Making a career transition—whether it’s to find a new job, assume new responsibilities, or start a business—is stressful. If the stress is positive, it can increase your chances for success. If it’s negative, however, it can undermine your efforts when you need to project confidence and achieve results the most. Managing the stress involved with your transition and using it to your advantage requires identifying the issues that cause discomfort, then taking action to resolve them.
To identify unresolved issues, try rating your attitude about your transition on the Work Transition Stress Test below. Statements you answer with a 4 or 5 indicate that it is an area that may be holding you back from achieving your goals. An awareness of what’s wrong is the first step toward managing change. If you can’t overcome your fears on your own, seek help from a career counselor or other professional. Don’t wait until you’re totally discouraged before seeking help.
Work Transition Stress Test
Using the following rating scale, number each item below according to how often it activates negative stress for you:
1. Never 2. Seldom 3. Sometimes 4. Often 5. Always
____1. I’m uncertain about how to conduct a successful job search, write a new business plan or redesign my current job.
____2. I don’t have an organized, convenient and quiet place to make telephone calls and do
____3. I’m easily distracted by other projects or priorities.
____4. Other people interrupt or distract me when I’m working.
____5. The fear of failure is constantly on my mind.
____6. I’m not interviewing/networking well.
____7. I feel angry and embarrassed about being in transition.
____8. I feel overwhelmed by all that I need to do.
____9. I can’t relax and enjoy my time off.
____10. I have difficulty calling people I don’t know for job/career/business information.
____11. I dread going to professional association/networking/support meetings, so I don’t go.
____12. I’m working hard on completing this transition, but I’m not accomplishing much.
____13. I keep changing my mind about which direction I’m pursuing.
____14. I don’t have enough to do or know what I should do next.
____15. I’m confused about career options and interests.
____16. I can’t find any jobs/businesses that interest me.
____17. I keep thinking that I should have completed this transition by now.
____18. I procrastinate a lot.
____19. I don’t have ongoing support from family, friends, or coworkers.
____20. I don’t feel as energetic as I used to.