in a position to negotiate in your current role at all, think about taking a sideways step in your career. Could you find something that will offer better employment benefits, more money or other long-term gains? Sometimes taking the time to step back and gain perspective can help you see all the options in front of you.
Redundancies can be very stressful and can mean a significant life change. They can affect our self-confidence and challenge our sense of purpose and identity that work provides. It’s common to experience feelings of disbelief, denial, anger, loss of confidence and sadness in the face of a loss which is usually outside of our control. Some of us may think ‘why me?’, others may be more relieved and feel excited to start something new.
We all react differently in times of change and uncertainty and it is completely normal to feel worried, sad or stressed as a result, especially if it comes as a surprise. The purpose of this guide is to give you some practical advice for managing these feelings and preventing them from impacting your mental well-being, allowing you to focus positively on the road ahead.
Please note that while this guide is aimed at people who have recently been made redundant, the tips in this guide can be applied to other situations where a loss or significant change has occurred.
How to cope with anxiety, worries and stress during significant life changes
Change inevitably creates uncertainty. When things stay the same we feel comfortable knowing what to expect on a day to day basis. When something shifts, even our sense of who we are can go through some odd and potentially uncomfortable alterations. Try not to judge yourself.
It’s okay – and perfectly normal – to be nervous about change. It’s also normal to have a hard time managing the transition. No matter how awkwardly or uncomfortable you might feel though, it’s important to be kind to yourself and share your feelings with others. Social support is a great way to deal with uncertainty as it allows you to proactively troubleshoot problems and consider different approaches.
Whilst this redundancy may have come as a shock to you, try to embrace the experience and consider this transition as an opportunity to build internal psychological, emotional, and intellectual “muscle” that will help you with the next change.
Take care of yourself
Reframe the situation: What can you change and what is out of your control? Could this redundancy actually help you to achieve new goals and help you to grow? Is there something you always wanted to change or do? You may not have control over losing your job, but you are able to control how you deal with that loss and move forward.
Reframe your position: You may try not to think “I was made redundant”, but rather “My position was made redundant”. This may help you see that this was not a personal critique of your skills but rather a necessary business decision. This can help to protect your self-esteem.
Stay connected and share your feelings: Friends, family and colleagues make a great support network. It can sometimes feel hard to reach out for support, but speaking with your loved ones can be a crucial part of the redundancy process. It’s important to be as open and honest with your partner or close support networks as early on as you can. Together, you can tackle any financial or emotional worries; you don’t have to face these alone. Remember that you have nothing to be ashamed of; redundancy can happen to anyone, at any time.
Remember, the way we think affects how we feel and act: Awareness helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better.
- Relaxation exercises can tackle those fight, flight or freeze symptoms we might be feeling in stressful situations by helping us to slow down our heart rate and calm our mind. Mediation can help us to build awareness of how worrying thoughts capture our attention and how to let go of them. Meditation is a skill that requires practice and might not be for everyone but is worth trying.
- Other ways you can be mindful might include going for a walk, doing yoga, reading, or anything else that helps to relax and distract your mind.
Organise your time: Make lists, plans and daily calendars. Time management is key to helping you feel in control and able to handle the pressure.
Structure and routine: Try to keep a structure or schedule in your day. Creating a routine enables you to set clear boundaries. For example, stick to a similar sleep schedule, get up at the same time as you would do for work, and be strict with yourself about when you look for new job opportunities and when you do something you enjoy. A clear structure during the day will help you to stay well and switch off each day.
Set yourself small manageable goals and make sure to take the time to appreciate achieving even just the small daily goals that you set for yourself
Be active: Exercise won’t make stress disappear, but it may clear your thoughts which helps when dealing with stress.
Allocate a worry budget
Sometimes, worrying can feel hard to control. Rather than trying to stop it altogether, one technique is to allocate yourself a ‘worry budget’ where you can dedicate time to think about your worries. Dealing with worries in this way can help to challenge hypothetical concerns, negative emotions and to put things into perspective, as well as make you feel more confident and productive.
- Create a list of worries as and when they come into your head.
- Allocate yourself no more than 30 minutes per day at a specified time to work through your worry list (do this somewhere that you won’t be disturbed and that you don’t associate with sleep or relaxation).
- When the time comes, work through your worry list one by one and sort it into things you can do something about now and things you might have to deal with at a later date.
- Think about how you might solve some of these worries and make a plan to tackle them.
- For hypothetical worries (e.g. “what if I don’t get another job”) ask yourself “then what?” and think about what you would do and how you would manage it or prevent it from happening (e.g. “I will apply for one job a day and reach out to my networks”).
This might feel a bit strange in the beginning, but over time this process will become automatic as you learn cognitive skills for proactively managing worries, rather than letting them overwhelm you.
Reassess your personal goals and development
While we often struggle to see redundancy as a ‘good thing’, it can present the opportunity to help you take stock of your skills, talent, and experiences. Is there anything you want to change in your career? Have your goals remained the same or is now the chance to start on a new journey?
Think about your options and identify where your passions are. If you aren’t sure what your passions are, what you want to do next, or what your long-term goals are you could speak to friends, family or old colleagues. Sometimes speaking about it and reflecting with others helps us to move forward.
