Work & Career

While you might think that there are different manners of staying healthy in your work and career, many of the same skills and strategies that are used in everyday matters can be effective at helping you to maintain balance and health at work too. In business, strong communication, healthy relationships, and stress and conflict management are vital to a rewarding career.

According to NI Direct, many of the everyday skills that we use in our personal lives to cope with stress, maintain balance at home, and have healthy relationships with open communication channels can be used in our careers to influence greater success.

Having a harmonious work life helps in addiction recovery as it helps keep stress levels down, encourages self-appreciation, and gives people a good way to spend their time.

Career Happiness

Work & Career

You’re never too old to change your career path!

It can be challenging to even think about switching careers, especially if you have been in the same career for a prolonged period of time but the rewarding benefits that come from changing a career (especially if you are currently unhappy in your career) can be rather profound. If you are unhappy in your current career but you are hesitant to change careers, there are some steps you can take to overcome this hesitance and make the big change to a career path that will be more rewarding to you. Consider these steps to changing your career path:

  • Plan the attack. You won’t make a major career change overnight but you can plan big and in advance so that your career change will go as smoothly and easily as it possibly can. Consider the major challenges that come with changing a career (education, location, timing and schedules, etc) and break these challenges into small to-do lists that will help you to accomplish your career change goals.
  • You’re never too old. If you think that your age is going to make it impossible to change careers, think again! It’s a common thought for people to believe that they have already invested too much time, money and schooling into their current career to give it all up and change. However, if you are unhappy in your career, it’s never too late to invest time and money into making the change to a career that is going to make you happier. You’ll likely realize that many of your skills will even transfer with you to your new career path which means that less time will have to be spent on education that originally thought.
  • Life experiences often equal additional skills that you don’t realize you have. Many people don’t even realize the life skills that they have gained either in their current career or simply in their own maturity. Often times, the skills that you have gained in time will be beneficial at a new career and where new skills are needed, volunteer work or evening classes often provide an additional ability to learn new skills while still working at a current job.

Choosing the Right Career Path

If you’re thinking about changing your career or if you haven’t chosen a career yet and you’re perplexed at the many different career paths that are available, consider these tips for choosing the right career path:

  • Take tests and assessments to seek out career opportunities that may suit you well. There are many different tools available online such as assessments and personality quizzes that can be used to help you determine which types of careers may be suited to your current skills or interests. Some of these tests outline personality types and pair careers with the appropriate personalities based on level of social skills, artistic abilities or other interests.
  • Research the career in depth. Once you think you’ve found a career or careers that you may be interested in, begin your research. Make sure you research the positive and negative aspects of the career and include research on things like job security, new hires, job growth, benefits, salary, and education requirements. You can also research things like the level of satisfaction that current people in these careers have with their work.
  • Networking with others. Through social networking, you can often gain insights into a career and you may even be able to build solid connections with others in the industry or field which you choose. You can get some really great information and details on how to advance, what education is most important and how a career really fairs from those who actually are working within the field already.
  • Counseling at school. Most universities and colleges have career counselors who can help you to better understand a career opportunity in greater detail. Talk with your counselor about any of the questions or concerns that you have before making a final decision on a career path to choose either for a first career or when making a major career change.
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Skill Development for a New Career

Chances are, you will already have some of the skills for a new career, but you’ll probably need some additional education or training before you are fully prepared to make a major career change. There are many ways that you can develop your skills and experience even while you are still working at your current job.

Some of the opportunities that you may have to enhance your career skills include:

  • College courses – many employers are willing to pay for their employees to advance their skill set through college courses. Ask your employer about tuition reimbursement or any other opportunities that they may have for you to gain additional skills while working. Regardless of who pays, college courses are available for just about every type of career path and many offer night-time or weekend course as well as online instruction that can accommodate the busy schedule of a working adult.
  • Volunteer work – many positions can be learned or partially learned through volunteer work. Additionally, volunteer work will often put you in a place where you can network with others in a career that you are considering and you may even be hired on the spot.
  • Community resources – your local community has resources that may benefit you in learning new skills or honing your current skills for a new career path. Many communities have adult education classes that teach everything from computers to basic English and some offer Small Business advice, legal advice and other details that could be beneficial to you when you decide to change careers.

Signs of Stress at Work

When you are feeling overworked, underpaid or simply overwhelmed, you tend to lose confidence in your work, become withdrawn and could even begin to become burnout. Productivity is lost, you become less effective in your job and you can become even more stressed as you feel like the work you are doing is not as rewarding as it once was. The warning signs of stress at work should be recognized early on to prevent yourself from encountering even greater problems. Extreme job stress, when left unnoticed, can lead to physical and emotional health problems that pose a significant risk to the employee and to others.

Beware of these signs of excessive job or workplace stress:

Work & Career

Chronic fatigue and anxiety are signs of workplace stress.

  • chronic fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • muscle tension
  • headaches
  • upset stomach
  • social withdrawal
  • drinking or using drugs to cope
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • depression
  • problems sleeping
  • loss of interest in work

What Causes Workplace Stress?

Stress in the workplace can be caused by many different factors. The most common causes of workplace stress include:

  • heightened fear of being laid off
  • increased overtime as a result of staff cutbacks
  • increased pressure to perform and meet increased expectations despite a lack of job satisfaction
  • increased pressure to always work at optimal levels
  • inability to get along with co-workers or superiors
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Managing Stress at Work

Many skills that are used in everyday situations can also be used to manage stress at work.

