Anxious? Try Career Therapy.

Jan 1, 2019 | 20-Somethings, Career Launch, Uncategorized

Anxious? Try Career Therapy.
It’s a brand new year, and that signals the opportunity for making a fresh start. Setting resolutions is supposed to be motivating, but many of my clients find that the pressure to be a better person each January does more harm than good. In short, this is the time of year when overwhelm and anxiety begin to creep in as you ask yourself whether you’re where you want to be in life, both personally and professionally.
Before we dive any further into the topic of anxiety and the kind of career therapy you can do to combat it, I need to say that I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you have concerns around mental health, please schedule a visit with your healthcare professional to ensure you have appropriate support and treatment.
That being said, many of my clients would say that they feel anxious when they think about their lives as compared to their friends, colleagues, and family members. They say the feelings include nervousness, apprehension, unease, obsessive over-thinking, and mostly confusion about where to go next and how to get there.
Older generations mistakenly identify young people as carefree and without responsibilities. As a 20-something, you know better. Here are some reasons you may be feeling anxiety:

  1. Job dissatisfaction.
  • Work is unfulfilling and without purpose
  • You feel as though you’re wasting your talent
  • There’s not an opportunity to grow or learn much of anything new
  • The company culture doesn’t fit your personal values
  • It’s hard to be successful because your job doesn’t match your skill set
  1. Lack of direction.
  • You have an unstable or undesirable home environment (your old room at home, the basement, a friend’s couch)
  • Ramen noodles comprise the bulk of your diet
  • Gainful employment has been swapped for working odd jobs at $10/hour
  • Your college degree isn’t meaningful to you, or you can’t connect your degree to meaningful work
  • You continually practice Ostrich Pose (burying your head in the sand and hoping things will be better tomorrow)
  1. Those “should” voices in your head.
  • You feel like you ought to be in a certain place in your life by now—and you’re not
  • Parents are asking about your career plans and you have no real answer for them
  • Friends are getting married while you’re not even dating
  • Social media posts seem to show everyone but you living their best life and finding success

The cure for this kind of anxiety? Concomitant Career Therapy. Concomitant means “therapeutic measures that take place at the same time as other treatments.” Those other treatments might include medication, seeing a licensed mental health practitioner, or even exercising or meditating regularly.

At Jo Leonard & Co., we have developed a 12-week Concomitant Career Therapy prescription, to include an evaluation every 4 weeks. I’ve laid out the first two doses below:
First Dose for weeks 1 – 4
Dosage Instructions: 3 times per week
Engage in a meaningful volunteering opportunity
Yep, it’s that simple. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Serve at a soup kitchen
  • Tutor disadvantaged students
  • Teach English to local immigrant community members
  • Provide after-school care for kids at the local YMCA
  • Read or sing to the elderly at a local resident care home
  • Run a social media campaign for a local nonprofit
  • Work at the Habitat for Humanity retail store

The key is picking something and sticking with it on a consistent basis.
Then, sit with us for an hour to evaluate your progress.  Are you feeling any better? More connected to the outside world? Who have you met? We’ll ask you a lot of questions which you should be able to answer with enthusiasm.

We’re happy to share our full Anxiety Questionnaire with you. Contact us if you’d like a copy.

Second Dose for weeks 5 – 8 (Note: Do not discontinue First Dose)
Dosage Instructions: 3 times per week
Show up to a temp job or contract work
This job does NOT have to fulfill your life’s purpose or passion. It does, however, need to get you out off the couch, out of the basement, away from boring and life-sucking activities. Some suggestions include:

  • Manual labor (construction, home repair, etc.)
  • Packing boxes at a warehouse
  • Substitute teaching
  • Reception at a massage therapy office
  • Data entry for a local family company
  • Ticket sales at a local theater
  • Retail at a nearby shopping center

If you’re unsure about how to find this kind of temporary work, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Second evaluation meeting. Are you feeling any better? More connected to the outside world? Who have you met? What have you learned about yourself and the rest of the world? More juicy questions from us.
I’ve seen tremendous transformation come from just a few weeks of taking this kind of action. It provides fresh perspective and a sense of purpose in unexpected ways.

There is one more level, but I’m saving that for the next post. In the meantime, get started on your own Concomitant Career Therapy and stay tuned for the Advanced level next time around.