Start planning, networking and prepping your CV
Start with updating your CV and professional/social media accounts (e.g. LinkedIn). Take the time to consider all of the skills, tasks and achievements from your last role and how you can take these forward into a new position. Your CV should outline your goals, experience, accomplishments and personality.
Also, have a clear social media presence, be proactive on groups, and have an active, engaged account on websites like LinkedIn, professional Facebook groups, and Twitter. Share your expertise and industry knowledge; the more you put yourself out there, the more you can start raising your profile and increase the chance to be noticed by future employers.
Manage financial pressure
Think about your budget. Are there areas you can cut back on? Could you save money by switching bill providers, changing tariffs on your mobile or broadband, or switching to cashback sites when shopping online? Making several small changes may not seem like much, but together they can go a long way.
Remember to check if there are any benefits or grants you may be entitled to whilst looking for a new job. Thoughtfully managing your finances can be key to reducing feelings of stress and worry. Find out more about free money advice at Money Advice Service.
How can I support someone who has been made redundant?
Sometimes, when it comes to helping others we can feel a little lost, especially when it comes to mental health and emotional well-being. Remember that simply being there for someone can make all the difference. If you are supporting someone through a redundancy, some helpful things you can do are:
- Listen to how they’re feeling. Having a chance to talk openly could help someone to feel calmer and more able to move forward.
- Ask open questions (e.g. “how do you feel”) and actively listen.
- Avoid telling them how they should feel (e.g. “you shouldn’t be this stressed”) or invalidating their feelings (e.g. “you don’t need to be this upset”) as this can reinforce low self-esteem.
- Reassure them that stressful situations can pass and support them in the next steps. However, try to prevent phrases like ‘it could be worse’ … ‘it happens to a lot of people’… ‘ou never liked that job anyway’. All this may be true. But the risk can be that the person is not in an emotional position to see this.
- Help them to identify the triggers of their stress.
- Do not be surprised if the individual is angry. This anger may not just be directed towards the job loss but could be about anything. Irritability can be common during this transitional period.
- Help them to learn and practise relaxation techniques.
- Support them to seek professional help. Make sure the individual has the contact telephone number of someone who will listen if they are distressed, for example 24 hour crisis centres such as the Samaritans.
Thrive supports more than three million people globally with its mental well-being platform, including tools to help deal with anxiety and stress as well as screening for mental health conditions, making prevention part of general well-being for all.
Often when we talk about careers we focus on the big changes. The moments we realise we’re unhappy in our jobs or when we decide to take the leap to become self-employed. We can forget about the less eventful moments, even though these can have a negative impact on our happiness.
For example, what if we’ve been working in a role for some time and are feeling complacent? Nothing is wrong exactly, but we’re also not challenging ourselves and growing. Over time this can lead to rust-out, a term used to describe feeling understimulated at work which can become detrimental to your mental health.
If you can relate to this feeling, we’ve outlined some steps you can take to bust the rust and get those cogs whirring again.
Take a break
When was the last time you took some holiday? Sometimes resentment and bitterness can grow when we feel stuck in a rut, doing the same thing over and over. While the other tips will tackle the underlying cause and move you out of complacency, a good starting point is to take a break. If it’s possible, book a full week or more off.
Allow yourself some space to get out of work mode, really relax and feel refreshed. Reconnecting with yourself outside of work can give you some perspective and help with the next step which is to identify why you’re feeling complacent.
Identify the root cause
Now is the time to ask yourself some difficult questions. How long have you been feeling complacent at work? What’s shifted within your role or company to make you feel this way? Or was it something within you that shifted?
Consider whether or not your complacency is a sign of a larger problem – are you unhappy with your job? Can you make changes to your role that will help you enjoy it more or do you need to consider another role/company? Are you unhappy overall? This stage can be difficult so don’t be afraid to get some support while doing it. You may want to go through these questions with a friend, someone in your HR department or even a career coach.
Start learning again
Often we become complacent when we’ve been doing our job for a long time. Perhaps we think we know everything we need to know and have fallen into a habit of coasting and doing the bare minimum.
To shake off this feeling, start learning again. Take a look at your job role with fresh eyes and think about what skills you could learn to enhance both your performance and your enjoyment. Do you need to introduce more creativity into the way you work? What workshops or courses could help you feel inspired about the industry again?
If you keep this curious mindset, you’ll never stop learning, developing and growing. This can help you get more enjoyment out of your current role and may even lead to future changes, depending on what you learn.
Change your environment
If you’re feeling more stuck in a rut than anything else, don’t underestimate the power of a change in scenery. While it may not be possible for everyone, consider if you would benefit from changing your environment by working remotely or even from a different room in your building. Could you spruce up your working environment with some plants or inspiring quotes?
It may not sound like much, but our mindset can be affected by our environment and sometimes to access different ways of thinking we need to change what’s around us.
Consider starting a passion project
Another idea is to pick up a new hobby or start a passion project outside of work. Finding fulfillment outside of work could help you feel more motivated overall which will no doubt have a knock-on effect at work.
Carve out some dedicated time to your hobby/project and let the inspiration and enjoyment you get from this spill over into all areas of your life.
Whatever’s troubling you at work, know that you’re not alone and that change is possible. Find a career coach to support you.