Follow these tips for managing stress at work:

  • Recognize stress at work early on. If you realize that you are getting stressed out, find a way to cope with the stress in a positive manner or to alleviate the stress. You might take a walk, listen to the radio quietly, or meditate.
  • Don’t ignore emotions. If you find that you are emotionally stressed at work due to feelings that you have and just can’t seem to get off your mind, talk with someone about these feelings. Ignoring your emotions will simple cause things to build up until you cannot effectively cope with the feelings anymore.
  • Meet challenges with a laugh. Humor is a stress reliever like no other. If you are faced with a challenging situation at work that has a great potential for causing stress, try to accept the challenge with a grain of salt and find a way to laugh. Humor can do wonders at relieving stress.
  • Positively resolve conflicts. Conflict resolution that takes place in a positive manner can lead to better relationships at work and reduced stress. If there just seems to be no way of positively resolving a conflict, consider accepting the fact that you and your co-working can agree to disagree. At least you will stop the argument.
  • Don’t be a perfectionist. If you spend all your time trying to perfect a project, chances are you will never be happy. Unnecessary stress will be added to your day if you always aim for perfection.
  • You can’t control everything. There are many things at work and in our normal daily lives that are out of our control. If you try to control everything, you will likely find yourself stressed over many things that are out of your control.

The Stress of Losing a Job

Your job is not just how you make money to pay your bills. A job is part of our own self-image, our purpose and our structure. Without a job, we feel as though we lack meaning in our lives, have no purpose or are otherwise inferior. The stress of losing a job can weigh very heavily on an individual as well as on those around them.

The following feelings are likely when you lose a job:

  • fear
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • reduced self-worth
  • poor self-image
  • anger
  • mistrust

Because of all of these negative feelings, it can be difficult to get back into the job market. The first step to getting back on track after you lose a job is to overcome the negative feelings and learn how you can better cope with the stress of losing a job.

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Job Loss Survival Tips

  • Talk with others about your feelings. Your friends, family members or loved ones can help you to see light at the end of the tunnel. Talking with others about your feelings, your stress and your struggles can help reduce the stress level associated with the loss of a job.
  • Don’t wallow in self pity. It can be difficult to cope with the loss of a job but to wallow in self pity will only make matters worse and drag the situation out. Instead, be real with yourself and, if the job loss was the result of your own wrongdoing, take action to make sure you don’t make the same mistake again. Instead of spending time dwelling on the past, focus on the changes that you can make to ensure a greater career in the future.
  • Be positive. Losing a job is stressful but by remaining positive about the loss of a job, and finding benefits to your newly found unemployment status can lead to a more positive outcome. For instance, instead of thinking about how terrible a loss you have suffered, think about how you can spend this time gaining new education or skills necessary to facility a better career.

Networking

Many job openings are never even advertised online, in newspapers or elsewhere. This is because there are actually thousands of jobs each year that are filled by word of mouth. So how do you get your foot in the door? Networking! Networking is one of the best ways to find a job in a career that you are interested in. Networking is not about abusing your friendships, aggressively promoting yourself or being pushy—it’s about creating and fostering relationships that will be mutually beneficial along the way for your career.

So how do you network? There are many ways to network. Think about all the people who you already know. You probably could make a list of people who you know and the jobs that they have and you would likely find that you already have a good potential list of contacts that could help you find a job. Now, think about all of the people that your friends know. The list just got much longer!

Of all the people you know, and all the people your friends know, there’s a good chance that you either; a) know someone who can help you find a job, or b) know someone who knows someone that can help you find a job. Networks don’t end with your friends. Think about family, colleagues, civic fellowships, community acquaintances, neighbors, etc. You’ll be happily surprised at the growth of your network as you make a list of all the people who you know already. You may be equally surprised at how many community members you could network with. Consider your doctor, your landlord, your gym instructor, your child’s teacher, the school principal, etc.

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Networking to Get a Job

Now that you know a little bit about networking, consider the ways that you can use this to your ability to find a job:

  • Talk with friends, family and others in your network about your career and job needs
  • Ask others about work
  • Ask about possible new hires or areas where your skills may be beneficial
  • Get your resume out there – post it on your social networks, website, and give a copy to those in your network who might come up with job opportunities for you
  • Tell the truth about yourself and be friendly within your network—this can lead to future opportunities
  • Take advantage of strong ties within your network but don’t forget about the weak ties too. Often times, you’ll realize that you find a job or a great opportunity within a weaker link in your network where you really didn’t expect to find such an experience.
  • Make connecting a priority. If you’re out of the loop or you don’t make connecting with others within your network top on your priority list than you are likely missing out on opportunities within your network.

The Importance of Interviewing Often

You are greatly limiting your potential for getting a new job if you are not taking part in many interviews. Often times, we create many filters and requirements when we go to look for a job and this can place great limitations on the number of opportunities that we come across which in turn limits our potential for finding work. Instead, narrow your job search criteria and take part in many interviews—you might be surprised at how beneficial interviewing often can really be.

Consider these facts:

  • Interviewing can improve your network and make it stronger. Each time you interview you are likely to meet a new person to add to your network. Even if you don’t actually get the job, you will be getting your name out there and improving your networking abilities.
  • Practice makes perfect—almost. Every time you interview you will become a little bit more comfortable with yourself, your skills and your communication. You’ll also learn new ways of fine-tuning your interviewing skills and this could improve your chances of getting a job in the future.
  • Interviews could lead to unexpected opportunities. You never know when an interview may lead to an opportunity that you didn’t know you would come across. Many employers, even if they don’t hire you themselves, may know of other opportunities which may be suitable for you and will often lead you in the right direction.
  • Every interview is additional practice. The more your practice at your story, your credentials and your interviewing skills the greater your impression will be.
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